March 16, 2011
Problem: hosted Microsoft Exchange mailboxes are becoming a commodity — and the MSP’s potential for margins is dipping accordingly. But at the Intermedia Partner Summit, company Channel Chief Anthony Graziano had some insight for the 100 service providers in attendance on how to use new value-added Intermedia cloud offerings like e-mail encryption and online backup to boost the bottom line month in and month out.
First and foremost, Graziano said that it’s key to identify a customer who’s ready to be sold on more cloud services. If they’re on an aging legacy Microsoft Exchange 2003/2007 system, they’re ripe to be migrated to hosted Exchange. And that goes double if they find themselves needing to meet new regulatory requirements like those mandatory in Nevada, California, or Massachusetts or if they find their IT staff mired in e-mail management.
Finally, Graziano said, geographically dispersed clients, especially those with a history of outsourcing, are especially ripe for a value-added pitch.
Once identified, Graziano says the next step is to make sure your service outperforms the customer’s expectations. Be quick to implement, and make sure they know that the IT tools they’re getting from the cloud are the same that Fortune 500 companies often spend a lot more to deploy. And on the home front, make sure your sales organization is properly incentivized to keep selling with commissions and revenue goals.
Graziano took the time to single out two new tools Intermedia is adding to partner control portals as soon as April of this year:
Policy-based Email Encryption, which automatically intercepts and encodes messages according to rules the administrator sets with no need for user intervention. For instance, healthcare companies can automatically flag any e-mail that contains insurance information, or a commercial business could encrypt credit card numbers. When intercepted, the encrypted e-mail can be read from a web-based archive. Graziano highlighted the potential for channel partners to not only charge for the encryption service, but also for consulting on configuring the policies or reporting back monthly on continuing compliance.
Online Backup powered by Mozy, which does exactly what it says on the tin- – $4.50 per month backs up any Windows PC or Apple Mac’s desktop files up to 4GB, with an additional $4.50 per 10GB per month on the account level. Administrators can even choose to back up only a certain filetype. Online storage is an easy sell and fits a need for even the smallest of organizations, Graziano says, and opens doors just like hosted Exchange. And with laptop and tablet sales on the rise, it can protect against catastrophic data loss in the event of a spilled can of soda.
Finally, Graziano reiterated many points made in the morning’s presentation by Senior VP of Sales & Business Development Bob Leibholz. Which is to say, it’s important to attend events, make friends, find new customers in new verticals, and most of all, bundle services together. As Graziano colorfully put it — remind the customer that with an Intermedia partner’s service bundle, if something goes wrong they only have one throat to choke.
All that said, there were a few Intermedia partners in attendance who weren’t completely stoked by Graziano’s presentation. Q&A sessions across the day were marked by concerns that the Mozy-powered backup solution doesn’t yet support servers, only desktops. And some concerns were aired that the Policy-based Email Encryption wouldn’t meet the needs of customers when stacked with their current solutions.
The VAR Guy and MSPmentor had additional insights on the Intermedia Partner Summit throughout the day. Just make sure to come back to TalkinCloud for more updates on Intermedia’s partner strategy as they arrive.
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