June 12, 2020
The new Vonage CEO expects a smooth transition. It’s one partners in our audience will watch closely, considering the large number that sell Vonage products and services.
COVID-19 isn’t going away soon — and IT pros are losing their jobs as a result. Yet, there could be some good news on the horizon.
And a new partnership between a pair of industry powerhouses promises to challenge Avaya-RingCentral.
You were talking about those stories and more around the “home watercooler” this week, though it’s probably more fitting to say you were doing so over your favorite video conferencing service. So to catch up on who now sits in the Vonage CEO chair, who’s talking smack about Avaya and RingCentral, and what 8×8’s new Open Communications platform is all about, take a look at our top six stories of the week below.
6. Coffee with Craig and Kevin: MetTel, GigTel
SD-WAN and UCaaS were the topics, respectively, when we interviewed MetTel and GigTel on the latest edition of the Channel Partners podcast.
MetTel CTO Ed Fox shared how AI and SD-WAN are making enterprise networks more efficient. Then, GigTel national channel manager Jim Rotondi took the mic to explain how his company has maintained momentum after a rebrand.
Listen to Coffee with Craig and Kevin for some insight into these technologies and some good humor to finish your week.
5. COVID-19-Based IT Job Losses
It’s good news and bad news on the job front for IT pros.
Janco Associates said nearly 117,000 IT pros lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 shutdown in April and early May. But those job losses are over for the most part. The company reviews its 2020 forecast for overall tech sector job growth to a little more than 35,000.
CompTIA also had a take on IT layoffs.
4. Versa Networks’ SASE Offer
SD-WAN is all the rage, as evidenced by the popularity of our recent list of 20 top SD-WAN providers. But if SD-WAN is hot, SASE is on fire.
Versa Networks is the latest company with a secure access service edge (SASE) offer, which delivers SD-WAN and private connectivity for remote or working-from-home employees.
Versa says these employees can now securely connect to apps in both private and public clouds, part of Versa Secure Access. Partners can get it turnkey, deployed and offered as a managed service.
Find out more about Versa and SASE.
3. NEC, Intermedia Team on Cloud UCaaS
NEC used to be a powerhouse in PBX, but lost share once everything turned “cloudy.” The company’s answer is a new partnership with Intermedia.
As a result, partners get new opportunities.. There’s the new NEC Univerge Blue Connect, built on Intermedia’s United Cloud PBX platform. It also includes NEC Univerge Blue Engage, built on Intermedia Contact Center.
“We partnered with Intermedia because they are truly channel-focused,” Marc Hebner, VP of NECAM’s enterprise channel, told Channel Partners.
This follows last year’s huge, $500 million tie-up between Avaya and RingCentral. One partner we talked to used the opportunity to criticize Avaya-RingCentral, claiming “[RingCentral is] just buying the SMB customer base from Avaya and they’ll convert it to RingCentral.”
We offer a comparison of the two relationships.
2. 8×8 Open Communications
8×8 launched its new Open Communications Platform that partners might find appealing to sell. The company calls it a complete portfolio of work-from-anywhere enterprise communications, which combines voice, team chat, meetings, contact center and more.
8×8 also announced …
… the availability of CPaaS programmable applications and APIs, including text and 8×8 video. Businesses can extend and customize both 8×8 and third-party applications and workflows.
And that’s not all. 8×8 Voice for Microsoft Teams is a new cloud telephony offer that fully integrates with Teams without changing the end user experience.
8×8 channel boss John DeLozier told Channel Partners this is a “huge” opportunity for the company’s partners to upsell existing customers. But it also lets them tap into the rapidly growing Office 365 and Microsoft Teams market.
Get the full scoop here.
1. New Vonage CEO
Vonage’s Rory Read
This was the runaway No. 1 story of the week, garnering twice as many page views as No. 2.
Vonage appointed Rory Read to replace Alan Masarek as chief executive officer. Read, who comes to Vonage from Dell Technologies, will work closely with Masarek to assure a smooth transition. Masarek is stepping down after almost six years at the helm.
The move is getting solid reviews from some in the channel.
“He is a transformation genius who drives the needed changes in a caring and thoughtful way while still achieving results,” said Janet Schijns, CEO of JS Group, the channel consultancy.
Read more about the change at the top.
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