CRN Exclusive: Bigleaf Expands Reach Into Channel With Help Of Intelisys, X4

Managed service provider Bigleaf Networks is expanding its reach into the channel by partnering with a couple of telecommunications master agents, allowing many solution providers and their customers to access much-needed VoIP and cloud performance optimization services, according to Bigleaf.

Bigleaf Networks offers a managed service that optimizes performance of VoIP services and cloud-based applications through intelligent load balancing across multiple Internet connections. Founded in 2012, Bigleaf sells its offering to customers exclusively through the channel.

The company currently has about 35 solution provider partners and is looking for more, according to Bigleaf's CEO, Joel Mulkey. The Portland, Ore.-based MSP has signed on as a supplier partner with master agents Intelisys and X4. The partnerships will allow each master agent's expansive network of sale partners to access Bigleaf's services, and Bigleaf will be able to reach thousands of solution providers and cloud providers they wouldn't have access to otherwise, Mulkey said.

"Our goal is to identify partners that are engaged in the ideal scenario that we fit into -- partners that have customers that have migrated to, or are migrating to, cloud services that their business depends on," he said.
[Related: Intelisys Channel Connect 2015: 5 Supplier Partner Moves That Made A Splash]
"We made a decision early on that we wanted to use the channel and we don't have a direct sales force," added John Hogan, Bigleaf's vice president of channel sales and business development. "If you're going to work with an indirect channel, you probably should be working with a master [agent]."

Both Intelisys and X4 have a strong focus on cloud, an important quality in a Bigleaf partner, according to Hogan. "I feel like we have good partners set up to help us do a lot of damage in the next few months," he said.

According to Mulkey, Bigleaf sought to improve access to cloud services, VoIP, and virtual desktops for SMB and midmarket customers because access to those services was always over public Internet connections that are vulnerable to those customers’ performance challenges. "And the devices used to improve those connections are fairly outdated," he added.

Bigleaf's patent-pending service uses software-defined networking (SDN) technology on preconfigured routers over a distributed architecture. The two components -- a premise-based router at a customer's site and one instance in the cloud -- work together to provide load balancing across multiple Internet paths from different Internet service providers.

SDN technology powers the real-time Internet connection evaluation capability. This capability allows the service to identify which connection should be used for VoIP and cloud application traffic so that end users have the best possible experience, Mulkey said. The service also offers IP failover for VoIP and virtual desktop sessions.

"The end result is their VoIP quality is improved, their virtual desktop sessions are smooth and their SaaS applications are more responsive," he said.

End users and partners also have access to a Web-based portal that serves up performance metrics and information in real time on circuit latency, packet loss, jitter and throughput, according to Mulkey.

Bigleaf's performance-measurement technology translates into intelligent, real-time load balancing and dynamic QoS in an easy-to-deploy, plug-and-play infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) model, said Mike McKenney, vice president of supplier sales at Intelisys.

"Our sales partners can market this 'in demand' solution today to their installed base where customers have a very real and acute need for a better over the top solution," McKenney said.

Partners can wrap Bigleaf's service into other products they’re already selling, Mulkey said.

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"Agents are already selling Internet circuits to their customers,’ he said, calling Bigleaf’s service a ’perfect add-on’ to an Internet solution that can help an agent focus more on the cloud.

Solution providers incorporating Bigleaf's service as part of their Internet solutions can potentially widen the comfort zone of their customers who are evaluating cloud services, Hogan added.

"We are hopefully going to give the [partner] the opportunity to not only sell us, but to sell additional cloud services for months and years to come because their customers will have a stable platform to reach the cloud," he said.