Nokia signs as first Outsourcery strategic partner

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Distributor 20:20 Mobile to underpin supply and fulfilment of Microsoft OCS-ready Nokia smartphones to Outsourcery partners

Outsourcery said it will sign six ‘strategic’ partners in total to its ‘InPartnership’ channel programme by the start of the fourth quarter, following confirmation handset vendor Nokia has signed as its first.

Originally it had planned to have just three strategic partners by the end of the year.

Outsourcery channel business unit director Simon Howitt (pictured) said he expected two more partners by the start of September, and a further three by October.

He said: “Originally, we figured we would get two or three by the end of the year, and build next year. But the Nokia deal is a major achievement, and we are pretty close to adding more already and to having six in total by the fourth quarter.”

Howitt said the profile of its strategic partners, the higgest tier in its new ‘InPartnership’ reseller club, will vary. “They’re all very different types of partners doing very different things that will really kick off that part of the programme.”

The Nokia partnership is intended specifically to promote sales of Microsoft Office Communications Services (OCS) on Nokia smartphones within its business sales channel, comprising ‘approved’ and ‘standard’ dealer partners.

OCS is services suite for business customers, which combines instant messaging, audio and video conferencing and live meeting capabilities.

Outsourcery will issue Nokia handsets with OCS already provisioned. Handset distributor 20:20 Mobile will provide fulfilment services as part of the Nokia relationship.Outsourcery will activate the OCS service itself for any customers with compatible handsets already.

The first sales initiative leads from Nokia’s deal with Microsoft late last year to collaborate on unified communications applications. Microsoft’s first Communicator Mobile client for Nokia devices, downloadable from the Ovi application store, works initially on  E72 and E53 devices, and the new E5 (pictured), and enables users to see colleagues’ availability and to click to communicate – via either instant messaging, email, SMS or by call.

Names and statuses of colleagues are embedded into Nokia handsets’ contacts application, enabling people to update their presence, and engage with colleagues as they choose from the contact card.

It runs with Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync.

Outsourcery is to manage Nokia’s 30-day free trial programme of Mobile Communicator on Nokia smartphones.

Howitt, who joined in May to lead Outsourcery’s indirect push, said the company is to establish a “clear and unique selling proposition” in the market with support for the dealers  and resellers.

Under the new channel programme, Outsourcery partners are divided by ‘standard’, ‘advanced’ and ‘strategic’ bands according to their closeness and commitment to its “market vision”.

Howitt said: “We have had tremendous response since launching the programme. The agreement with Nokia shows the progress Outsourcery is making in business messaging and unified communications.”

Microsoft industry director for its communications sector Alex Danyluk said: “By joining together Microsoft’s productivity solutions with Nokia’s large customer base through Outsourcery, the three companies are able to serve the needs of the growing mobile worker population.”

Nokia UK service marketing manager Jon Corbett said: “This partnership is a great opportunity to drive real growth for UK businesses through Microsoft Mobile Communicator on Nokia devices.”

Outsourcery said it is keen to keep the number of strategic partners down and doesn’t want it going past single figures on the grounds any more would prevent it from providing the full support the partners require.

“I’m not obsessed with numbers. If we can keep it to a small enough number we can then come up with our end of the bargain, which is to get heavily involved in how we should be helping them,” said Howitt.

“If we have 15 or 20 strategic partners, we’d be spreading our resources too thinly.”

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