Enterprise customers of Cisco VARs (Value-Added Resellers) will be able to purchase Cisco-based unified communications offerings on a per-seat basis, also purchasing any required Cisco customer premises equipment through the VAR. Another role of the VAR will be to integrate other third-party applications with the unified communications offering.
Neutral Tandem already has discussed the hosted unified communications offering with 10 or 12 VARs and the reaction has been positive. The offering is particularly appealing to the VARs because they will be able to get the same margin or better than what they get on premises-based unified communications equipment. Some VARs may move away from premises equipment sales altogether in favor of the cloud-based offering.
The service, based on Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), will enable VARs/SIs to deliver a full suite of unified communication and collaboration applications, including Single Number Reach, Integrated Messaging and Presence, Video Calling and WebEx integration. HCS provides support for single site, multi-site and hybrid premise-based implementations that allow significant flexibility to business customers. This solution will enable VARs/SIs to sell a monthly subscription based solution under their own brand. Additionally, VARs/SIs can provide customized solutions to their client base by overlaying HCS with their own managed services. This will offer VARs/SIs the unique opportunity to differentiate themselves while growing their revenue predictably and without heavy front-end CAPEX costs for themselves or their customers.
“Everyone is entirely in their sweet spot,” said Neutral Tandem Vice President of Product Marketing Ian Neale in an interview.
Cisco’s research shows that the market for hosted unified communications and collaboration solutions is growing significantly. By 2013, hosted collaboration is projected to grow to $8 billion, comprising 31 percent of the Unified Communications market. Reselling Neutral Tandem’s wholesale HCS offering will allow VARs/SIs to meet the growing demand for cloud solutions.
“Cisco has a range of go-to-market strategies to meet the growing demand for cloud collaboration services and Neutral Tandem’s white label offering of HCS is one model that presents a significant business opportunity for channel partners,” said Richard McLeod, senior director for Cisco’s Worldwide Partner Collaboration Sales and Practice Management. “As the first US-based partner to bring a white-label HCS offering to market, Neutral Tandem will help VARs and integrators drive growth and profitability while providing end customers with a proven collaboration solution.”