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StreamLink Software, a board and grant management SaaS technology provider, announced today a partnership with nonprofit consulting firm Xanegy as a value-added reseller.

"Xanegy has a history of success selling purpose-built, cloud-based technologies to nonprofits, Native American tribes and government institutions," StreamLink Software CEO Adam Roth said. "Its connections and experience are a welcome addition, as we look to provide transparency and accountability to fund recipients through (StreamLink) AmpliFund."  

AmpliFund, StreamLink Software’s cloud-based grant management solution, provides nonprofit and government agencies with a central hub to track grant dollars and the grant lifecycle.

StreamLink Software said it intends to continue to grow its partner program for grant and board management products and expand into new markets.

Zendesk Releases Q1 Benchmark Report

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Zendesk announced today the release of the Q1 2015 Zendesk Benchmark report, which explores the rise and importance of live chat for customer service. Zendesk Logo

Included in Zendesk’s discussion of live chat are metrics, staffing considerations, quality and customer engagement.

Customer satisfaction globally rose to 95 percent, with significant gains in Colombia, the Philippines and Indonesia. For a third quarter, New Zealand and Belgium are the top two customer satisfaction leaders.

The Benchmark is based on actual customer service and support interactions from more than 25,000 organizations worldwide that chose to contribute. The full report is available for download here.

RapidFire Tools Inc., a provider of non-invasive IT assessment tools, announced today it was recognized at two events serving the MSP and SMB marketplace in April.

RapidFire Tools earned “Best Revenue Model” at the SMB Tech Fest conference and “Best IT Workshop” at The ASCII Group’s Success Summit event in Dallas, marking its third and fourth conference awards.

“The use of our tools helps support MSPs, positioning them as trusted authorities whose IT skills surpass those of the end-user’s current provider by consistently identifying network vulnerabilities,” CEO Mike Mittel said. “This tactic opens the door to new business, creating incremental revenue streams for MSPs and growing their customer bases. We’re honored to see this strategy acknowledged by our partners at not just one conference, but at a growing list of industry events.”

RapidFire Tools is scheduled to exhibit and present “Leveraging Network Assessment to Gain New Customers” at the Autotask Community Live! event and the Chicago ASCII Group Success Summit.

eFolder Announces Partnership with Replibit

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eFolder logo transparentbackground

eFolder, a provider of business continuity and cloud file sync solutions, announced today at the Autotask Community Live 2015 tradeshow a partnership with Replibit and availability of eFolder BDR for Replibit, which bundles Replibit software and the eFolder cloud.

The combined solution is an image-based backup and disaster recovery service that routinely captures server backups and replicates the images to the eFolder cloud to provide fast local or offsite recovery.

“eFolder is proud to announce a service that combines Replibit’s chain-free backup and deep backup verification technology with generous amounts of cloud storage, our silent data corruption protection technology, and powerful cloud recovery capabilities,” says Kevin Hoffman, CEO of eFolder. “These combined features uniquely empower channel partners to deliver high assurance, low labor business continuity services for SMB Windows environments.”

eFolder BDR for Replibit is built on a Linux Ubuntu hardened kernel and designed to work in all SMB deployment scenarios.

Axcient Announces New Cloud Offering

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DRaaS provider Axcient announced today availability of Direct to Cloud, an offering designed to enable organizations to replicate physical and virtual servers to the cloud without local appliances.

The solution allows customers to create and store full system snapshots in the cloud and launch virtual replicas in Axcient Business Recovery Cloud.

“Direct to Cloud fills a major gap in the market. No other vendor offers the same end-to-end protection for laptops, desktops and servers across physical and virtual environments,” Axcient CEO Justin Moore, said. “Our customers and partners have been asking us to bring our leading Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service solution to endpoints so that they can do away with legacy online backup products and we decided to take it a step further and make an appliance-less version of our platform for servers. Businesses of all sizes can now have enterprise level replication and resiliency for all of their systems at a tenth of the cost of building a replicated datacenter.”

Direct to Cloud, an integrated cloud solution, empowers organizations to consolidate endpoint and server disaster protection with features including unlimited storage, point-in-time recovery and configurable replication interval and retention.

