Cloud and SaaS aggregator intY has signed an agreement with Microsoft enabling it to resell Office 365 through a two tier channel model for the first time.
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The firm is one of just five worldwide – and the only one in the UK – that Microsoft has allowed to make Office 365 available through a recurring revenue resale model to partners.
This means that through the company’s Cascade aggregation platform, selected intY partners will now be able to set their own price, take control of margins, and bundle other complementary products and value-add services functionality with Office 365, and most importantly bill their customers directly.
Previously Office 365 had only been available direct from Microsoft, or through a referral and syndication model, explained intY CEO Chris Baldock, which had caused problems for partners, particularly those reselling other Microsoft services such as SharePoint or Lync.
“Lots of partners didn’t want to hand control of their invoicing and billing to Microsoft. Some lost customers over it,” he said.
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"The channel has been crying out for this. From a pricing perspective and particularly when combined with other Cascade services, Office 365 is a very compelling offering, so we are really excited about this.”
In spite of the problems the old Office 365 sales model had caused some partners, Baldock rejected the idea that Microsoft had acted against its partners’ interests, saying that actually, it was a very sensible move.
“Over the past few years as Microsoft has migrated into cloud services it has done it with great agility,” he said. “It’s a bit like stopping an ocean liner, you can’t go too fast, and at each point Microsoft has rolled out the next stage it has rolled it out one step at a time.
“The early adopter phase of Office 365 is now over – the techies have recognised the value of the proposition and have migrated, as we move into the middle adopter market customers now need a channel partner to assist, so my view is that the market is now there – these guys need the channel and the channel needs to be in a position to do this,” added Baldock.
Making it available through the intY Cascade platform was a logical step, he claimed, because its co-operative buying model meant the firm could get partners access to Office 365 at a fair price point.