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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

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

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

"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."