CRN Exclusive: CafeX To Increase Channel Delivery Through High-Margin Contact Center Software

CafeX Communications has prioritized the expansion of its channel strategy in 2017. The real-time communications software provider has brought on new channel executives and is bringing its browser-based flagship offering -- which promises high margins -- to partners.

First introduced to the market in March 2016, Supervisor Assist is a web-based tool that contact center supervisors can use to coach, monitor and interact with agents live from any web browser during customer calls. The offering is compatible with third-party contact center systems, such as Cisco and Avaya products.

Founded in 2013, CafeX is building up its channel program around Supervisor Assist, which will give partners access to recurring revenue for the first time, Nick Adams, executive vice president of worldwide sales and operations for CafeX, told CRN.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: VoIP Provider Ooma Launches New Partner Program Targeting ISPs]

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Prior to the introduction of Supervisor Assist, CafeX's interaction with partners was somewhat limited. Partners could use CafeX's software development kits to build customized solutions for their end customers, but Supervisor Assist is the first "repeatable product" for partners, Adams said.

"This is a brand-new motion for us, with a product that can be sold multiple times over," he said. "In the past, we were mainly offering integrator-type work, not VAR work."

Partners reselling Supervisor Assist can expect margins of between 35 percent and 54 percent on average, with the potential for even higher margins when including value-added services and maintenance, according to Adams.

While CafeX already has relationships with large systems integrator partners, including Dimension Data, Arrow SI and Carousel Industries, the New York-based company is actively seeking contact center reseller partners throughout the U.S., Canada, EMEA and South American geographies, Adams said.

Adams would like to see more than 90 percent of Supervisor Assist sales generated through the channel down the road, he said. Adams said he is confident that more than 80 percent of Supervisor Assist revenue this year will come from the channel.

"We want to be as simple as we can for the channel in the way they want to sell, and in the way the customer wants to consume [Supervisor Assist]," he said.

World Wide Technology, a CafeX partner, is selling Supervisor Assist to its customer base. Because Supervisor Assist can work with third-party contact center tools, the offering is a great fit for many of WWT's existing contact center customers, and another revenue stream for WWT, said Ed Villarreal, WWT's contact center practice manager.

"It's the only tool that we've seen in the marketplace that provides that real-time capture of agent interaction, where before, our customers would have to take a look at the call after it was over to see what was going on, and use their quality management tools to grade [the calls] after the fact," he said. "This is changing the paradigm, so it's a really big advantage."

WWT, Maryland Heights, Mo., is pulling in margins of between 35 percent and 45 percent on Supervisor Assist, Villarreal said.

"It really is a product that is a good fit for many of our customers – maybe 50 percent of our [contact center] customers -- especially the large financial institutions," he said.

CafeX's recent investment in its channel program also included four new hires.

Kevin Deutsch joined CafeX in March as vice president of worldwide channel sales and development, focusing on partner distribution and sales. Jaime Cooley, vice president of worldwide channel programs, joined CafeX in January and most recently served as senior director of U.S. sales operations at Avaya.

CafeX also brought on two regional channel managers. Jim Barron, vice president of channel sales, U.S. West, has more than two decades of both indirect and direct sales experience. Serving as vice president of channel sales in the East for CafeX, Tony DiPaolo has more than 30 years of experience in channel leadership and sales, having worked for Nortel Networks, Avaya and Verizon, among other companies.