Yes, it’s Friday. And yes, CRN may get a little loose later today.
But we were not at all addled when we decided to makes this story about how Rainbows and ALE lead to partner heaven.
The ALE is Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and “Rainbow” is the company’s unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) cloud.
ALE is not alone in offering UCaaS.
But as explained to CRN yesterday by Gregoire Thomas, the company’s APAC head of communications business engines, Rainbow is an extensible platform and ALE has invested to build vertical applications that run on it. ALE has developed some itself and also built an ISV community to do likewise.
The company did so because it recognizes that hardly anybody buys just voice these days. Instead they buy UC to improve business processes. Building apps that apply UCaaS to business problems is seen as a winner and also a way to kickstart upgrade engines.
Thomas said those for whom voice is an unloved function see it as a cost to bear. As an example he mentioned a forthcoming solution for the hotel industry, which thanks to the advent of mobile phones has lost a once-lucrative revenue stream generated by shamelessly overcharging guests for in-room calls. Hotels therefore keep their PABXs alive, but resent every cent required to do so.
ALE’s planned product will offer optional softphones on hotel guests' smartphones, mobilising their in-room extensions and giving hotels a chance to offer a premium and hopefully-lucrative service.
Partners that devise or implement such solutions, he explained, get to go to partner heaven by moving from commodity sales to engagements that solve customer problems and involve ongoing licensing and services revenue streams
Better still, Thomas said buyers stop objecting to price when they see value-adding applications, so he hopes ALE’s channel skills up to start developing apps for Rainbow.
But if partners aren’t ready to do so, ALE encourages partnering-with-partners: Thomas said ALE has made its own applications available to partners and will connect developers to partners so both can satisfy customers together (and perhaps grow to become Unicorns).
And all of this could happen in a "Rainbow Bubble" - the name for ALE's chat app!