Tech Data and Service Provider Deliver UC to Channel

Distributor and Cbeyond hook up to reach more VARs with IP applications

Cbeyond, a telecom service provider of IP-based managed services, is expanding its channel partner program for unified communications (UC) nationally through a recently announced partnership with distributor Tech Data Corp. Under its program, Cbeyond is bundling its own BeyondVoice product with SIPconnect service and Cisco's Smart Business Communications System (SBCS) into a solution package for VARs.

Under terms of the agreement, Tech Data will tap into its extensive network of channel partners to build awareness of the benefits of turnkey UC solutions. "Our partnership with Cbeyond underscores how Tech Data is bringing new service revenue opportunities to our networking channel partners and helping them grow their business among SMBs," said Chuck Bartlett, Tech Data vice president, networking product marketing.

For its part Cbeyond hopes to gain traction in the channel for BeyondVoice and SIPconnect, an integrated package of local and long-distance voice, high-speed Internet and mobile services that leverages the SIPconnect specification to integrate with Cisco's SBSC. The result is an all-in-one communications solution for small businesses.

The SIPconnect component reduces the time required to install and implement the combined unified communications solution, according to Cbeyond executives. The Cisco SBSC is powered by Cisco’s Unified Communications 500 Series, a box that combines voice, data, video, security, and more.

To support the package, Cbeyond provides each VAR a channel manager to help with regular training, obtaining leads and tracking leads, said Rob Consolazio, Cbeyond’s vice president and general manager of channel development. “The channel manager even goes out on sales calls,” said Consolazio. “We see the channel manager as an extension of the VAR’s sales and marketing team.”

Cbeyond does a great job of providing leads and commissions, said Fred Rush, president of Rush Technologies, a Dallas-based VAR and Cbeyond channel partner for five years. “More than anything, Cbeyond’s combination of telephone and internet services gives us a great platform for our services,” said Rush, whose firm specializes in network and computer support. “Their technology makes us look great in the eyes of our customers.”

Consolazio added that Cbeyond’s channel program also offers an online portal where VARs can access marketing materials for co-branding activities. Cbeyond delivers integrated packages of communications and IT services to more than 35,000 small businesses throughout the United States. The company offers more than 30 productivity-enhancing applications. It manages its services over a private, 100-percent VoIP facilities-based network. Currently, Cbeyond has about 3,000 channel partners in nine markets, a number it seeks to expand through Tech Data.

“We don’t have a fixed target of resellers we hope to recruit through the Tech Data relationship, but we look forward to having resellers nationwide,” said Consolazio. Participating channel partners will benefit from Tech Data and Cbeyond's combined marketing initiatives and local channel support, he added.  Cbeyond's success-based compensation plans for VARs can double the value of a phone system sale when a channel partner integrates the Cisco SBCS product with Cbeyond BeyondVoice and the SIPconnect service, he said.

Tech Data's Bartlett said channel partners will receive solutions training and product configuration tools from Cbeyond and Tech Data, including Cisco Select Certified Partner Training through the distributor's TDEducation technical training and certification services team.

Tech Data has become very active in the voice space.  It recently struck deals with telecom service providers Telovations and XO Communications for telephony products and IP communications services that VARs can deliver onsite or with hosted voice and data connectivity to SMBs. Those services consist of Cbeyond’s bundle, Telovations’ Innovate for Business Service and IP Phone Pack, and XO’s SIP Service.

The Telovations solution enables resellers to offer a complete managed voice solution on an all-IP Cisco-powered network. XO’s SIP Service delivers converged voice and data services to businesses with IP-PBX systems, suitable for resellers deploying Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager Express.

TAGS: Cisco,unified communications,voice,VoIP,Tech Data

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