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Meraki Go offers channel new small-business Wi-Fi market

Cisco Meraki's small-business Wi-Fi offering, Meraki Go, opens opportunities for channel partners among a new set of customers; other news from the week.

Meraki Go, a newly launched small-businesses Wi-Fi offering, will give channel partners an edge with customers...

who were previously out of reach.

That's the expectation of Cisco Meraki, Cisco's division that focuses on wireless LAN, cloud-managed switches and other products. Meraki Go offers indoor and outdoor wireless access points, a Meraki Go app for managing the wireless network, and a subscription for support and security updates.

Kevin Rezai, Meraki Go global sales lead at Cisco Meraki, said the Wi-Fi product is built for small-business organizations with fewer than 50 employees. He also noted a possible "sub-niche" of organizations with fewer than 20 employees.

Small-business owners are in a bit of bind when it comes to Wi-Fi, according to Cisco Meraki research. On the one hand, many small businesses tend to get by with consumer-grade Wi-Fi products. A Cisco Meraki survey of 1,000 small-business owners found 43% use the same Wi-Fi offering in their offices that they use in their homes.

But on the other hand, an enterprise-class Wi-Fi product may not prove viable because of the required IT support. More than 80% of the respondents said they lack a full-time IT resource.

The crux is a lot of the Wi-Fi solutions today don't meet the needs of small businesses.
Kevin RezaiMeraki Go global sales lead at Cisco Meraki

"The crux is a lot of the Wi-Fi solutions today don't meet the needs of small businesses," Rezai said.

Pricing is another consideration in the small-businesses Wi-Fi space. Meraki Go aims to lower the price point to make the technology more accessible. An indoor access point is priced at $129, compared with around $600 for the low end of Meraki's enterprise Wi-Fi access point.

The more affordable price point enables partners to "address their customers in a way they haven't been able to before," Rezai said.

Kaseya committed to 'one-stop-shop' strategy

IT management vendor Kaseya shared plans to further expand its software platform for managed services providers (MSPs) through yet-to-be-announced acquisitions.

Kaseya's platform, IT Complete, currently offers a broad suite of integrated MSP products, including remote monitoring and management, professional services automation, and security software.

This past year, Kaseya added backup and disaster recovery software to its portfolio through a buyout of Unitrends. And this week, the vendor purchased RapidFire Tools, a managed services software provider that will operate as independent business under Kaseya. The company provides assessment, internal threat detection and compliance products.

In a recent podcast by market research firm The 2112 Group, Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola revealed more acquisitions to augment the IT Complete platform are on the way.

"I think two of the three announcements that we are going to make are really going to send positive shock waves through the MSP community," Voccola said in The 2112 Group's podcast about the upcoming acquisitions.

Voccola said Kaseya is committed to its strategy of becoming a one-stop shop for MSPs -- versus a provider of a point product that MSPs can stitch together with other vendors' products -- because the approach meets the needs of how MSPs operates today.

In MSP organizations, a technician typically has multiple functions, which may range from configuration and network management to backup and even service desk work, he said. As result, technicians want a comprehensible "product, one that is deep enough to do what they need to do in the time they need to do it."

Point products, meanwhile, are more suitable for enterprise IT departments, which usually dedicate entire teams to single functions, Voccola noted. For example, an enterprise IT department might have 500 people focused only on network management, while another 200 do only backup and disaster recovery, he said.

"So much of the tooling and the infrastructure management products [enterprise IT departments] use are frameworks that they have customized substantially with their own internal development teams to augment [and] add company-specific functionality," he said.

"What is more important [for MSPs] is they accomplish their objective and their task in the quickest, most efficient way possible, and they can move in and out of five or six different functional groups at a fraction of the cost, because that's what their customers are demanding from them," Voccola said.

SUSE schools SAP Business One resellers in Linux

SUSE, an open source software provider based in Nuremberg, Germany, has trained 500 SAP partners in an effort to push SAP HANA to more midmarket customers.

The joint SAP-SUSE program focuses on SAP Business One resellers. Business One is an ERP system for small and midsize businesses that grew up in the Windows environment, but now it also runs on SAP HANA and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. Dirk Oppenkowski, global alliance director for SAP at SUSE, said SAP aims to gradually move its customer base to Linux and HANA.

As part of the SAP-SUSE program, about 2,500 individuals from the 500 partners went through SUSE's training academy to become familiar with Linux, Oppenkowski said.

In addition to training, the program also provides profit sharing via deal registration rebates and access to the SUSE Installation Wizard. That tool lets partners deploy SAP Business One running on SAP HANA with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, according to SUSE.

The vast majority of the 500 Business One resellers participating in the program are net-new partners for SUSE. Oppenkowski said, in the past, Business One resellers have been mainly Windows and SQL Server partners. The result is little overlap with SUSE's reseller channel, he added.

The midmarket program is an offshoot of an ongoing relationship between SUSE and SAP that goes back about seven years.

Other news

  • Security vendor Netwrix Corp. unveiled a technical certification program for its Netwrix Auditor software platform. The Partner Technical Certification Program is designed for technical teams at MSPs, value-added resellers and distributor partners, Netwrix said. By completing online training, partner engineers can achieve two levels of Netwrix Engineer certification: Certified and Pro.
  • ConnectWise is taking applications for a business-expansion idea contest and a merger-and-acquisition matchmaking event. The business-expansion contest, dubbed Pitch IT, offers the first-place winner up to $100,000 to execute its business plan. Runners-up will receive $50,000 and $25,000. ConnectWise's M&A Deal Crawl event, meanwhile, will bring a number of qualified buyers and sellers together for an in-person meeting Nov. 8 at the IT Nation Connect conference in Orlando, Fla.
  • Broadvoice, a provider of hosted voice, unified communications and SIP trunking services, introduced its Public Sector Program. Through the program, partners can receive help for targeting government, education and nonprofit markets. Partner resources include training, marketing collateral, lead sharing, request-for-proposal tools and technical response assistance, Broadvoice said.
  • Unified Office Inc., an MSP focusing on communications services and business analytics, has launched an offering for the dental industry. The company's Total Connect Now Dental Management Suite is a voice communications system that integrates with dental practice management software platforms, such as Dentrix, Open Dental and Eaglesoft.
  • Cloud distributor Pax8 has named Ken Patterson as its director of community. Patterson joins Pax8 from Techevolution, a Boston-based MSP, where he served as executive vice president. In his new role, Patterson will oversee Pax8's community outreach program, partner relationships, and MSPs' access to education, tools and support, the distributor said.
  • Commvault, a backup and recovery vendor based in Tinton Falls, N.J., has appointed Wenceslao Lada as vice president of worldwide alliances.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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