Intermedia’s Reseller Cloud Offering ‘On Steroids’ As UC Competitors ‘Push’ Partners Its Way

‘As things have moved to the cloud, that whole VAR community ended up with providers that didn’t really have a good cloud option for them. And a lot of times, if they did offer cloud-based UC, they had an agent model, which is a totally different business model. ... Recent moves in the industry are pushing partners our way,’ Intermedia COO Jonathan McCormick tells CRN.


Intermedia COO Jonathan McCormick

Intermedia is leading with its reseller channel model, a differentiator in the cloud-based business communications market that typically leans on the tried-and-true agent model when transacting with partners.

For the Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) provider, the reseller model has been critical in helping Intermedia recruit new partners. But the big changes over the past few years within some of the industry’s largest premises-based UC providers have been even more striking for the company’s business, according to Intermedia COO Jonathan McCormick.

“The reason I think we’re having so much success in the industry in building our channel is because as things have moved to the cloud, that whole VAR community ended up with providers that didn’t really have a good cloud option for them. And a lot of times, if they did offer cloud-based UC, they had an agent model, which is a totally different business model where the partner is handing over the ownership of the customer,” McCormick said. “Recent moves in the industry are pushing partners our way.”

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[Related: Intermedia Combines Enhanced Contact Center Functionality Into Unite UCaaS Offering]

Resellers, or VARs, are used to providing premises-based UC implementation and deployment services. More recently, these partners have expanded their offerings with the addition of security and managed services, which makes owning the end customer relationship even more important, McCormick said.

Intermedia in 2021 rebranded its Private Label Reseller channel program to Customer Ownership Reseller, or CORE program, aimed at supporting the success of these partners. The company said it’s the only communications provider at scale that offers this business model.

“Partners really appreciate the relationship they have with the premises-based manufacturers because there’s still a lot of premises-based deals going on out there and partners are supporting a lot of that, so it’s a dual relationship. But what we’re seeing from that group is that they’re really preferring Intermedia as their cloud provider and the No. 1 reason is because of the business model,” he said.

“The cloud revolution is here, and we jumped on that with Intermedia,” said James Loffler, president of St. Louis Park, Minn.-based Loffler Companies, an MSP specializing in IT consulting and managed services.

Loffler Companies, an Intermedia partner and longtime reseller in the UC space, feels the difference with Intermedia because of its reseller focus for cloud-based UC. It’s not a company built for selling direct and it reaches its customers through partners, he said. That’s important to Loffler Companies, which has built its reputation on being the one its customers call, Loffler said.

“Whether you’re a unified communications customer, or an IT managed services customer, you’re calling our network operation center and you’re expecting to have someone to pick up the phone and help you right away,” he said. “Intermedia gives us all the control behind the scenes so that we can provide that experience for our customer,” Loffler added.

Japanese telecom equipment maker NEC also has a relationship with Intermedia that allows the company to white-label its cloud communications and contact center offerings, which has dramatically expanded the company’s customer base, Intermedia’s McCormick added. “That’s just another example of that customer ownership reseller model on steroids. We’ve had a lot of fantastic success over the last year and it’s just picking up speed.”

The Program Of ‘Champions’

While Intermedia also offers an agent model for partners, the reseller model is the biggest channel for Intermedia. The company’s reseller model handles the often-complex telecom taxes and billing for partners while still keeping control of the customer relationship squarely in the hands of the trusted adviser, McCormick said.

The company this year introduced the Intermedia Champions Program, a tiered program to help UC and contact center partners generate leads and support customers while building a profitable cloud communications business, according to Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Intermedia.

Partners appreciate the direct access they have to the Intermedia team, Loffler said. “If I’ve got a client with a unique need in product development, our teams very quickly jump on a call with their team and they listen and they’ll implement things very quickly, which can be a little different if you’re used to dealing with some of the big UC carriers.”

Intermedia does 90 percent of its business through the channel, with about 75 percent of its channel business coming from reseller partners.