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Hybrid Cloud Hosting Provider OnRamp Accelerates Channel Push With Eye On New Partners

Gina Narcisi

Hybrid cloud hosting provider OnRamp, which launched its partner program two-plus years ago, is revving up its channel focus and actively recruiting partners across the board, including MSPs, VARs, master agents and sub-agents.

"We are really focused on growing based on the channel. That's our play and our focus over the next few years," Jean Carlos Carrasquel, senior director of OnRamp's channel partner program, told CRN in an interview at the XChange Solution Provider conference, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company.

[Related: XChange: Positive Company Culture A Revenue Driver For Solution Provider Organizations ]

OnRamp offers managed hosting, co-location and disaster recovery services. The Austin, Texas-based company also offers HIPAA- and PCI-compliant hosting out of its auditable data center -- two of which are located in Austin and one in Raleigh, N.C. However, OnRamp's expertise stops at the operating system layer, Carrasquel said.

"We are not experts on everything when it comes to servicing an end customer, so for us to engage and work with partners it's the best of both worlds because it's reciprocal," he said.

Innovative Communication Systems, an MSP and OnRamp partner for about a year, is enjoying its close relationship with the company, something it said it wouldn't get from a partnership with a hyper-scale cloud provider.

"I like being able to directly dial [OnrRmp reps] because of that one-one-one relationship. When you have a provider that can really help you build your network and your book of business, that's really important. Amazon isn't going to come to me and say, 'Let's shoot out an email marketing campaign together,' so that relationship really outweighs everything else for us," said Anna Gross, head of strategic marketing development for ICS.

San Antonio-based ICS specializes in VoIP and managed IT support and works largely with small- to midsize-business customers. About 25 percent of ICS' revenue today comes from cloud-based solutions and that number is growing as on-premise-based IT ages, Gross said.

"As our customers' IT equipment ages, or as it becomes obsolete and they are looking to make that change to move [to the cloud], we are there to help them," she said.

For its part, OnRamp has worked with a wide range of channel partners – VARs, MSPs, and telecom agents alike. Today, the company is working on developing master agent relationships to reach more agent partners, Carrasquel said.

OnRamp also wants to help VARs make the transition from selling hardware to including cloud in their portfolios, he said.


"It's a very difficult transition for [VARs] to make because they have not yet figured out how to do business in a monthly recurring world," he said. "But, we do have quite a few VARs we work with today who are working on that solutions portion of their business."

To recruit more partners quickly in new areas, OnRamp recently added channel managers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. OnRamp also is expanding its business in Latin America, Carrasquel said.

Signing new partners will be the easy part, Carrasquel said, but that's by no means where the relationship ends.

"We want to make sure we also enable those partners so they can be more effective and make more money selling cloud," he said. "We want to make sure they can add value to our services and make more revenue out of it."

Gina Narcisi

Gina Narcisi is a senior editor covering the networking and telecom markets for CRN.com. Prior to joining CRN, she covered the networking, unified communications and cloud space for TechTarget. She can be reached at gnarcisi@thechannelcompany.com.

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