Earlier today we held a webcast to announce our messaging portfolio for 2011. This solution stack is directly driven by partner feedback and is designed for service providers. Here is an overview, answers to some common questions and some ideas on how to position this.

Did you miss the webinar? Here is the recording:

Webinar Recording (wmv movie 45 Minutes)
Webinar Slide Deck (pdf)
Webinar Podcast (mp3 higher quality audio)

Why?

Before we get to the actual announcement, I want to personally share the feedback that we have received from so many of you that prompted us to consider a change in our business.

  • Many MSPs and VARs found the cloud (serverless) environment “foreign” to their business plans and could not imagine their solution stack existing without the server anchor.
  • Many MSPs and VARs complained that they were confronted by retail offerings that were significantly cheaper than the realistic costs of going to the cloud. Licensing and monthly fees are dwarfed by the migration costs that large cloud mail solutions do not talk about.
  • Nearly all the MSPs and VARs could not fit the cloud in their margin models. Frequent question was “How do we turn hardware margin dollars into cloud margin cents and stay alive?” Sadly, the answer is: You don’t, without overhauling your salary structure and talent.
  • Finally, the client still needed to be managed regardless where the email was. Unfortunately, this too was not a major point of consideration when companies decided to move to the cloud. Cost was.

Unfortunately, MSPs and VARs lost way too much business. I cannot count the number of times that I’ve heard partners talk about losing their clients to Microsoft, or only reaching out to me when they lost their deals to someone in the cloud.

We had to do something. I will agree that our solution is not perfect and does leave a ton of room for improvement, but we needed to act now. Starting with January 1st, we’ll be offering the following solution.

What is included in ExchangeDefender Managed Messaging?

Quite a bit. Actually, everything we do is built in: from security (ExchangeDefender) to email hosting (Exchange 2010 Mailbox, SharePoint 2010 web site) as well as migration, billing and support all under our partners brand.

  • ExchangeDefender
    • Email Filtering (Antivirus, Antispam, Corp Disclaimers & Policies, Reporting, PSA Integrations)
    • LiveArchive (Exchange 2010-powered business continuity solution with 1 year rolling archive)
    • Encryption
    • Web File Sharing
    • Web Filtering
  • Exchange 2010 Mailbox with 10GB Storage
  • SharePoint 2010 Portal
  • Billing & Collections
  • Technical Support
  • Migration
    • DNS modifications
    • Shockey Monkey Remote
    • Profile (email) move

It sounds like a lot but it’s the bare essentials. In the cloud, you cannot abandon your clients – they only pay when everything works. So we wanted to make sure that our offering worked from the day it was configured and continues to work through all the surprises with the Exchange, Windows and other fun stuff in between.

Does this mean Competition?

Not at all.

First of all, we are not competing for this business with our partners, it is only offered as an alternative to our award winning platform that no changes are being made to. So if you’re already happy with what you have, Exchange pricing for you will not change neither will the cost of the service.

Second, we will not market this directly. The partner (MSP/VAR) still owns the client. We will not take the client and reassign them to a partner we like more. We will not allow one partner to take over the service from another partner if the client wants to switch IT service providers.

Finally, we will remain a partner-centric organization. There are no plans or agenda to go direct, partners are still a core part of our market strategy, something we have been building for the past 13 years. This is not a prelude to a bigger, more direct offering.

What does it mean?

It means that we’ve idiot-proofed the cloud.

It means you now have 0 excuse not to embrace the cloud, at least for messaging.

It means that you don’t have to do any technical labor to offer Exchange 2010 or SharePoint 2010, we’ll do all the hard work for you.

It means that you don’t have to establish a full billing and collections process, we’ll do that for you as well.

Most importantly, it means you don’t have to do the hard work – from configuration to migration to ongoing management. We will manage the solution end to end.

As far as I’m aware, this is the first time a large service provider and software developer has taken full control of the entire 360 degree service delivery and done so under partners own branding. This is key and a critical differentiator: We are not competing with the partners that made us successful, we’re providing another way to build a business.

Long term, strategic view is even more positive: This helps MSPs and VARs that are uncertain about the cloud a way to start profiting from it immediately. Because it is still your client, you can take over all the responsibilities at the end of the contract and realize even higher profits when you can prove that the cloud can indeed generate significant margins.

Most of the skepticism around the cloud is due to the hype. The rest of it is out of the fear and uncertainty about how to actually go to market and succeed.

I’m proud to say that we are taking a big step with our partners in alleviating a lot of those concerns and helping as many as we can as quickly as we can – we’ll help you win.

Sincerely,
Vlad Mazek, MCSE
CEO, Own Web Now Corp

To be continued with ExchangeDefender Essentials and CloudBlock.