Developing Your Own IP In The Cloud: Part 1

Developing Your Own IP In The Cloud: Part 1

For years we at PartnerWorks have been preaching the mantra of “go vertical” to partners in the channel.  More recently we have added to that message “create and resell your own IP” if you want to thrive in the cloud-based biz app space.

For most partners, however, the idea of creating your own intellectual property and taking it to market is akin to asking an airline pilot to create his or her own aircraft; seemingly impossible.  But having worked with 1,000’s of partners over the years and now dozens more who are making this transition, the mechanics of developing, launching and reselling your own IP is not as complex as you may think.  In this first of a 3 part series we will look at a few steps to getting started:

  1. Defining Intellectual Property (IP) – Anything you can bundle into a resalable “product” that augments the base application (Microsoft Dynamics, CRM, etc.).  Think software, services, templates, tools, specialized hardware or any combination.
  2. What do you have that’s unique? – Take an inventory of your assets that often stay hidden in most partners’ businesses.  Consider:
    1. If you’ve been customizing code for clients, review your library of code units to determine if there are:
      1. i.      Individual code units that could stand on their own to be resold
      2. ii.      Any themes to the source code’s functionality that could be used to direct the creation of a more complete product
    2. Review your consultant’s and programmer’s domain expertise and find out if there any consistent service themes that could be “packaged” for resale.  For instance, if you are a CRM partner, you may find that one consultant is very good at sales process improvement.  Or a programmer has lots of experience with converting data from certain legacy systems.
    3. Look at your client base to see if there is a vertical market or micro-vertical that a few of them fall into.  If so, focus in on functionality that these customers always ask for that is missing from the base product that no other ISV provides.  Can you include some services with this additional functionality?
    4. Talk to your best clients to see if there is a portion of your implementation project that stands out as consistently outstanding that is unique enough to bundle and resell. Some examples could include a portion of your implementation methodology, the way you helped the client adapt to change, a particular training technique, or systems integration services.
  3. Is there a viable market for your product? – This is a bit tougher to identify, but a crucial piece to the puzzle.  Once you’ve identified the “product” above consider conducting a little market research.
    1. Poll all your clients that could be interested and find out if they have a need for your product if it were to come to market.  While you’re at it, ask them how much they would pay for it on a subscription basis.
    2. Using your marketing database, call a percentage of contacts within the target market and ask similar questions.
    3. Talk to industry influencers (i.e., CPA’s, engineers, publications, hardware vendors, etc.) that understand the market to obtain validation of your ideas.

If you take inventory of your current source code work, domain expertise and market feedback and you find that you have some potential intellectual property to pursue, then you are ready for part 2 of this series, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about these “how to” steps, feel free to respond to this post or send me an email at



About the Author

Ross Allen

Ross Allen’s expertise at PARTNERWORKS is to ensure that all businesses adapt and maintain a consistent approach to managing their businesses, and selling and delivering ERP and CRM projects. His extensive experience in systems analysis and sales process engineering enable him to rapidly develop and execute flexible technology implementations.