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Fonality over the last year did revamp its channel program substantially, including a completely redesigned partner portal. It also unveiled the Partner Plus program, which includes a tiered structure for partners and more resources for solution providers focused on VoIP, UC and contact center customers.
"I spent a lot of time with partners over the last few months and they're really begging us to get out of our own way," Scult said. "We typically target companies between 10 and 250 employees -- that's our sweet spot. The technology can scale beyond that but we just don't have the organization or relationships with the larger integrators."
Under Partner Plus, compensation and incentives increase the higher a partner is categorized -- Platinum, Certified, Authorized -- though all partners can sell hosted and hybrid-hosted Fonality services, according to John Young, Fonality's general manager of channel operations. Beyond the Partner Plus tiers, Fonality also has a program for telecom agent partners who can build residual revenue streams and receive referral commissions.
Darlene Doherty, owner of APEX Communications, an Andover, Mass.-based solution provider, signed on with Fonality about three years ago. Traditionally a telephony reseller, APEX had been looking to expand its options with VoIP, UC and communications infrastructure and, as a former Platinum 3Com partner, had watched 3Com implode and then be sold to HP in 2010.
"We looked around at other competitive products at the time," Doherty said of her first discussions with Fonality. "We were blown away and the price point was low, so we took a leap of faith. You go back to when VoIP was first getting started, that was an exciting time at 3Com back then. A lot of that same type of excitement is really evident in the Fonality platform, and it's easy to use."
Fonality is best suited to SMB customers, Doherty said, but also for customers north of 1,000 users, in which the users are heavily distributed with multiple branches needing connectivity options. Its first few Fonality installs were a challenge, Doherty said, but Fonality's team was strong on support from the get-go.
"One of our major customers, Honeywell, broke off a subdivision and I was in there up against Cisco and Avaya," Doherty said. "They took a leap of faith and said we've never heard of Fonality but we're willing to talk. They went with it."
Most of APEX's customers in the 50-to-150 user bracket are looking at hybrid-hosted models for UC deployment -- what Doherty described as "one server, and most everything else in the cloud."
Doherty met with Scult early into his appointment, she said.
"He has made himself available, and you don't get that everywhere. He's a breath of fresh air, and he clearly sees value in having the channel in partnership," she said. "We're working with them on a way for us to share leads and do integration locally. I think there's a good opportunity for dialogue with partners."