In addition to its managed services and support that Navisite wraps around Office 365, the cloud provider also bundles Proofpoint cybersecurity software for email security and continuity into the offering, providing another layer of value that partners can offer their customers. Navisite handles the billing for the entire solution on behalf of partners.
Avant was one of Navisite's first distribution partners and the two teamed up about six years ago. Avant has been Navisite's top partner for the past five years, giving the Andover, Mass.-based provider access to greater scale and a distribution channel of thousands of Avant partners.
Now, Avant and its partners are representing Navisite's product set as well as the provider does for itself, Sandman said. "There's no way would could have achieved the scale and success that we have had without our channel partners, and Avant has been a leader in that because of their cloud focus," he said.
By working through a managed service provider like Navisite, not only does the channel have access to a significant sales opportunity that was once hard to reach, but partners are also able to bring a product to the table that their customers want and are already buying, Kieninger said.
"Partners don't have to pass on the opportunity anymore, and we think this is the best way that customers can get [Office 365] – from their trusted advisor," he said.
Avant has trained or educated at least 70 percent of its agent partner community on the Navisite relationship and the Office 365 opportunity since the start of the partnership nearly two years ago, Kieninger said. Of that percentage, Avant has an active funnel of 50 to 60 percent of those partners and about 35 percent doing transactions today. That percentage, according to Kieninger, is very high for a new product.
That's because Office 365 is a household name and an easy set of tools that customers are already accustomed to using to get work done. The managed services wrapped around Office 365 by way of the Navisite relationship are also a unique and necessary value-add for the channel, Kieninger said.
"Everyone knows what [Office 365] is and partners don’t have to be super technical to talk about it, so we have a lot of sellers that are comfortable bringing it up to customers," he said.
The relationship between Microsoft, Navisite, and Avant is translating into "healthy" monthly recurring commissions for solution providers. Best of all, the offering is low in overhead and high in value for partners while Navisite handles all backend support, Kieninger said.