IDC MarketScape Report Names IBM as Leader

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IBM announced yesterday IBM Global Business Services was named a leader in the IDC MarketScape Worldwide Digital Transformation Consulting and System Integration Services 2015 Vendor Assessment.IBM logo1

IDC MarketScape found IBM’s greatest strengths were in future business and offering strategy, and IBM was rated highly in analysis and buyer perceptions for its capability to meet digital transformation project timelines.

"Industries and companies are being radically disrupted by the forces of digital transformation, and the pace of change is greater than any other time in history," said Paul Papas, Global Leader, IBM Interactive Experience. "IBM combines big data and analytics, industry consulting and world-class design to help our clients take an experience driven approach to digital transformation. At IBM, digital is in our DNA, and we are thrilled to be recognized by IDC as a leader for our unmatched digital transformation capabilities."

The IDC MarketScape study evaluated vendors across myriad success factors, including the ability to achieve desired business outcomes and deliver innovation that produces results. 

AppRiver Announces Advanced Security for O365

AppRiver, LLC, an email and web security solution provider, announced it has built services designed to seamlessly integrate with Office 365 and provide enterprise-strength security without sacrificing cloud flexibility and productivity.

Its available layered security options SecureTide Spam and Virus Protection, CipherPost Pro Email Encryption and SecureSurf Web Protection.

“SecureSurf is updated thousands of times a day using global threat intelligence and real-time dynamic malware analysis,” explains Troy Gill, manager of security research, AppRiver.  “It also provides immediate notification of advanced persistent threat activity so that network administrators can locate and quickly remediate affected endpoints.”  

SecureSurf can stand alone, work with AppRiver messaging products and wrap around O365.

o365 logoJoin us for this impactful and informative quarterly briefing hosted by Office 365 Nation (O365nation) that delivers specific news you can use to keep abreast of the Office 365 platform. This webinar is for MSPs, Consultants and Partners.

You will:

  • Hear the latest Office 365 numbers
  • Discover the latest Office 365 chatter and gossip (layoffs in July at MSFT?)
  • Why is Office 365 emerging as a platform
  • Who are the Top 25 Office 365 Influencers in the World and why you should care?
  • Who are the latest ISVs to build Office 365-specific solutions?
  • Question and Answer session

Hosted by O365nation founder Harry Brelsford and includes special guests including one big surprise.

Sign up:

01655 US Global Trustmark Banner Ad 220x150By Miles Jobgen, Director of Trustmark Programs for CompTIA

As one of the most recognizable credentials, or “marks,” in North America, the Better Business Bureau logo gives an organization instant credibility and provides a sense of security to current and prospective customers. Its holders have made a commitment to uphold certain standards relating to their transaction processes, professional relationships and community standing. Most of all, a BBB logo instills trust.

Business credentials can be particularly valuable to those in the IT services area, where a solid reputation is often the biggest differentiator when you’re prospecting new clients or developing key industry relationships. The logo or mark of acknowledgement you receive from a respected association can truly improve your company’s standing. Those who receive business credentials must meet certain standards and industry-specific criteria, so the designation can give instant credibility to a holder’s capabilities.

Intermedia, a channel-focused cloud provider, continues to experience success in both its partner program and expand resources for industry professionals.

Oak Hill Capital acquired Intermedia four years ago, and, since its acquisition, Intermedia has seen a 101 percent increase in active partners to more than 5,500 and a 173 percent increase in customers landed via partners.

Intermedia also announced May 6 the release of eBook Harpooning Executives: How Phishing Evolved into the C-Suite, written jointly by Intermedia and Intel Security.

The new eBook highlights increased phishing targeting high-profile targets and includes a three-pronged security approach to protect businesses and assets.

abhijitAbhijit Chatterjee, CEO and CIO of ABHI Technologies in New Delhi, India, recently contacted us with some exciting news. He has been confirmed as the winner on the IDG Premier 100 IT Award List.

Many of you may remember meeting Abhijit at our 2013 Spring Conference, held at the Microsoft Convention Center in Redmond, where he was an attendee. He has over 15 years of experience in owning his own IT Practice.

To connect with Abhijit on LinkedIn, visit his profile here.

Many congratulations to Abhijit! If you have community news, feel free to share it with us!

