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Siemens has cemented relationships with major U.S.-based solution providers like Arrow S3 -- the Arrow unit that now houses the former channel businesses of both Shared Technologies and Cross Telecom, a top Avaya VAR Arrow bought last year -- and Black Box Network Services, the Pittsburgh-based network infrastructure and communications integration giant, to help with distribution. But it's most important relationship for SMB is Ingram Micro, with whom the company signed a distribution agreement in last fall.
Kehoe and Howard said Siemens had chosen Ingram for both its depth and expertise, but also that Ingram's many rivals are tightly tied to many of Siemens' major UC competitors, including Avaya, which cut Ingram as a U.S. distributor following its integration of Nortel's former enterprise unit.
Ingram Micro is now selling and supporting Siemens Enterprise Communications' OpenScape Cloud Service via its Cloud marketplace, initially to U.S. channel partners and soon in Canada.That offering, which Siemens launched a year ago, brings UC capabilities as a service to customers in the range of $5 to $35 per user per month, with many different add-ons and "booster packs" available.
Renee Bergeron, vice president, managed services and cloud computing, Ingram Micro North America, told CRN the Siemens relationship was an important one for the distributor.
"OpenScape has been a winning solution in large enterprises, and by virtue of offering it through the cloud, they can bring it to the SMB at a cost-effective price," Bergeron told CRN. "We looked at the Siemens solution [last summer] and this was a solution that was built on a sound enterprise architecture that had implemented multi-tenancy correctly and could scale fluidly for an SMB customer."
The Siemens offering is one of 44 solutions by 26 different manufacturers in Ingram's Cloud Services portfolio. Ingram VARs can sell the solution as a service to SMBs in one of several different packages, which can be adjusted to add different features as necessary. Bergeron said OpenScape presented a compelling alternative to vendors like Avaya and Cisco, whose best-known UC solutions are largely on premise.