CRN Exclusive: VoIP Provider Ooma Calls On The Channel With Brand-New Partner Program

VoIP provider Ooma got into business services three years ago. Now, the provider wants to leverage the power of the channel with the introduction of its first partner program.

The Ooma Office Partner Program, unveiled Monday, is targeted at IT consultants, systems integrators, managed service providers and VARs. These partners will be able to earn both monthly recurring residuals and hardware margin on Ooma Office, the provider's cloud-based phone system, Tim Sullivan, vice president of sales at Ooma, told CRN.

"We're coming out with a highly competitive program for a very well-known product that will be easy to sell and install to small-business clients," Sullivan said.

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Ooma Office combines a premise-based phone system with a cloud-based architecture that is an attractive offering for growing small businesses, he said. Ooma Office includes flexible phone options, such as a hardware-based deskphone, IP phone, or the Ooma Office app for smartphone users on Android and iOS. The system also includes business features such as conferencing, virtual fax extensions and extension dialing.

Ooma Office will be a good addition to the portfolio of any partner that stocks and installs hardware, but also offers service contracts and is looking to build up its recurring revenue, Sullivan said.

By targeting the channel, Ooma hopes to take advantage of the relationships that VARs and distributors have in order to reach more small businesses, Sullivan said.

Ooma initially is targeting distributors such as Ingram Micro and D&H Distributing, as well as strategic partners including the master agent community and solution providers.

"There's still some learning we need to do," he said. "We want to get to know what the VAR on the street really needs in terms of support, hardware delivery, and margins and profitability."

Originally a VoIP provider for consumers, Ooma began offering its Ooma Office product for small-business customers in 2013, which leverages the same technology used within its VoIP product for residential use.

"When we got our start in the business space, we were offering high-quality, enterprise-grade phone services at a disruptive price," Sullivan said.

Sullivan believes that by working with the channel, smaller businesses will be able to make the change from traditional, landline-based phone services to VoIP technology.

"There's a great opportunity there for partners serving small, and even micro businesses -- the one- to 20-person shops," he said.

When it comes to small-business customers, VoIP can be like "trying to fit a square peg in a round hole," Sullivan said. Many solution providers are often taking an expensive service to a small user who can ill-afford those services, doesn’t need all the features that many VoIP services have, and who may not have the bandwidth to get the best experience out of VoIP, he said.

’Now, partners will have a VoIP offering from one user up to full-blown enterprises covered in their product portfolio,’ Sullivan said.