Vorex, Inc., a cloud-based business management solution provider serving SMBs, launched today multi-currency support for more than 100 countries, allowing international companies to complete billing and financial transactions in their native currency through Vorex’s online business management program.

“Our global customers count on Vorex to simplify and automate all of their daily operational tasks so they can get back to focusing on growing their businesses,” Vorex CEO and founder Mike Salem said. “We are excited to launch this new multi-currency capability, so our customers all over the world can conduct business in their native or desired currency, further streamlining operations. This is just one step of many more to come in our international expansion.”

The multi-currency capability is straightforward to navigate, requiring only a change of currency preference in settings for international companies to use their desired form of currency instantly.

Vorex’s all-in-one business management platform, designed to streamline operations, combines features such as project management, CRM, time and expense tracking, HR and finance.

Unitrends Releases Public Beta of Unitrends Free

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Enterprise-level cloud recovery provider Unitrends released yesterday a public beta version of a market-changing edition of its data protection software: Unitrends Free.

Unitrends Free is a free backup solution designed for IT professionals seeking cost-effective protection for SMBs and other small environments.Unitrends logo

“Unitrends Free couples enterprise-class capabilities not found in other free tools with refreshingly uncomplicated navigation and performance monitoring capabilities. We are pleased to offer individuals and organizations with smaller environments or limited budgets the high-caliber data protection they too deserve,” CEO Kevin Weiss said. “With the Unitrends Community rallying behind the product, fellow users can also tap each other’s expertise and experiences to get the most out of Unitrends Free virtual backup and recovery.”

Features in Unitrends Free include hypervisor-level protection for up to 1TB of data, instant VM recovery, automated daily scheduling and cloud integration.

The software, and an opportunity to enter a Unitrends sweepstakes, is available here.

IBM Aims to Accelerate Hybrid Cloud Computing

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IBM logo1IBM announced yesterday additional servers and storage software and solutions designed for cloud computing in hybrid cloud environments.

Increased adoption of the hybrid cloud by businesses brings new waves of data that complicate moving around computing workloads, requiring new software and solutions to help clients navigate between on-premises data centers and public and private clouds.

"IBM hybrid cloud solutions are built for the enterprise and clients are using them to help enable new business models to drive growth," said Don Boulia, Vice President of Cloud Services, IBM Systems. "Hybrid cloud computing requires new levels of openness, dynamic data management, integration, automation and scalable performance in server, storage and software technologies. IBM brings all of these technologies together from on-premises data centers and inside public and private clouds to more efficiently manage traditional computing with new mobile, big data and social computing workloads."

IBM’s new products and innovations include the IBM Power System E850, IBM Power System E880, IBM PurePower System, IBM Spectrum Control Storage Insights, IBM XIV GEN 3, Big Storage Technology and Rocket’s mainframe data access service on Bluemix.

In June, IBM’s self-service portal for clients to scale their infrastructure and software license footprint for hybrid deployments in minutes using PureApplication Service will be available.

More information about new IBM software and solutions is available here.

Tagged in: cloud Hybrid IBM

AlienVault, a crowd-sourced threat intelligence and Unified Security Management provider, announced today collaboration with Intel Security in which Intel Security will integrate AlienVault Open Threat Exchange and the two companies will share real-time, actionable threat data.

"Intel Security is committed to industry collaborations which will help provide critical threat intelligence and better protection to our customers. Working with AlienVault will enable us to exchange threat data and enhance the level of customer protection delivered via McAfee's Global Threat Intelligence system," said David Coffey, vice president for GTI, McAfee Labs, part of Intel Security.

AlienVault OTX supports 26,000 participants globally with more than 1 million threat indicators daily, and the Intel Security GTI cloud provides active protection to more than 6 million customers in myriad customer deployments.

AlienVault suggested an increasingly complex threat landscape requires robust cybersecurity measures and more collaborative sharing of threat data.

Ray Vrabel HeadshotBy Raymond Vrabel, Director, Technical Account Management, Continuum Managed IT Services

The fourth installment of a new monthly blog series offering tips and best practices on various ways MSPs can help their SMB clients work through the most challenging daily business issues.

