IT service providers and product vendors are rolling out hybrid workplace technology for customers balancing the needs of remote workers and back-to-the-office employees.
NWN Carousel, a cloud communications service provider, last week launched two services for home workers and in-office collaboration rooms. The company, based in Waltham, Mass., is teaming up with a list of vendors including Cisco, Logitech and Poly. In addition, ROI Communications, an IT services and consulting company in Norwood, Mass., inked a partnership with Nynja Technologies to sell, service and support Nynja's workforce collaboration technology. Earlier this month, Nynja unveiled a partner program for global systems integrators, MSPs, VARs and other channel partners.
The moves come as more organizations open their doors to employees after months of full or partial closures during the pandemic. Office occupancy reached 43.1% last week in Kastle's Back to Work Barometer, which tracks building access data in 10 cities. That's the highest occupancy rate since before the pandemic. In April 2020, the rate was 14.6%, according to Kastle, which makes keycards, fobs and other access control products.
The office transition ushers in an era of hybrid work. Large enterprises -- from long-established manufacturers such as 3M to digital age companies such as Twitter -- have committed to flexible work approaches. Smaller companies have done so as well. Their task now is to make this happen.
"A lot of organizations struggle with a strategy for what the return to office looks like," said Andrew Gilman, chief marketing officer at NWN Carousel.
Hybrid workplace technology considerations
Several considerations are in play. Organizations are looking to raise the quality of the home worker's experience to a level equivalent to in-office employees, Gilman noted. At the same time, they are revisiting in-office collaboration systems to accommodate hybrid work. They must also consider the effect of returning workers on IT departments.
"IT staff … have been stretched to the max with having to support an office environment and an at-home environment and now a return-to-the-office environment," Gilman said.
NWN Carousel's offerings provide technology and services to support hybrid work. The company's At-Home Essentials package provides bundled internet connectivity, wireless access, security and video conferencing endpoints, according to the company. Technology providers include Cisco and Fortinet. NWN Carousel prices the offering, delivered as a managed service, in standard user, power user and super user tiers for a "good-better-best model," Gilman noted.
Andrew GilmanChief marketing officer, NWN Carousel
The company's Office Collaboration Room-as-a-Service offering, meanwhile, combines hardware, software and services. The service aims to equip collaboration spaces from small huddle rooms for two to five people to large conference facilities. Technology partners include Cisco, Crestron, HP Elite Slice G2 and Bose, Logitech, Poly and Yealink.
The offerings come with help desk support to help offload a customer's IT personnel, Gilman said.
Collaboration for an evolving workforce
ROI Communications will provide Nynja's collaboration offerings to companies from SMBs to enterprises. The partnership lets ROI Communications address the ecosystem of freelancers, gig workers, contractors and remote workers, according to the companies.
Nynja's platform brings together conferencing, meetings, threaded messaging, encrypted chat and embedded streaming, among other capabilities.
KKR to purchase Barracuda Networks
Investment company KKR plans to purchase Barracuda Networks from its current owner, private equity firm Thomas Bravo.
MSPs are among Barracuda Networks' customers. The Campbell, Calif., company's Barracuda MSP brand offers security and data protection products for service providers. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2022. KKR will back Barracuda's growth in areas such as managed detection and response, extended detection and response, and secure access service edge, according to the companies.
KKR's agreement to acquire Barracuda closely follows the disclosure of Kaseya's pending purchase of Datto, which sells software to MSPs. KKR has made other investments in channel-related companies. In 2021, the company acquired Ensono, a hybrid IT services provider in Downers Grove, Ill.
Partner roster updates
- Pax8, a Denver-based cloud distributor, has inked a North American distribution agreement with AWS. The arrangement will let Pax8 partners offer AWS cloud services to their customers starting May 18. Pax8 said it will offer an AWS-certified team of experts to help partners with IT infrastructure projects.
- Zomentum, a revenue platform provider based in San Francisco, has formed a new partnership with The 20, an MSP business development group based in Plano, Texas. The partnership will bring Zomentum Grow, a sales acceleration application, to The 20's members, streamlining their sales processes and giving access to additional resources. Zomentum will receive feedback from The 20's members to improve the platform's capabilities.
- Virtana, a hybrid cloud management and monitoring solutions provider, is partnering with cloudEQ, an MSP based in Novi, Mich. The service provider uses Virtana's cloud migration and hybrid cloud cost optimization technology. The task of managing clients' cloud costs is an enduring partner opportunity.
Channel partner launches and updates
- Offensive Security, an information security company with headquarters in New York, unveiled its global partner program to provide cybersecurity training and resources for Gold and Platinum-level members. The program offers instructor training, sales and marketing resources, special partner pricing and licensing models aimed at three types of partners: learning partners for professional development, education partners who teach in a college or university, and channel partners who offer training courses. Sean Donnelly, head of channel and partnerships, will lead the program with 12 inaugural partners.
- Reputation, a reputation experience management company in San Ramon, Calif., launched a partner program for digital agencies, systems integrators and software vendors. The program, dubbed the RepNetwork, includes more than 50 ecosystem partners. The company's technology brings together customer experience and online reputation management.
- Deloitte is investing $1 billion in its global sustainability and climate practice, which provides a mix of strategy, operations, finance and reporting services. The company appointed Jennifer Steinmann as its global sustainability and climate leader. She was previously global chief commercial officer for Salesforce at Deloitte. Sustainability consulting has gained ground among service providers hoping to help clients set decarbonization goals.
- Celonis, a New York software company, is partnering with Accenture on a digital transformation project at Mann+Hummel, a filtration solutions provider based in Germany. Accenture will deploy Celonis' Execution Management System across the company in a multi-year effort. Accenture earlier this year entered a processing mining alliance with Celonis.
- Nerdio, a Chicago company that provides technology for deploying virtual desktops in Microsoft Azure, has appointed former Microsoft channel chief Gavriella Schuster to its board of directors.
- Nitel, a technology service provider in Chicago, has appointed Jim Glackin as executive vice president of channel sales. He joins Nitel from Masergy, where he led the company's channel sales operations.
Additional reporting by Kristen Gloss.