Cloud Application Services Company Launches Channel Initiative

While IndependenceIT has worked with some partners before now, the company is counting on the new Freedom Partner and Freedom Reseller initiatives to recruit more solution providers who are looking for ways to bring themselves and their customers into cloud computing.

“Partners and resellers have been asking for an option that will allow them to get their clients into the cloud without having to make the investment in the infrastructure, product development and support organizations,” said IndependenceIT CEO Tony Whitton, in a statement.

IndependenceIT offers a range of cloud services, including hosted Microsoft applications, data storage and backup services, and hosted e-mail. The entry-level Instant Freedom Desktop package includes Microsoft Office, QuickBooks financial management software, hosted e-mail accounts, data storage and other services. The more advanced Total Freedom Desktop package duplicates a customer’s IT environment using their own software licenses with customized applications and data.

The new programs allow partners to offer fee-based services that generate a recurring revenue stream, said Seth Bostock, the IndependenceIT business development director who is managing the channel effort.

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IndependenceIT is actually creating multiple programs. Authorized Partners sell the company’s services to customers, but customers contract directly with IndependenceIT and the vendor remains responsible for customer support. Authorized Partners receive a 20 percent commission and pay a $2,500 annual fee, although the fee is refunded if they reach a 100-seat minimum.

Authorized Resellers handle the contract with the customer and are responsible for tier-one support. They pay a $5,000 yearly fee that’s refunded if they meet a 250-seat minimum. IndependenceIT also is creating a program for solution providers that simply want to refer customers to the vendor.

“IndependenceIT has taken the legwork out of providing cloud services to our clients,” said Gene Marks, president of The Marks Group, a Philadelphia, Pa.-based solution provider, in a statement. “As a partner we’ve been able to offer our clients instant access to a robust group of proven cloud services, while developing a new recurring revenue stream.”

While IndependenceIT has largely sold its services on a direct basis until now, the company has sold through some solution providers who white label the services, Bostock said. With the new programs the company expects the channel to account for between 30 and 40 percent of sales with the balance split between direct and Web sales.