In last month’s installment of, “Better Call an MSP,” I discussed how to manage potentially non-profitable clients. This month, I discuss concerns that I have recently been hearing within our industry on how telecommunications companies (or telecoms) are being deemed a threat to solution providers. Frankly, it has been my experience that MSPs do not need to feel threatened by telecoms, and if there is talk that telecoms are set to move into the managed services game, it won’t be for some time. Further, if this shift does gradually happen, there are ways that MSPs and telecoms can work together, rather than against each other. Check out some of the questions I have posed below that may help to ease concerns and generate potential opportunity.

Microsoft Channel Chief Phil Sorgen will join the monthly IAMCP Seattle chapter meeting this May as he details how Microsoft can uniquely accelerate its partners’ momentum and profitability in the cloud.

The meeting will be held from 8-9 a.m. May 21 at the Microsoft Civica building, and is open to IAMCP members and non-members. A question and answer period will be held after Sorgen’s presentation.

Those interested in attending should register here.

Azure announced last week additional networking features, making Azure a more powerful networking tool that allows users to design network topologies with more control and agility.Microsoft Azure

New capabilities include an ExpressRoute premium offering, ExpressRoute support for Office 365 and Skype for Business Enterprise Voice, a Standard VPN gateway with S2S VPN Connectivity, and virtual network enhancements including user defined routes.

ExpressRoute: The ExpressRoute premium add-on supports up to 10,000 routes to seamlessly connect to large global enterprise networks, and ExpressRoute and ExpressRoute premium will both support connectivity to Microsoft Cloud services, including O365 and Skype.

VPN gateway: The new standard VPN gateway will enable new connectivity scenarios, and Azure will now have a variety of VPN gateways available.

Virtual Network Enhancements: According to Azure, it continues to enhance the Azure Virtual Network with features including user defined routes, which give Azure users complete control over the traffic flow in their virtual networks.

Virtual Appliance Partners: A10, Cisco, Fortinet and NGINX joined the Azure Network Virtual Appliance ecosystem.

Azure DNS: This new service, which uses anycast networking, hosts DNS domains and provides name resolution using Microsoft’s global infrastructure.

Networking Support: Azure Resource Manager now supports composition of complex networking infrastructures through simple JSON templates.

More information about Azure’s newest features is available here.

By Patrick Houston, long-time industry leader and founder of Media Architects

Who’d have thunk it? Not me. Or not until Harry and I had a recent conversation with Blackberry’s David Moellenkamp.BBRY2674 Cloud Blog Banner

Remember the days when every blockbuster business or government movie character clicked away on a BlackBerry keyboard? Gone. And for a time everything at the Waterloo, Canada, company seemed to go from bad to worse. Its every attempt to reverse its slide — never mind regaining its stature — seemed tone deaf to its customer base, never more symptomatic than its ill-begotten launch of the Playbook tablet.

Even BlackBerry itself admitted to very crux of its challenge in what actually became a prize-winning PR campaign built around the slogan a “From Relic to Relevant.” Relic is right. Like so many others, I figured the company was headed the way of those ghosts of business history like Digital Equipment, Palm and Kodak.

But then we talked to Moellenkamp. Ever since John Chen came aboard as CEO last year, BlackBerry has been showing glimmering signs of a comeback. Here’s mainly why: It’s actively and publicly dispelling any lingering delusions it has of being a leading smartphone maker. Self-awareness is, after all, the first step. Instead, it’s embracing its consummate natural strength as a provider of secure communications services (Stick to your knitting!).

By way of introduction, Moellenkamp is BlackBerry’s executive director of Enterprise Solutions Development, one of its four key operating units. A Devices group is still one, but it’s outweighed by three others, all revolving around enterprise software services. Across the board, the company’s moves are being dictated, Moellenkamp said, by BlackBerry’s newfound focus on its core strengths of security, productivity, communication, and collaboration for business.

