Hosted communications provider Apptix is jumping further into the channel pool with an expanded program designed to parlay its hosted offerings into an opportunity for solution providers.
The Herndon, Va.-based company, which has hosted offerings in VoIP, Microsoft Exchange e-mail, mobile e-mail and Microsoft SharePoint collaboration services, among others, has had a channel program of sorts for more than five years. It now has expanded that program to four partnership levels based on a solution provider’s commitment, from referrals to co-branding to private-label programs.
“This now is a fairly in-depth program – it has been expanded dramatically with new technologies added,” said Rick Rumbarger, vice president of product at Apptix.
The Apptix Partner Program previously consisted of a referral program, open to anyone who referred customers to Apptix, and the partner program, made up mostly of large and established IT integrators, MSPs, telcos and distributors looking for one-off deals.
Two new levels of the program address the more traditional resale models, Rumbarger said, and provide a ready-to-implement solution.
The Reseller and Power Reseller levels offer co-branded, out-of-the-box hosted services that users can deploy and manage, including white-label customer support. “We consider these a reseller-in-a-box solution,” Rumbarger said. “You sign up with us and in one business day we can deliver a completely branded storefront, a sales control panel, administrative control panel to set pricing and determine which products you want to offer, a branded user-control panel and white-label 24/7 customer support. Sign up, send us your logos, and the next day you have a branded storefront and solution.”
The levels also offer domain registration and credit card billing, regardless of a solution provider’s credit status. “So if your credit is not good, it’s no problem,” Rumbarger added. “We provide the credit and handle fraud control and the bad debt risk. Our resellers simply just sign up.”
The Power Reseller level also includes enhanced pricing on an expanded array of products to offer to other resellers. “So if you’re a master agent and have multiple agents below you, or you want the ability to sign up your friends and family as resellers, the Power Reseller level allows you to do that,” he said.
Hosted services have become more popular as more companies look to cut costs but maintain high reliability with their communications systems. In the Winter 2008 Channel Outlook Study, an astounding 75 percent of solution providers surveyed said managed services will be the top technology driving the most profit for the channel in 2009.
“If you look at the online features a solution provider can offer, the stickiest product is e-mail,” Rumbarger said. “By providing premium product like Microsoft Exchange, you increase the stickiness, and by adding VoIP (which Apptix will within a few months), you now have the two stickiest products together. That is a huge benefit for resellers.”
Apptix also is bolstering its product offerings with hosted web conferencing and secure instant messaging via Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.
“This solution is unique in the way we are delivering it,” Rumbarger said. “This will be an all-you-can eat web conference solution, for $14.95 or $24.95 a month, depending on how many attendees you have in your conferences. For the price-sensitive, it’s a great solution.”
The company also has a new virtual private server offering, “which is a good economical way to go when customers don’t want to have a dedicated server but want something in the cloud,” Rumbarger said.
Indeed, he added, all of Apptix’s offerings are good solutions for resellers to offer their customers in today’s economic climate.
“We’re very serious about the reseller channel and we’re doing whatever we can to deliver,” he said.