Big service providers continue to sharpen their SMB focus. The latest example: Cox Business -- a branch of Cox Communications -- is continuing its mission to become more enticing to small and midsized businesses (SMBs). Most recently, the company said its voice services now include a managed IP PBX+ solution similar to Cisco's Small Business Communication System. In fact, Cox claims to be the first cable provider to gain Cisco Managed Services Partner Express Certification. The certification allows Cox Business to offer its customers managed services based on Cisco's platforms, which the company is already doing with its new voice services with managed IP and PBX+ solution in Las Vegas and Oklahoma. Here's the update.
According to Cox:
- SMB's with no IT department can use the new system and have Cox monitor it 24/7.
- Cox will identify and resolve any of an SMB's technical problems.
- SMB's can share the new features with up to five network locations.
- Employees working remotely can access the new features.
In late November 2010, just after launching its ad campaign, Cox said it had over 250,000 business customers. That figure is likely to go up, as Cox plans to offer more managed services to SMB's in the coming years and venture into larger organizations. Right now, its managed services are best suited for businesses with 100 employees or less.
Still, Cox will face plenty of competition from traditional MSPs and emerging cloud-centric companies. Prime examples: Parallels, which works closely with hosting providers, is preparing a hosted PBX strategy for channel partners. Details should emerge later this month at the Parallels Summit in Orlando, Fla. Also, hosted Exchange veterans like Intermedia are pushing into hosted unified communications, and introducing partner programs for such efforts.
Additional insights by Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.