Dealer Sales Corner: Microsoft OCS

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New sales opportunities for dealers. Outsourcery channel business unit director Simon Howitt discusses the Microsoft OCS

Our objective this year has been to build the number of partners who work with us to sell our range of products. We are targeting partners from the mobile, fixed line, telecoms and IT worlds to join our ‘In Partnership with Outsourcery’ programme. It’s not just about having a large network of partners, it’s about them being active and having propositions that they can take to their customers which will add value to their relationship.

There is huge interest from end users in unified communications and our partners are finding the enterprise version of Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) is a good first step into this technology. It’s a fairly straightforward proposition of how to combine IT, mobile and traditional fixed line use to gain maximum benefit for a business that all can understand.

It simplifies and streamlines your communications by putting existing business applications and services such as instant messaging, video, audio and web conferencing, ‘Live Meeting’ and desktop sharing at your fingertips.

It enables you to hold faceto- face meetings to discuss projects, share documents and desktops, and view presentations with our colleagues, without leaving your desk. OCS also has a function which monitors your ‘presence’ to check availability, so you can choose the most effective way to get in touch.

It’s quick because you don’t have to spend time trying to track down colleagues, even if they are based at another location or out visiting customers, which has a huge impact on time.

A key benefit of OCS is it is integrated into Outlook and therefore a familiar interface for users, making it easy to adopt into daily working life. Services can be initiated through Outlook or the OCS client, from an active conversation through to a meeting request.

Cost savings are made from not only the time and expense of attending meetings, but
in the cost of implementing expensive standalone conferencing facilities. This is as effective as ‘face-to-face’ meetings by incorporating rich media and video.

With the added benefits of Live Meeting and the shared visibility of desktops, OCS really adds value to how end users can work and operate, especially across multiple sites and with mobile workers. It really makes effective communication and collaboration a reality for dispersed workforces.

It costs £7.99 per seat per month and a partner can earn between 20-30 per cent ongoing revenue depending on whether they’re a reseller or dealer partner. We’ve just launched a promotion where partners can give a customer OCS free of charge for up to four months and in return we pay partners £10 per seat for every trial set-up.

Once the contract becomes permanent, they receive ongoing commission.

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