By Greg Plum, PlumUC
By now you have certainly heard about the SaaS tsunami known as Office 365. With this new delivery model, Microsoft is enjoying its fastest selling software platform in history. Great news for Microsoft, right? Sure, but even better news for telecom and IT channel partners.
Lync Online, which is a component of many O365 licenses, is a powerful communications platform, offering presence, instant messaging, voice over IP (VoIP) calling, desktop sharing, and audio and video conferencing … all from a single interface. Lync makes it possible to handle just about all of your communications through a single desktop client, with one exception — PSTN voice, the service that countless telecom providers, resellers, and agents have built their businesses around since the dawn of the telecom era, circa 1878. Sounds like an opportunity to me.
There are actually two opportunities to consider. The first results from the addition of a hybrid, or “Lync-enabled," audio conferencing bridge, which allows meeting participants to join a Lync meeting by simply dialing a toll or toll-free number and pass code. Why is this important to us in the channel?
Well, for the customer there may be a savings of 50 percent or more over their current conferencing bill. All participants that have access to a computer or even a mobile device with the Lync app are able to participate in the meeting without incurring a per-minute charge. Those participants that opt to dial the phone number and pass code will incur a metered charge. For the channel partner, this metered charge is a commissionable item. For MSPs or VARs typically earning between 5-12 percent residual commissions on the sale of Office 365 licenses, conferencing commissions in the neighborhood of 50 percent are pretty enticing. With the hybrid bridge, everybody wins.