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Cobweb Solutions has launched a new channel programme, aimed at the growing number of authorised 1-Tier Microsoft Cloud Solution Providers.
The CSP Enablement programme is geared towards Microsoft's new Tier-1 CSPs that might not necessarily have the technology or resources needed to manage their new customer base. Cobweb is essentially taking all of its investments in systems, people and processes over the years and packaging it up as-a-service for the newer kids on the block.
Microsoft’s CSP programme comes in two flavours – 1-Tier, which enables partners to resell Microsoft’s cloud services directly to end customers; and the much less common Tier-2, which allows partners to sell indirectly to resellers, providing much of the backend infrastructure such as automation and billing themselves. The folks at Redmond appear to be aggressively expanding their Tier-1 partner base, and Cobweb believes it has identified a clear gap in the market - as an enabler.
“The reseller brings their own CSP authorisation and we integrate that authorisation with our automation systems,” explained Julian Dyer, CTO of Cobweb. “It has a very simple pricing structure and it’s far simpler to get started quickly, rather than doing it yourself or using third party software.”
Jeremy Drew, COO, added: “With this programme, we can offer the benefits of our experience to new 1-Tier CSP partners and allow them to run and operate their cloud business through our automation platform.”
“In essence 2-Tier gives us back control over our entire customer base, 1-Tier for direct customers and 2-Tier for indirect (Partners) so a balanced portfolio for all. We are using the opportunity of 2-Tier to launch and ignite our Channel Operation and the two programs launched at Future Decoded are only the start.”
The secret sauce in Cobweb’s offering is its tight integration with the Odin service automation platform. It allows the CSP to sell and deliver its growing number cloud services from one central platform. Cobweb was the first CSP to fully integrate and transact a customer through Odin and since then, has been bolstering its portfolio of solutions on offer.
Cobweb is one of the original Hosted Exchange providers, having been around since 1996. The Hampshire-based reseller was on top of the hosted communications world, until Microsoft decided it would be a good idea to launch its all-singing, all dancing cloud package - Office 365. Since then, Cobweb has had to take a good look in the mirror and re-evaluate its value add. CSP Enablement essentially takes all of Cobweb’s hard work over the years and subleases it out to those looking to make a cloud play. If the management team is right about the potential size of the CSP market, the new Cloud Enablement programme could mark a new and significant chapter in Cobweb’s story.
“We recognise that 1-Tier Partners are likely to promote only the Microsoft options, so the CSP Enablement programme helps them to deliver against their customers’ requirements and expectations,” said Drew. "We don’t see an end to our direct business, but our focus will certainly be on developing our partners in the coming months.”
Of course, the Cobweb has to contend with the handful of dedicated two-tier distributors pushing the Microsoft Cloud solutions suite, but the firm believes that its ecosystem of solutions, combined with its relatively low price point, give it an edge over any similar services.