Smoothstone, FusionStorm Partner on Managed Services

Smoothstone, which provides unified IP communications as managed services and cloud-based applications, is cultivating a partner ecosystem to deliver federated services. The latest example involves a partnership with FusionStorm, an MSPmentor 100 company. Here are some perspectives.

Smoothstone, based in Louisville, Ky., plans to work closely with FusionStorm, a San Francisco-based solutions provider that targets such areas as storage-area networks, Unix, Linux and Windows servers and IP telephony. That’s the third alliance emerging in a three week span, the other recent partner signings being Logista, a technology management services firm, and inContact, which provides on-demand contact center software.

James Whitemore, Smoothstone’s chief marketing officer, describes three tiers of channel allies. Strategic alliance partners are those that offer solutions that complement Smoothstone’s unified communications line. For example, inContact, with its cloud-based applications, lacked a voice platform, Whitemore noted. Smoothstone now provides that service for inContact and similarly supports Savvis, another strategic partner.

Companies such as FusionStorm and Logista fall into the systems integrator/VAR partner category. Whitemore said those partners tend to focus on the Cisco channel and run a dedicated communications practice. Integrators have been tapping Smoothstone for Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking services, which connect to an on-premise IP private branch exchange (PBX). But over the course of 2009, that emphasis has shifted to a hosted approach.

“We’re now working with those customers to deliver hosted solutions,” Whitemore said, noting that IP PBX equipment has become a harder sell.

Smoothstone has 40 active reseller and integrator partners across the U.S.

In addition to strategic partners and integrators, Smoothstone works with telecom agents. Whitemore described the company’s business with agents as “referral and introduction type relationships.”

Contributing blogger John Moore covers Master MSPs, Web hosts and emerging opportunities. Follow MSPmentor via RSS; Facebook; Identi.ca; and Twitter. And sign up for our Enewsletter; Webcasts and Resource Center.

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