Master agent Avant and Navisite are offering partners the ability to resell Microsoft Office 365, even if those companies are not part of Microsoft's partner program.
Most solution providers have historically been locked out from this major selling opportunity with the popular business productivity tools. "Unless you’re a big VAR or distributor, you really didn’t have a play with Microsoft, and quite honestly, couldn't make any money associated with reselling Microsoft," said Ian Kieninger, CEO of Avant.
Chicago-based Avant has a self-proclaimed "cloud-first" approach to providing voice and collaboration services. The company is also aware that partners shouldn't navigate these waters alone. By teaming up with cloud service provider Navisite, Avant can help partners get their foot in the door with Microsoft and profit from reselling its popular products, too.
Navisite was bought by Time Warner Cable for $230 million in 2011. Time Warner Cable was then bought by Charter Communications in 2016 for $78 billion, and Navisite, part of Spectrum Enterprise, remains a business unit inside that behemoth.
Kieninger said that for partners looking for value-added services, Office 365 is a strong product with excellent brand recognition, but it needs support. It needs more support, he said, than most agent partners are prepared to give.
Most solution providers don't want to invest in the operational side needed to support a product like Office 365, but with Avant's partnership with Navisite, Avant's partners have access to a managed Office 365 solution that they can turn around and offer their end customers.
Microsoft and Navisite have enjoyed a two-decade long relationship which began on the infrastructure side with Navisite delivering managed hosted Exchange email platform and then extended to include Microsoft's messaging and collaboration tools.
Today, Navisite is within the top 10 percent of Microsoft's base of 200 Cloud Service Provider (CSP) partners in managed services selling and supporting Office 365, said Suren Singh, senior director of hosting and cloud services for Microsoft.
The longtime Microsoft partner has hundreds of engineers on-hand that have experience in resolving issues, and supporting Microsoft environments. Navisite also has access to the highest level of support from Microsoft directly that the average end customer and channel partner wouldn't have on their own, said Craig Sandman, senior director of Navisite's cloud alliances and indirect channels organization.
"Customers go to Navisite for Tier 1 support. That’s our business and that's really the value we are bringing to the channel," Sandman explained.