The cloud communication company’s reseller model adds to a dealer’s diversification strategy.
According to Vantage Research, the UCaaS (unified communications-as-a-service) market is growing at a compound aggregate growth rate of 14.5%. Vantage expects this market to grow from $80 billion in 2023 to $240 billion in 2028. Those numbers reveal a sizable opportunity for office technology dealers.
“We’re talking about moving into a market that’s growing phenomenally and driven by two major market trends,” observed Noel O’Dwyer, strategic alliances manager for Intermedia. “One is the shift to hybrid work and the need for people to continue communicating in an integrated fashion, and the other is the cloud and cloud infrastructure.”
An Integrated Platform
With Intermedia’s UCaaS solution, businesses can provide hybrid employees with a desktop application on an integrated platform for phone calls, video conferencing, and chat. It also provides secure file sharing and integration with other applications such as email. “From this headset, I can do everything I need to manage my business from home,” said O’Dwyer during a video conference call (using Intermedia’s Anymeeting videoconferencing app). “Hybrid is not going away, and most people are happy working in a hybrid environment if they have the tools to allow them to be productive”
The trend in the software solutions arena is moving infrastructure to the cloud. “Dealers have been pushed into the cloud from their legacy solutions, so it’s a natural fit for us to offer them that,” said O’Dwyer. “We are not introducing two new concepts—the cloud and unified communications. Copier dealers are already having conversations about the cloud and understand that they need to be there and have multitenancy and all the things associated with a service in the cloud.”
According to O’Dwyer, there are about 430 million phone users, and just over a hundred million have transitioned to the cloud. “Everybody will transition their phone communications to the cloud within the next five to 10 years,” he predicted. “That’s a major growth opportunity for dealers.”
An On-Ramp to IT
Diversification is an ongoing theme in the office technology and services dealer community, and Intermedia’s UCaaS solution fits squarely in the diversification wheelhouse.
“If you look at an office, every desk has a phone or a need to communicate,” said O’Dwyer. “The message I’ve been taking to the dealer community is that UCaaS is an on-ramp to IT. And the message dealers have been hearing is that managed IT is not an either/or; managed IT, if you execute it properly, can help you grow your copier business.”
One of the advantages that Intermedia has when speaks to dealers about their solution is that many dealers understand phone systems because they already sell them. However, Intermedia’s offering is more than a phone system. “It’s integrated communications,” emphasized O’Dwyer.
To date, most dealers selling phone systems do so under an agent-type model. They identify an opportunity within an organization, hand that business over to a third-party, and receive a referral fee. There’s no risk to the dealer and a modest reward. That model is also available through Intermedia. However, because customer ownership is critical to the copier dealer channel, Intermedia differentiates itself with a reseller model where dealers can white label the solution.
One of the biggest dealers in the country has embraced Intermedia’s reseller model, allowing them to own the customer and enjoy monthly recurring revenue (MMR), something that a dealer might not receive under the agent model. “We bring them MRR and top-level revenue,” said O’Dwyer. “In an agent model, you don’t see top-level revenue. You get a referral fee because the vendor invoices the customer.”
Under Intermedia’s reseller model, the reseller invoices the customer and pays Intermedia based on a predetermined discount level. “They can choose to sell it for whatever they want,” said O’Dwyer. “The value we bring is the infrastructure for partner support, including onboarding and award-winning support. Intermedia also provides a full-service partner portal. We take all the pain away.”
He added, “Even though the dealer owns it, our infrastructure supports them in training, onboarding, and calculating the taxes. With communications, and voice in particular, that is a nightmare because the tax rules for communications are different in every state and even in different towns. We pay the taxes and deal with the local communities to pay the taxes. Nobody else does that in a reseller model.”
Because Intermedia does most of the heavy lifting, its UCaaS solution is an option for virtually any size dealer. They’ll even go on sales calls or participate in conference calls to help the dealer sell it.
“Even though they have the financial benefit of having a reseller program, we’ll go in and do the sale with them if necessary,” said O’Dwyer. “We’ll do all the hard work until they’re up and running, and then let them do it themselves. We have dealerships with five and six people in the company, and they’ll take us on as an agent model. Eventually, we’ll let them leave the nest, own the customer, and make more money.”
The Perfect UCaaS Partner
One of Intermedia’s dealer partners is Capital Business Systems in Fort Collins, Colorado. “It’s the fastest growing business for us,” reported Jim Kreikemeier, president of Capital. This solution is included in Capital Business Systems’ managed IT business and has been a key growth driver, enabling the IT division to grow 40% in 2021 and 60% last year.
“Intermedia is a good partner and they have hired people who understand the imaging dealer,” said Kreikemeier. “We have a rep who works out of Denver, and he understands how we sell and what we do.”
Capital Business Systems’ smallest customer is an insurance company with one employee. Its largest is a school district with 250 employees. “We think it can scale up, and we’ve gone after some opportunities that were larger than that,” said Kreikemeier.
The sweet spot for Capital Business Systems with this solution is organizations with 10 to 50 users. Key vertical opportunities can be found in school systems, nonprofits, law firms, banking, and any professional service organization heavily relying on voice communications.
Having a partner that understands the business, handles the complex tax issues, and is available to assist its sales team sell the solution has been a huge asset. “If you don’t have the right partner, it doesn’t matter,” said Kreikemeier. “You need somebody who has the right programs, the right approach to the market, and the right technologies.” For Capital Business Systems, that partner has been Intermedia.
UCaaS is something different for dealers, but because of the phone systems component, it’s familiar too. Not only is UCaaS a door opener, but it also provides a dealer something new to offer legacy copier customers and new prospects. Better yet, the UCaaS solution and the copiers can be included on one invoice. “That makes it much easier to do business with your customers,” said Intermedia’s O’Dwyer.
What it all comes down to is that Intermedia makes it easy for dealers to get into UCaaS. “It’s almost like we give them the car, pay for the gas, and pay them mileage,” concluded O’Dwyer.
VoIP vs. UCaaS
There’s an excellent article on the Intermedia website that describes the difference between VoIP and UCaaS. To summarize, VoIP is a digital telephone service that uses the internet to deliver communications versus telephone lines. VoIP features include voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, auto-attendants, call holds, call logs, call monitoring, call recording, and conference call lines.
UCaaS is an interconnected system of communication and collaboration tools in the cloud. In addition to voice, it provides video conferencing, chat, and file backup and sharing in a central platform. UCaaS provides users with a more streamlined experience via a single user interface across all devices, which enables users to communicate in multiple formats. Simply put, UCaaS is an upgraded version of VoIP that provides greater functionality.
To become a subscriber, visit https://thecannatareport.com/register or contact email@example.com directly. Bulk subscription rates are also available upon request and included in our media kit.