After several months of beta testing its first offering as a cloud service provider, the North America Services Division of Ingram Micro Inc. is making available to qualified Cisco Systems Inc. channel partners a Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS), powered by Cisco.
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Ingram Micro, in partnership with Cisco, now offers a subscription-based service around Cisco Collaboration technologies, including Cisco Unified Communications, Cisco Customer Collaboration and Cisco WebEx. This offering includes the full range of Cisco Collaboration functions along with the tools to deliver those functions to the end customer, according to Ingram Micro. Partners must hold Cisco Advanced Unified Communications or Cisco Advanced Collaboration Architecture specializations.
“This HCS offering is an extension of our partnership with Cisco in that they needed providers to take up the infrastructure investment that channel partners aren’t able to do,” said Jason Bystrak, director of sales for Ingram Micro Services Division North America.
The Cisco collaboration cloud partnership with Ingram Micro comes about one month after the vendor announced partner incentives around its Cisco Business Edition 6000 midmarket collaboration solution, highlighting how Cisco is doubling down on its market push around collaboration solutions and relying on the channel to win market share.
Acting as a services broker, or cloud aggregator, for channel partners since 2006, Ingram Micro today offers 130 solutions from more than 40 vendor partners, according to Bystrak. In that capacity, the distributor is responsible for researching current cloud trends and making vendor selections based on company viability, technology, business continuity and security.
“What’s unique about Cisco HCS is that we are the service provider and made significant investment to build the infrastructure in our data center to support this offering,” he added.
Ingram Micro is also responsible for delivering quality assurance and making sure that the solution keeps pace with changes in the marketplace. The Cisco HCS offering is featured on the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
In addition to the HCS offering, Ingram Micro is utilizing Cisco’s Advanced Services team to help channel partners provision and deploy HCS and offer 24/7 service management, monitoring, and Level 2 and Level 3 technical support.
Cisco and Ingram Micro are working hand-in-hand to build and develop a channel program around the Cisco collaboration cloud service and will target some 500-plus Advanced Unified Communications or Advanced Collaboration Architecture partners, according to Bystrak.
During the HCS beta, the goal was to work with select Cisco partners to solicit customers with end-user deployments in the 150-250 plus range that might migrate to Cisco HCS from a legacy installation or step up from voice to a full integrated unified communications portfolio including voice, messaging, email and conferencing.
Sales and marketing efforts for HCS will come from Ingram Micro’s segmented Cisco business unit and field resources. Ingram Micro will also work with Cisco on qualified leads and utilize Cisco incentives for customers that migrate to the cloud.
Ingram Micro will also leverage its business intelligence data to help identify opportunities for partners and help Cisco partners assess their current client base to identify potential sales opportunities.
The distributor plans to broadcast the HCS offering to partners via field meetings, webinars, events and email marketing.
Ingram Micro suggested that partners that don’t currently hold one of the required Cisco specializations to offer HCS should leverage Cisco's training and certification programs, staffing services and professional services around UCS.
To help partners overcome the business hurdles to becoming a cloud services provider, Ingram Micro will continue to offer education around cloud services financials and a recurring business revenue model.