Opening the Reseller Base

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Many feared that Microsoft's own entry into the space would hurt the emerging business, but some providers say it draws attention to the possibility of outsourcing your e-mail server.

Ingram Micro announced its deal with GroupSpark, now owned by MindShift, in April, a move that opened up the potential reseller base for GroupSpark to the tens of thousands of Ingram Micro's Seismic partners, says Paul Chisholm, chairman and CEO of MindShift.

"Being able to reach SMBs is a really big challenge because they are so fragmented," he says. "The only way to do it is through the channel. But building a channel is a time consuming process. Ingram has a great channel already established."

But with Microsoft getting into the business, and so many other providers spreading the message too, are providers concerned at all about commoditization?

"Any technology runs the risk of commoditization," Intermedia's Essner says. "And certainly when you add in another large vendor the rate of commoditization increases. But we view that as a good thing."

That's because Intermedia doesn't offer a commodity service, he says.  "We are not the cheapest, we are not a value offering.  We are a premium price and offer premium services and are continually adding new services."

For example, he says, Intermedia was the first company to offer hosted Microsoft Office Communications server. 

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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