Articulating a clear value proposition about cloud solutions is essential when it comes to selling cloud – especially to SMB or midmarket clients. Because of that, we often recommend that solution providers who are new to cloud services launch their cloud initiative with technologies they are accustomed to talking about, such as hosted email, security and storage. After partners and their clients build a comfort level with those solutions, they often ask our advice about the next step – the cloud solutions that can move them up the value chain and complement those foundational technology solutions that are already in place.
We believe one of the best adjacent cloud technologies to add is unified communications (UC). After all, most MSPs and VARs have been selling components of UC, such as handsets, switches and similar devices, since their earliest days in the industry. What we are seeing now, however, is a converging point with communication technology – everyone has cell phones, desk phones, and multiple email addresses. It has become cumbersome to use all those communication tools. A UC solution can pull together all those pieces while adding new communication and collaboration capabilities.
Eliminating the CapExNot only are changes in business systems driving interest in UC, so is the reality that many business phone or PBX systems are simply becoming antiquated. That makes UC cloud solutions even more enticing since they eliminate much of the CapEx associated with phone system upgrades.
With cloud UC, solution providers can focus on the handset and infrastructure needed to connect customers with a cutting-edge UC solution. Plus, with a cloud solution, all the complexities of a complex PBX setup and wiring are gone, meaning you can add this solution set without heavily investing in an entirely new technology practice. Because the core components sit in the cloud, configuration and maintenance is drastically simplified, making this technology an easy-add for solution providers.
The Packaging QuestionWe recommend our partners bundle cloud-powered UC with the components needed to turn hosted UC into a turnkey office UC solution. You can even white label the entire system – all tied to a highly compelling value proposition of advanced communication and collaboration capabilities for a significantly more affordable cost.
Cloud UC is a natural next step for our Ingram Micro partners when it comes to their cloud service portfolio. We have worked hard to aggregate a solution to bridge the gap between the performance offered by enterprise-class UC solutions and the needs of SMB and midmarket organizations and our partners. With our new hosted offering, expected to be in general availability by year’s end, our partners will be able to offer access to a cloud-based UC solution, bundle it with on-premise components and support services, and turn it into a full-fledged communications solution with capabilities and features formerly out of reach of their customers.
At Ingram Micro, we often talk about converging technologies and the ways our partners need to prepare to expand their horizons when it comes to solutions they offer customers. If solution providers take the time to create a turnkey solution rooted in a hosted UC solution, they will soon have UC as a foundational offering, right along with the more traditional hosted email, online storage and backup solutions they have been so successful with so far.
Paul Hoffmann is senior director of cloud and technology solutions at Ingram Micro at Ingram Micro. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual sponsorship program. Read all of Ingram Micro's guest blogs here.