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Rackspace partners get sales tool; Workplace by Facebook taps channel

A Rackspace tool for speeding up the cloud sales process is now available, while MNJ Technologies has become a Workplace by Facebook reseller; more news from the week.

Rackspace has launched a partner app that the company said will shorten the sales cycle and provide an alternative to joint sales calls.

The cloud and managed services company said its All Cloud Guide, a web and mobile app, is generally available to Rackspace partners. Rackspace said the tool identifies customers' needs through a questionnaire and provides partners with cloud infrastructure recommendations. The guide will recommend one or a combination of five infrastructure options: public cloud, private cloud, bare metal, server virtualization and colocation.

The tool also includes "Why This Question?" videos that explain the significance of each question on the questionnaire and a sharing function that lets partners show the cloud recommendation with customers on screen, through email, or with a printout or PDF.

Rackspace partners also have the option of sending the completed customer questionnaire to Rackspace for follow-up.

If a [partner] seller wants to drive the conversation and doesn't necessarily need Rackspace at the meeting to be involved in the conversation, they can leverage this app and be self-sufficient.
Michael StephensAgent channel chief, Rackspace

Michael Stephens, Rackspace agent channel chief, said partners can "use this app in front of customers and go through the questions and use it as a selling tool." In addition, partners may use the app's learning content offline before they make a sales call, he added.

"We believe [the app] is going to increase partner productivity -- and ours at Rackspace -- and shorten the sales cycle," Stephens said.

The All Cloud Guide can replace a joint sales call with a Rackspace seller, he said. "If a [partner] seller wants to drive the conversation and doesn't necessarily need Rackspace at the meeting to be involved in the conversation, they can leverage this app and be self-sufficient," he noted.

Future expansion of the Rackspace partner tool may include recommendations related to security and the application layer, Stephens said.

In other Rackspace partner news, the company said Managed VMware Cloud on AWS is now a commissionable product. A number of managed service providers (MSPs) now offer managed services around VMware Cloud on AWS.

Rackspace is also offering commission for Rackspace Professional Services engagements, according to a company blog post. In addition, Rackspace has created Technical Partner Workshops, which the company said are geared toward partners that support technology and product integration offerings for customers' digital transformation efforts.

MNJ Technologies resells Workplace by Facebook

MNJ Technologies, a technology and managed service provider, is partnering with Facebook and Synnex Corp. to market and resell Workplace by Facebook.

Ben NiernbergBen Niernberg

"[Workplace by Facebook] is a major differentiator for us," said Ben Niernberg, senior vice president at MNJ. "It allows us to go broader and deeper into nontraditional … customers."

Those nontraditional buyers include HR departments, marketing and communications departments, and chief culture officers, Niernberg said.

Synnex -- and, in particular, the company's Stellr cloud community -- brought Workplace by Facebook to MNJ's attention about three months ago, he said. Stellr works with channel partners on emerging technologies and serves as a distributor for Facebook's enterprise communications and collaboration offering. Synnex announced that distribution arrangement in May 2019.

The Workplace by Facebook partnering initiative includes service partners and global systems integrators that provide services around the platform, including use case development, deployment, training and change management, according to Facebook. Channel partners, meanwhile, are authorized to resell the platform and provide support. The channel partner element includes companies such as Synnex and MNJ.

Other news

  • AWS introduced an End User Computing Competency for its consulting partners. The competency validates a partner's capabilities in provisioning, protecting and acquiring intelligence from endpoint devices, end-user apps and data on the AWS cloud, the vendor said in a blog post.
  • Maven Wave, a Google Cloud Premier Partner based in Chicago, said it has completed a G Suitedeployment for an undisclosed North American bank. The digital transformation project strengthened the bank's security posture, while complying with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., according to Maven Wave.
  • IT operations management vendor Symphony SummitAI is in recruitment mode. The vendor, which currently has 15 international partners, said it aims to add 15 partners in the APAC market by the end of the year.
  • NextUse, an IT asset disposition company, said it will fill the gap left by distributor Arrow Electronics' closure of its ITAD business. Arrow revealed it would end its ITAD business last month. NextUse's Quick Switch program provides Arrow's customers with free pickups within the U.S., equipment bids and custom onboarding programs, NextUse said.
  • ConnectBooster, which offers automated payment products for channel partners, unwrapped new integrations with ConnectWise Manage, ConnectWise's professional services automation The new billing portal integration lets ConnectBooster users manage their ticketing and billing from within ConnectWise Manage.
  • CloudOak, a cloud data management provider, unveiled Plan4Continuity, a cloud-based business continuity planning tool for MSPs. Available to select partners today, the full release of Plan4Continuity is slated for the end of August, CloudOak said.
  • Axcient, a Mountain View, Calif., company that provides business available and cloud migration offerings for MSPs, has unveiled a marketing enablement tool for its partners. Axcient Marketing Portal aims to help MSPs build comprehensive marketing programs and scale their marketing initiatives, according to the company.
  • Atos and NICE inContact, a NICE business unit, have entered a partnership in which Atos, an IT services company based in Bezons, France, will make NICE inContact CXone a preferred contact center-as-a-service offering. The arrangement will also bring CXone to Atos' installed base of contact center agents, Atos said.
  • Zerto, an IT resilience vendor, hired Emily Weeks as director of sales for East Americas and Eric Barnhart as director of channel sales in the Americas. The channel-related moves follow the appointment earlier this year of Jim Ortbals as vice president of worldwide channel and cloud sales and Amber Johanson as vice president of global pre-sales engineering. Zerto, which has its U.S. headquarters in Boston, has collaborated with channel partners on projects with customers such as Baystate Healthand Jay Peak Resort.
  • MSP software vendor Dattoappointed Robert Petrocelli as its CTO. Petrocelli will be responsible for ongoing product development, Datto said. Prior to Datto, Petrocelli served as a senior software architect at Oracle.
  • Ground Labs, a Singapore-based data security software vendor, named Jason Stein to head up its North American channel and partnerships. Stein joins Ground Labs from Kaspersky Lab, where he served as vice president of North American channel. Ground Labs in July took the wraps off a North American headquarters in Austin, Texas.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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How will Facebook Workplace fare in the channel?
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