But those are just words. The real issue: Can Blackberry execute on them? But Moellenkamp offers us a few dots. And if its audience can connect with them, well, it just might be on the verge of becoming a player yet again:

Consider just three:

  • BlackBerry is moving to the cloud. The company has a gem in its mobile-device-management platform, BES12. I have no idea what its name has to do with product. I do have an idea — a good one — that BES12 is a gem. Businesses, especially in highly-regulated sectors like healthcare, remain consummately concerned about data security, and it doesn’t take a genius to understand what vulnerabilities mobile devices present. Moving it to the cloud promises to make the EMM-platform promises that much better. It’ll make it accessible and affordable faster to more companies, especially small-to-medium-sized ones. And to make it more accessible to a wider swath of businesses, it’s going to have to be easier to use. BlackBerry says it is, but we’ll have to see because, after all, like beauty, ease-of-use in is the eye of the beholder.
  • BlackBerry is playing in the Internet of Things. Get this: Secure BlackBerry software powers embedded computer chips in cars, factories, and medical devices. Who knew? The company has data centers around the world transacting 35 petabytes of mobile data a month. It handles peer-to-peer connections with 700 mobile and partner networks. As more things connect to more other things, security will become an exponential concern. Yep, you’ve got it. BlackBerry has a big ace of spades in its hand.
  • BlackBerry is acquiring more advanced security technologies. In April, it bought an Israeli company called WatchDox. Even though endpoint security has become all the rage, WatchDox adds a smart, new precaution to the mix: It embeds security into the document itself, allowing it to “travel” with the file no matter where it goes. You can protect, share, and work with it on any device. You can see where it is at any moment. You can control who can edit, copy, print, and forward. Most of all, you can revoke access or delete a file remotely. And by the way, as a company name, WatchDox, I get. Dox, doc, dog, nice.

BlackBerry just reported its second consecutive profitable quarter, and its customer loyalty scores have spiked. It was named the biggest gainer in an annual ranking of 220 big brands, released in March.

It’s too early to declare a comeback. According to reports as recently as May 5, CEO Chen was opining the challenge of convincing his own employees that BlackBerry isn’t a smartphone company anymore. (Hey, disbelievers, have you been hibernating? Apple, Samsung, Google, and Microsoft have won that battle. But take warm comfort. You’re in good company. Nokia, Ericsson, HTC, and Sony are also-rans too.)

Nevertheless, the glimmers are bright enough to suggest that BlackBerry shouldn’t be written off as a has-been — and should be considered as channel partner that can add a suite of secure business software services to your portfolio.

SMBNation Ad 2015 05Author and blogger Karl Palachuk says that right now is a great time to be a technology consultant. The economy may not be on fire, he says, but the recession is definitely over and money is flowing. "There are moments in time when you can FEEL the energy," he says. "Right now you can feel the push and the flow of money into the small business sector. Don't miss out because you did nothing!"

Palachuk is putting on his fourth annual SMB Online Conference June 23-25. The conference focuses on the business processes and procedures you need to be successful going forward. The conference theme is "Time to Thrive." As Palachuk puts it, you survived the last six years: Now it's time to Thrive!

Cloud recovery solution provider Unitrends announced yesterday Enterprise Management Associates named it a “Vendor to Watch,” recognizing it as a company that delivers unique customer value by solving previously unaddressed problems. Unitrends logo

Unitrends specifically works to address limited IT resources and lack of effective products for SMBs and midmarket enterprises through its cloud-empowered, all-in-one business continuity solutions, including multi-environment backup, archiving, and DRaaS.

"Unitrends greatly lowers risk by automatically and non-disruptively testing the recovery process following backups or replication," said Jim Miller, senior analyst at EMA. "Recovery assurance quantifies the actual time to recover, and confirms whether recovery point and recovery time objectives are being met." 

Unitrends’ President and CEO Kevin Weiss said the company works to increase IT confidence and reduce stress for SMBs.

The “Vendor to Watch” report featuring Unitrends is available here.

Cybersecurity continues to be a center-stage concern for business owners, especially SMBs with limited budgets.

Intronis and My Digital Shield yesterday announced they Intronis will host a webinar centering on how MSPs can best approach discussion of cyber security with SMB clients.

MDS CEO Andrew Bagrin will lead the webinar here 2 p.m. May 14, using his 17 years of IT industry experience to describe how to bring the topic of security into conversations with clients, how to educate clients about security threats and protection and available security services.

I’ve finally recovered from the robust Lenovo Accelerate conference in Las Vegas a week ago. Something about that city.

With the passage of time, as an ardent analyst, I’ve got the benefit of reflection on my side. I’d offer my insights were fortified and this much more impactful than if I had been in breaking news mode.WP 20150427 16 30 42 Pro

One Lenovo

Speaking with Chris Frey (pictured), vice president of North America commercial channels and SMB at Lenovo, he shared very few people thought that Lenovo could do what it did throughout the past decade as he celebrated Lenovo’s 10th anniversary.

