Intermedia: Still Committed to MSPs and Channel Partners?

During Ingram Micro Cloud Summit last week, a few MSPs pulled me aside to ask a key question: Is Intermedia, the hosted Exchange specialist, still committed to managed services providers (MSPs) and channel partners? The question popped up because Oak Hill Capital Partners, an investment firm, acquired Intermedia in May 2011. The change in control has some MSPs wondering how Intermedia will evolve. Here's the answer.

Incoming Intermedia CEO Phil Koen says he's committed to the channel. But what's actually happening within the halls of Intermedia? I found the answer recently by visiting the company's New York offices. While there I saw some familiar channel-centric faces: Chief Marketing Officer Manlio Carrelli and Senior VP of Sales and Business Development Bob Leibholz.

Channel Track Record

Carrelli and Leibholz are familiar names to MSPs. They were front-and-center during the Intermedia partner summits I attended in 2011 and 2010. And they were still talking channel when I visited them a couple of weeks ago. As a privately held company, Intermedia does not disclose financials. But Leibholz shared a familiar line with me, stating that the company's most recent months were the most successful months in Intermedia's history. And a lot of that success involves channel partners.

Looking ahead, it sounds like Intermedia is hiring more channel managers to assist partners. Carrelli says the strategy is to focus intensely on hosted Exchange -- "it sits at our core," he said -- while continuing to add services such as hosted PBX/unified communications services. Intermedia has also been adding storage and encryption services to its channel-centric portfolio.

Talking Strategy

Meanwhile, Leibholz remains on the road at channel conferences. He attended Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, and he's also been a guest speaker at Microsoft-related cloud gatherings. In a way that's ironic: Intermedia will wind up competing with Microsoft Office 365 -- launching June 28 -- but Intermedia also remains one of Microsoft's closest service provider partners.

No doubt, MSPs have multiple hosted Exchange options from which to choose -- Intermedia, MessageWire, mindSHIFT, Own Web Now, SherWeb, etc. I can't recommend one hosted Exchange service over another because I don't actually test or resell the services. But I can say that Intermedia remains channel-centric, and I expect that to continue under Oak Hill Capital Partners' ownership.

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