The channel is often considered a vehicle for individual vendors and wholesalers to reach a much bigger customer base than they could by just using their own resources, with the benefits designed to be mutual.
We don’t as often, however, see managed service providers, resellers and system integrators partner with each other to achieve the same thing.
But Microsoft partners OBT and Cloud Made Simple have done just that, collaborating to expand the channel for OBT’s own Skype for Business solution and win new customers for both partners.
After getting questions from his customers about new telephony services, Melbourne consultancy Cloud Made Simple’s managing director Gavin Keane went looking for a potential solution partner and discovered OBT’s white-labelled Hosted Skype for Business, a telco-agnostic solution with simplified customer billing.
Sydney-based OBT describes the solution as combining all business communications into a single tool, so that customers’ teams, clients and partner can collaborate across any workplace via instant messages, voice and video conferencing through the one interface. The solution integrates with Office 365.
“We saw a demand for Skype for Business telephony and we thought it would be great for SMBs to integrate Office 365 with a telco component but we didn’t have those skills ourselves,” Keane said. “From a high-level perspective, the great thing about OBT is they provided the solution to us and allowed us to present it as our product.”
The two partners worked together behind the scenes to identify and sign up eight new end-customers for Cloud Made Simple. The customers were then free to pick their underlying network access telco.
With CMS customers taking OBT’s intellectual property to new customers, the partners took stock of the four-way win they were achieving. First of all, end-customers were gaining enterprise voice capability on their native Skype for Business platform. Secondly, Cloud Made Simple could now bill customers for previously unavailable hosted telephony features.
Thirdly, OBT expanded the end-user count of its own unified communications IP. The fourth winner is vendor partner Microsoft, who of course gains new customers on its Skype platform.
The partners have estimated their first batch of eight customers have saved 26 percent each on their telephony services, based on on a typical monthly comparison of former versus current technology.
“What supported our unique partnering model was our shared agenda,” OBT founder and managing director Shane Muller said. “From our first meeting with CMS, both our teams put this question genuinely front and centre, ‘How do we best serve the customer?’.
“A shared passion for our mutual customers’ success superseded occasional nuances in the partner engagement.”
Cloud Made SImple’s Keane said a close cultural fit between the partners has set his business on the path to growth, by now being able to say yes to telephony implementations he previously had to turn away.
“Collaborating with OBT was terrific from a strategic point of view; they helped me follow a certain strategy, and they have a really good solution. So it reinforced for me how delivering customer success through a partner-to-partner engagement is all about how the two of you fit that solution to your customer’s needs,” he said.
OBT and Cloud Made Simple are finalists in the 'Working Together' category in the 2019 CRN Impact Awards. For a list of all finalists and further details on the awards, please head to the CRN Impact Awards hub. The awards take place during the CRN Pipeline conference. You can get more information and purchase tickets here.