RingCentral Seeking 'Thousands' Of New Partners For UCaaS Channel Charge; Forms Alliance With Westcon

RingCentral is seeking to onboard thousands of new channel partners as it makes one of its most significant channel pushes in its 16-year history, with a revamped partner program set to launch and a new distribution partnership with Westcon-Comstor.

"This is definitely a double-down year for us in the channel," said Ryan Azus, senior vice president of worldwide sales for RingCentral, in an interview with CRN. "We have the right product, the right service, the right partners and the right market happening now."

Azus said his cloud-based unified communications and collaboration company is looking to onboard "hundreds to thousands" of new channel partners, as the market is ripe for expansion through a new channel charge in order to capitalize on the growing Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) market.

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The UCaaS market continues to grow at an annual rate of 16 percent, with revenues from the smaller UCaaS business suite segment -- including RingCentral -- growing far more rapidly than standalone applications from the likes of Cisco, Citrix and Microsoft, according to a recent Synergy Research Group report.

Synergy names San Mateo, Calif.-based RingCentral as one of the few market leaders in the UCaaS business suite that are growing at more than 20 percent annually. Annual revenues from UCaaS are currently at $4 billion.

RingCentral is launching a revamped partner program in the upcoming months that will have "improved partner tiering," with added incentives for top-tier partners, according to Azus.

"The basic idea is a three-tier program, with a lot of focus on the top tier. We're seeing more and more partners and resellers getting very focused on the cloud-hosted UCaaS and making greater investments," he said.

Partners will also have access to a new partner portal focusing on making it simpler for solution providers and customers to do business.

"We've made a significant investment and are just in the beginning of implementation of a partner portal," said Azus. "The other part is really on the support and resource we put behind partners -- making sure that they have the right level [of] support from RingCentral and how we focus on them with our field team to make sure they're successful."

On Thursday, it was revealed that Westcon, Tarrytown, N.Y., will distribute RingCentral's cloud communications solutions through its reseller network in the U.S.

"For RingCentral, it helps us having distribution through global reach, being able to work through Westcon to partners," said Azus. "Multinational companies want to be serviced on one platform."

Via Barat Dickman, vice president and general manager of Westcon-Comstor's unified communications and collaboration practice, said the addition of RingCentral to its product offerings gives partners a broader range of business communications to empower today's mobile enterprise.

"These cloud-based solutions allow our partners to design always-on, always-connected solutions that help their customers share information more quickly, which improves productivity, delivers greater insight into business operations and helps them make smarter, real-time business decisions," said Dickman, in an email to CRN. "We also offer certification paths for solution providers to expand their product and solution knowledge and grow opportunities for their businesses as well as RingCentral's."

In June, RingCentral acquired Glip Inc., a cloud messaging and collaboration company, for an undisclosed amount. Azus said Glip is making RingCentral even more differentiated in the market.

"What differentiates us is multimode: We allow voice, video, texting, faxing, all on one platform -- that's pretty unique. It's also your Web-conferencing [tool], so you can have your video to replace your [Cisco] WebEx or a Citrix or something like that," said Azus. "Through our recent acquisition of Glip, it's also instant messaging and collaboration."

RingCentral became a publically traded company in September 2013. The company starting selling its common stock at a price of $13 per share, according to a release. Last month, shares reached an all-time high of $24.50 per share, with its market cap also hit a record of $1.8 billion.