SMB Nation Blog

Small business IT and technology news for the SMB channel VAR, MSP, and IT professional.

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.

eFolder Announces DRaaS Availability

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eFolder and Dell strengthen their partnership as eFolder DRaaS, a service that replicates Dell AppAssure backup images to the eFolder Cloud, became generally available in late April.

“Dell and eFolder have partnered on a joint mission for more than three years: enhance business continuity and strengthen peace-of-mind for business owners,” says Pierre Tapia, vice president of product at eFolder. “We are proud to announce eFolder DRaaS, a product which lets Dell AppAssure customers leverage the reliability and performance of the eFolder Cloud, and minimize the risk and cost of downtime through a turn-key, cost-effective solution.”

This partnered solution acts as a comprehensive disaster recovery solution, giving customers several cloud recovery options in the event of server or site-wide failures and disasters.

eFolder DRaaS is available directly through Dell or through Dell partners.

AppRiver Reaches 100,000 Active Users

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AppRiver, LLC, announced today the number of active Office 365 users surpassed 100,000, with April 2015 as the best month year-to-date for license activations since the launch of the service in 2011.Appriver

"Office 365 is a great platform," says Scott Paul, strategic accounts executive, AppRiver. "AppRiver makes it a great service as well. That's because we live in an age of offshore call centers, indifferent customer service and increasingly complicated solutions. AppRiver gives its customers choice, peace of mind and adds a personal touch to technology – qualities that have become rare in the Digital Age."

According to AppRiver, its 93-percent customer retention rate and steady increase in partners engaged to sell O365 is due to above-and-beyond dedication and flexibility as it serves its customers.

AppRiver also offers the ability to wrap additional security services around O365, including SecureTide Spam and Virus Protection, CipherPost Pro Email Encryption and SecureSurf Web Protection.

Lenovo announced today new products in several solution portfolios, including updated X6 servers and two new EMC-supported offerings optimized for deployments of SAP HANA and SAP Business Suite software. lenovo for those who do

“Business analytics presents big opportunities and challenges for virtually every enterprise,” said Darrel Ward, vice president, Enterprise Marketing and Storage Business Unit.  “Our new X6 server-based solutions and services for SAP HANA and SAP Business Suite offer a powerful, scalable and fast path for turning data into a competitive advantage.”

The updated scalable X6 servers, the four-socket Lenovo System x3850 X6 and eight-socket x3950 X6, feature a modular architecture and deliver 50 percent better performance than previous-generation X6 systems.

Lenovo’s newest EMC-supported offerings, the enterprise-certified EMC VMAX3 family and VNX Unified Storage Systems and the EMC VSPEX technology for classic SAP solution-based landscapes, are designed for customers to leverage existing hardware and infrastructure components with an expanded, effective solution.

“Combining EMC enterprise storage offerings  with Lenovo servers offer customers also running SAP applications with the ability to help speed deployment, simplify management and reduce TCO,” said Roger Frey, Vice President, Enterprise Applications Solutions, EMC Corporation.  ”Lenovo System x and Flex System servers combined with EMC storage offer customers a great combination of enterprise-class server infrastructure with enterprise-class storage, enabling them to confidently run their business.”   

Tagged in: Lenovo SAP

Digium Discusses Benefits of a Phone System in the Cloud

Digium released last week an infographic detailing the benefits of cloud-based phone systems, a solution especially suited for SMBs.

and remote businesses looking to reduce costs, minimize IT resources and keep employees connected regardless of location. cloudinfographic

“The beauty of Cloud applications and VoIP phones systems are that they are located in secure data centers, and vendors take responsibility for owning, configuring, and managing them,” Cora Cloud, Digium content marketing specialist, said.

Full-featured Unified Communication solution Switchvox Cloud, designed for SMBs, includes UC features in a cloud format, which Digium suggested is the superior option for SMB phone systems.

According to the infographic, 82 percent of companies reduced costs by moving to the cloud, and cloud-based phone systems also saved energy and server space.

The full infographic is available  to the right.

P.S. Be sure to attend our online Office 365 connected conference, June 2-3. No travel, no hotel, no traffic! Sign-up here: