CRN Exclusive: Bigleaf Networks Sets Sights On MSP Partners, Launches Reseller Program

Bigleaf Networks knows that one size doesn't fit all. Different species of channel partners have different needs, and in an effort to reach more of them, Bigleaf is rolling out a reseller program for managed service providers, CRN learned exclusively.

Portland, Ore.-based Bigleaf offers networking services for the redundancy and optimization of Internet and cloud traffic. The company has always sold its products through indirect channels, with its existing channel program primarily consisting of telecommunications agents.

Recently, however, application and service providers and have been knocking on Bigleaf's door, said Jeff Burchett, vice president of sales and marketing and one of Bigleaf's founders.

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

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While MSPs were interested in Bigleaf's services, the business model didn't fit the way they were doing business with their customers. This new type of channel partner with businesses being being built around cloud and as-a-service offerings required a program focused on supporting services, rather than the broker focus that most telecom agents have, Burchett said.

"At the end of the day, telecom agent customers sign a Bigleaf contract and receive services from [Bigleaf]. In this MSP scenario, the MSP is buying our service and bundling it with other services they are providing their customers," he said. "Instead of offering a commission, we are discounting our services to MSPs."

The new MSP-focused reseller program helps support providers that are more intimately involved with their end customers from an IT consulting and support standpoint, Burchett said. The program will help MSPs offer a help-desk-like solution for customers built on Bigleaf's products.

"What we've found when dealing with these service providers is not only are they actively involved in the decision-making process for their customers, but they are involved from day two and beyond from a support standpoint. A lot of these providers are solely responsible for ensuring that a customer's technology environment operates the way the customer intended it to," he said.

The MSP program will allow partners to resell intelligent load-balancing across multiple Internet paths from different Internet service providers with Quality-of-Service capabilities to prioritize VoIP and other latency-sensitive traffic over commodity Internet. The product also includes IP failover capabilities and real-time intelligence on circuit latency, packet loss, jitter and throughput, according to Bigleaf.

"This MSP program matches MSPs from a technology and services standpoint, as well as a business model standpoint," Burchett said.

The program so far has four MSP partners. Matrix Networks was the first MSP partner Bigleaf worked with and it subsequently built its program around the experience, Burchett said. Convergence Networks, Portland Internetworks and Oregon Phone Systems are also part of the new program.

Similar to reseller programs that other vendors and service providers have in place, MSPs have to have a customer support organization to provide frontline support to the end customer to be considered for Bigleaf's reseller program.

The support aspect is the major differentiator between the two programs, Burchett said.

"If you're built as a support organization and are already actively supporting a number of applications in your customer's environment, that's one of the criteria we will look at to determine if a provider is a fit for our reseller program," he said.

Bigleaf is now offering online and in-person training to help MSPs sell and support its technology.

The new reseller program doesn't mean that Bigleaf is moving away from, or taking resources away from, its traditional partner program, Burchett said.

"Our telco agents have gotten us to where we are today, and they will continue to be key to our success," he said. "We just saw an opportunity to augment our channel strategy by focusing on a different market segment."