Office 365 rebate: ConnectWise promotion set for January

ConnectWise and Microsoft are collaborating on a 20% rebate promotion that will kick off in January and aims to encourage channel partners to launch or expand cloud practices.

ConnectWise partners next year will receive a 20% rebate on the Office 365 subscription licenses they sell.

The Office 365 rebate promotion will launch January 1 and run through June 30, 2016. The rebate will apply to new licenses only and customers based in the U.S.  Gavin Gamber, vice president of channel sales and alliances at ConnectWise, said Microsoft will pay rebates directly to partners based on the net-new subscriptions they sell during the promotion period.

Gamber said the Office 365 rebate arrangement isn't exclusive, but is the first of its kind in the market. He said the promotion will help channel companies build upon existing cloud practices or launch new ones.

"Microsoft has really opened this up for those looking to expand on the cloud and those who just want to get in and get started with cloud services," Gamber said.

ConnectWise partners can sell licenses working directly with Microsoft or through distributors Ingram Micro, Tech Data Corp. and Synnex Corp. Partners can use ConnectWise's CloudConsole software to manage, monitor and bill the Office 365 services they provide. Use of CloudConsole, however, isn't required for participating in the Office 365 rebate promotion.

8x8 rolls out Channel 2.0 partner program

Unified communications vendor 8x8 has unveiled the latest iteration of its global channel partner program, dubbed "Channel 2.0."

Microsoft has really opened this up for those looking to expand on the cloud and those who just want to get in and get started with cloud services.
Gavin Gambervice president of channels and alliances, ConnectWise

The company, which targets midsize enterprises, said it designed the Channel 2.0 program to capitalize on the industry shift from on-premises products to cloud communications. The program introduces a new partner portal that provides self-service and automation for the partner engagement lifecycle, as well as bolstered sales and technical training and certifications. Additionally, partners can use the portal to tap marketing and demand generation support.

"[Channel 2.0] is really a re-ante of our channel program to take the growth that we've experienced and scale it," said Chris Peters, vice president of strategic channel development at 8x8, based San Jose, Calif.

8x8 has seen 100% year-over-year growth through its channel partners -- a roster that includes Avant, CDW, CSG, Insight, Intelisys and Simplify, according to the company. Additionally, 16 of the vendor's largest deals in fiscal year 2016, which ended March 31, came through the channel, a 150%-plus increase from fiscal year 2015.

"We recognize that in order to see the opportunities in the midmarket enterprise, we need to rely upon channel partners that have a trusted relationship with executives at those enterprises," Peters said.

The Channel 2.0 program launched with a handful of new partners, notably Telarus, LANtelligence and Perry proTech. The vendor revealed it also expanded relationships with existing partners into international markets. Expansions include Avant and Intelisys in the UK and Exsel Group in Scotland.

Although 8x8 is looking to build out its partner base, it will take a selective approach to recruitment, said Carlos Roman, 8x8's head of global partner marketing. "We want to have a diverse set of partners that are going to give us coverage in the segments we want to pursue," Roman said.

The vendor plans to launch 8x8 Academy at the beginning of January 2017, allowing partners to obtain post-sales deployment and technical support certifications.

Other news

Here's a look at other highlights from the week:

  • Distributor Ingram Micro released the Managed Print Complete program, which partners can use to offer customers single or multifunction printers, toners, and an extended warranty for a fixed monthly subscription. Under the program, customers can refresh and renew the service at any time or buy printers at the end of subscription terms, the distributor said. The program offers print technology from manufacturers Brother, HP Inc., Lexmark and Xerox.
  • Accenture acquired Nashco Consulting, an Alberta-based provider of consulting, design and implementation services for ServiceNow. The Nashco buyout will expand Accenture's ServiceNow practice and strengthen the practice certifications in North America, Accenture said.
  • In another transaction, Insight Enterprises, a technology solutions provider, and Datalink Corp., a provider IT and data center services, agreed to merge. Under the agreement, Insight will purchase Datalink for about $258 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2017.
  • Fiserv, a provider of financial services technology solutions, has agreed to add CrowdStrike's SaaS endpoint protection to Fiserv's cybersecurity offerings.

The Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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