100 solution providers support one-stop shop
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How does a solution provider know if a potential partner is looking out for its best interest?
For starters, it's a good sign if the prospect's business plan has little chance of taking off without the channel. Take Cervalis. The company offers a seemingly endless menu of managed services focused on security, networking, applications and storage, yet those services don't comprise an end-to-end solution for customers.
Cervalis' Zack Margolis said marketing and deployment are joint efforts.
In areas such as disaster recovery, this becomes especially clear. Although Cervalis' new Hot Stand-by Site mirrors a customer's data and applications at its own facility in the event of an outage, the processes of assessing a customer's environment, developing a business continuity plan and designing the environments for the Hot Stand-by Sites are outside the realm of the company's core offerings.
Hence the need for Cary, N.C.-based Strategic Technologies, a solution provider that develops business-continuity plans for application environments. Cervalis also relies on its partner to fulfill customer orders for Sun Microsystems and Oracle products, and recently cinched a deal with Health Management On-line by bringing in Strategic Technologies to test the scalability of the customer's Java/Oracle-based applications.
Cervalis comes across to customers as a one-stop shop, with the help of 100 solution provider partners, said Zack Margolis, vice president of marketing and business development at the Stamford-based company.
"We work very closely with partners for us to become one body for the customer," Margolis said. "We train each other, we jointly market, we jointly sell, and we jointly deploy."
Now Cervalis is putting its partners in front of existing customers to tout solution providers' ancillary offerings. And partners, in turn, are showing off Cervalis' capabilities to their customers.
Joe Ciccarelli, senior account executive at Rochester, N.Y.-based PaeTec Communications, an integrator of voice and data services, said he was impressed with Cervalis' attention to the channel and its efficiency in communicating with potential partners.
Ciccarelli and other PaeTec executives first met Mike Boccardi, president and COO of Cervalis, while attending a governor's luncheon in New York. "We clicked," Ciccarelli said. "They were targeting fairly new companies, like we were, and they were going after the same size customers with services that complement our own."
Today, PaeTec and Cervalis are close to wrapping up three or four new accounts, Ciccarelli said. In some cases, Cervalis found that the customer needed more bandwidth and pointed that customer to PaeTec. In others, Cervalis informed the customer that PaeTec had a lower-cost telco offering than the one they were using, Ciccarelli said.
"When we toured [Cervalis' New York data center facility, we knew they were real players," he said. "We were impressed by the design of the facility and the security around it,and by the excitement everyone showed for the product they had to offer."
Cervalis' partners range from security experts and application developers to systems integrators specializing in vertical markets. It is seeking new partners to participate in its channel program. Referral partners receive up to 10 percent of the monthly recurring hosting/management fee; reseller partners incorporate Cervalis' services into their own offerings to receive product discounts; and elite strategic partners are extensions of Cervalis' own business and receive full customer support.