Aimed at breaking down barriers between the IT and telco channels, the new partnership enables users to price and order broadband, networking, and voice offerings through the same self-serve interface they use to procure hosted email, collaboration, and other Software-as-a-Service solutions. The end result, CloudPlus asserts, is an easy way for channel pros focused exclusively on IT services to add a rich new stream of telco-related revenues to their top line.
“The lion’s share of the MSP community is not taking part of any [telco] commission at all,” observes CloudPlus CEO Tony Francisco. “This is going to be new money for them, and it’s going to be very well appreciated.”
The same goes for telco partners, he continues, who can now augment their existing product roster with new cloud-based IT offerings that will produce incremental earnings while generating increased demand for bandwidth services.
To make entering unfamiliar markets easier for IT and telco partners alike, CloudPlus is also rolling out a wide range of pre-packaged marketing resources, including customizable banner ads and automated tools for generating brochures, proposals, and SLAs.
“We’re not just adding services to portfolios, we’re enabling those portfolios,” notes CloudPlus principal and CMO Brittani Von Roden. “We’re actually giving them the tools and the content they need to go out and make some money, some real money, on this stuff, which is a huge, huge differentiator.”
The company also offers help desk support and optional assistance with billing and other operational processes. Like the cloud and now telco solutions available through the CloudPlus provisioning interface, Francisco notes, all of those services are delivered on a white-label basis.
“CloudPlus staff can pick up the phone and answer the phone as the partner, and we can even invoice the customer as the partner, thereby making the partner do absolutely nothing other than collect the revenue,” he says.
Today’s announcement follows roughly eight months of backend integration between the CloudPlus platform and GeoQuote, Telarus’s self-serve ordering infrastructure, as well as sometimes difficult negotiations over commission structures and other agreement terms. The initial decision to partner together, by contrast, came together within minutes of the first meeting between the two companies at a Telarus conference.
“We met them the first evening at this event, and we were white-boarding the entire solution the next day,” Von Roden says. “It was really refreshing for us to really go full throttle with Telarus once we explained the business model and what we’re trying to do within the next couple of years.”
According to Francisco, similarities between how the two companies work with partners and go to market helped accelerate their decision to become strategic allies.
“The lowest common denominator between our companies is that we both follow a channel-only strategy,” he says. Telarus also shares a commitment to self-serve provisioning with CloudPlus, he adds, and thanks to GeoQuote has the tools to bring that vision to life.
Only 11 Telarus services, mostly in the areas of high-speed internet access and networking, are currently available through the Cloud Plus interface. Over time though, Francisco says, the two companies will add a broader array of Telarus products.
The CloudPlus-Telarus partnership arrives amid widespread predictions by industry experts that the IT and telco channels are fated to converge as SMBs looking to simplify their vendor relationships take their business to providers capable of providing one-stop technology shopping. For both IT and telco partners, however, participating in that convergence is often easier said than done.
“An MSP doesn’t know how to sell bandwidth and an agent coming in doesn’t know how to sell cloud services,” observes Von Roden. Together, she says, CloudPlus and Telarus are breaking down such obstacles.
Though Telarus is the only telco provider CloudPlus is partnering with at present, Von Roden wouldn’t rule out the possibility of alliances with additional distributors in the future. She also, however, asserted that few firms are as well positioned as Telarus to deliver click-to-provision services.
“In terms of capability, I don’t think anybody really competes with these guys right now,” she says.