Avnet Adds Microsoft SharePoint to SAAS Offerings

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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IT solution providers looking to add SAAS to their service offerings can now turn to Avnet OneTech Hosted SharePoint. Avnet's hosted Microsoft SharePoint is available immediately, and it adds to the IT distributor's hosted Microsoft Exchange service, introduced in January. Several other distributors have announced SAAS offerings, including Ingram Micro and Tech Data.

Looking to add another revenue stream and business model to the mix, more IT solution providers are considering software as a service as an option to offer their end customers, and IT distributors are making it easier to do that.

Case in point: Avnet Technology Solutions recently added Microsoft SharePoint to its SAAS portfolio, available to IT solution providers immediately. The addition of Avnet’s OneTech Hosted SharePoint services follows Avnet Technology Solutions' addition of Microsoft Exchange SAAS, introduced at the beginning of 2008.

Click here to read about Ingram Micro's SAAS plans to help IT solution providers deliver hosted applications to SMBs.

"The launch of Avnet's OneTech Hosted SharePoint offering is designed to help partners expand their managed services portfolio and gain incremental revenue," Tony Vottima, vice president of solutions marketing, told Channel Insider. "Many IT solution providers are still trying to figure out how to get started." Avnet's offering, and the SAAS offerings from other IT distributors, is designed to make it easy for IT solution providers to add software services to their portfolios.

Vottima says that Avnet's hosted Microsoft Exchange business has been steadily growing every month since its introduction. "We are probably in the 10,000 seats a month range," he says. "The more folks that are hearing about partners selling it, the more partners that are interested in it."

Hosted Microsoft SharePoint from Avnet is sold to end users in one-, two- or three-year contracts that can be adjusted as time goes on. Vottima says that such contracts are typically expanded to include more users as businesses grow. Contracts are based on storage, capacity, bandwidth and the number of users.

IT solution providers also can gain revenue through the sale of incremental services such as delivering custom templates to serve the needs of different customers. Avnet can help with such templates, says Vottima.

Additional services are part of what set IT solution providers' hosted services apart from those sold directly by the manufacturer to the customer, according to Vottima. While some IT solution providers may continue to be concerned about Microsoft's direct sales of hosted Exchange and SharePoint, Vottima points out all the things solution providers can add on to provide more value to customers.

"Microsoft's direct sales doesn't seem to have much of an effect on IT solution provider SAAS sales and distributor sales," he says. "There are a lot of additional services around encryption [and] automatic backup; there's a plethora of add-ons that are custom. There are reasons people do business with distributors. You wouldn't typically get these services when dealing with the manufacturer direct."

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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