Reflecting back, he highlighted the integration of the PC cultures in integrating the IBM PCs and, more importantly, the ThinkPad.

“It’s a classic business case study of bringing two brands together,” Frey said. “Moving forward, if history is any indicator, Lenovo will continue to be number one! Lenovo’s staff is energized and our people want to be great.”

I sensed the hunger. “We’re a culture of DO’ERS and we get stuff done!”

Concerning One Lenovo, Frey shared some operational thinking. The intention is to treat the channel with more respect by managing one Profit & Loss statement.

The “not my department” barrier is coming down. Generalist will manage the partner relationship with an overlay of specialists that can be called in from time to time.

“I hope everyone gets excited about One Lenovo,” Frey said. “One coverage model, one distribution model.”

Frey concluded with a peek into the ANY strategy, which signifies any products to any customer at any time. “We don’t care about routes.” Frey added.


In other news, Lenovo continue to expand its brand with multiple celebrities including Kobe Bryant. Lenovo will return as an official sponsor for Super Bowl 50 when the Seattle Seahawks will claim victory.


Next up, I’ll discuss Lenovo’s education play and its success producing Chromebooks—Wintel buster? We’ll also take a peek at phone! Look for my installment shortly.

Sponsored by Microsoft and Ingram Micro Cloud

It’s more apparent than ever that cloud computing is not only picking up momentum, it’s also a key component driving other industry trends such as mobile computing and the Internet of Things (IoT). With that said, you can’t capitalize on any of these exciting trends if you don’t first learn how to sell cloud.

One of the most important starting points is recognizing the fact that there’s a lot of confusion and wrong information about the cloud that has to be dealt with before you can discuss specific cloud services and costs. CompTIA’s 4th Annual Trends in Cloud Computing sheds light on three specific areas of confusion end users have that IT solution providers (ITSPs) need to uncover and address to win cloud business.

O365 SMB Channel Harmony

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Israel-based (pronounced “harmony”) announced yesterday at Microsoft Ignite its new channel partner program for the Office 365 community.

This product essentially brings a single pane of glass to access all Office 365 data stores from Microsoft Outlook or a mobile interface.

I’ll blog about my experience using its product another day, as it gives me simple access to SharePoint instead of the dreaded browser interface. Think of the Outlook snap-in as akin to running Microsoft Dynamics CRM from the CRM snap-in in Outlook and tagging/saving every e-mail, etc. More on the functionality later.

Back to the issue at hand. As I learned more in an interview last week before Ignite, I realized is striking a balance between its intellectual property and its community relations.

I also saw a tacit understanding on the continued need for an intermediary between the ISV and the customer. Products such don’t install themselves, although the 30-day trial I’m running was an easy install.

The affiliate—or partner—opportunity will add more value on top of Office 365 to better use SharePoint et al. Heck, that’s something I can benefit from with my ten-person staff!

"As the adoption of Office 365 accelerates, individual experts and smaller consultancies have an opportunity to play a bigger role in this new 'mobile-first, cloud-first' world," CEO Yaacov Cohen said. "Our Affiliate Partner Program empowers these consultants to have quick and easy access to the collaboration suite of connected apps to help their clients succeed in this new cloud and mobile era."

Office 365 and evolving application technology was discussed last week at the Build Conference by industry professionals including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

“Applications that you build will now be capable of ‘showing up’ throughout Office so that they do more than any single application on their own,” Nadella said.

Translated, this means Office 365 is being viewed as a platform that will have ISVs delivering apps and tools on top of it. Case in point:

Then, there is the economics of it all. Consultants can quickly obtain a partner ID and then submit purchase orders directly on the partner portal for deals ranging from 15 to 200 users.

All business is sold through, with the referring partner receiving a 15 percent commission upon receiving payment from the customer. For deals involving more than 200 users, Affiliate Partners will work directly with a representative to ensure customer success.

"We are committed to helping companies of any size overcome evolving digital workplace challenges. This is the first of our many partner program enhancements, as we actively cultivate the partner ecosystem in 2015 and help drive this revolution," Cohen said.