Cloud management vendor SkyKick Inc., of Seattle, Wash., has added two new ways to access its hosted migration, backup, and administration solutions for Microsoft Office 365.
The first is a series of syndicated applications that channel pros can embed directly within their website. In the past, partners who wished to utilize SkyKick’s cloud management platform had to log into an online portal and conduct the heavily automated point-and-click configuration process on behalf of their end users. The new syndicated applications give them the additional option of offering SkyKick services on a self-serve basis through their company storefront instead.
The end results for partners, notes SkyKick co-CEO Evan Richman, are lower overhead and new opportunities to recruit Office 365 clients through scalable online marketing campaigns that drive sales prospects to customized, white-labeled signup pages.
“In many cases this will serve as lead generation and a way to engage with net new customers,” he says, noting that it will also position channel pros to serve larger SMBs with in-house IT personnel, as well as business owners who prefer to open Software-as-a-Service accounts on their own.
“There’s a segment of the market, we’ve noticed, [who] are do-it-yourselfers,” says SkyKick co-CEO Todd Schwartz.
Registering for SkyKick’s email migration service takes little more than an email address and password and requires almost no technical knowledge, Schwartz continues, so even unskilled end users can typically complete the process unassisted. Partners remain in control throughout, he adds, because SkyKick’s portal shows them who is using their syndicated applications and how much progress they’ve made toward creating an account. Partners must approve new accounts before they go live, allowing them to confirm that customers haven’t made setup mistakes that could prevent Office 365 services from functioning properly.
Adding a syndicated application to a website is a simple process too, Schwartz adds, as partners need only insert 10 lines of code in their existing HTML.
“It’s not weeks and weeks of development,” he says. “It’s literally drop it on there and you can be up and running in less than an hour.”
As with all of SkyKick’s offerings, the new syndicated apps are free to use for both channel pros and their customers. Partners make a one-time, consumption-based payment after a client begins using a service, and can add as much margin to that fee as they choose.
Also newly available today are APIs that enable third-party developers to add SkyKick functionality to their own applications.
“This is going to be for a partner that wants to really customize the look and feel,” Schwartz says, or to integrate SkyKick’s solutions with specialized invoicing or line-of-business systems. Likely adopters include cloud service providers and telecommunication hosters that want to build SkyKick services into an existing online signup experience rather than present more than one, as well as large organizations creating custom-tailored mass email migration processes. SkyKick expects other, less predictable, use cases to emerge as well.
“We are curious to put it out there and see what folks do with it,” Richman says. “We think that the scenarios are limitless.” SkyKick, in fact, already uses the APIs, which are compatible with eight popular programming languages, to make its services available through online cloud marketplaces operated by Ingram Micro, SYNNEX, and ALSO, a European distributor.
Today’s announcements are the latest step in the evolution of SkyKick’s solution portfolio, which was limited to migration services when it debuted in 2013 but has included backup and management components as well since last year. Like those offerings, the new ones introduced today were heavily influenced by partner input.
“That’s why we think the partners are going to get really excited about this,” Schwartz says. “They’ve been asking for it.”
SkyKick’s APIs are available immediately and its syndicated applications will reach general availability next month in conjunction with Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.