Siemens Launches Cloud Service via VARs

By Khali Henderson Comments
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Siemens Enterprise Communications announced Tuesday the launch of its OpenScape Cloud Services for small and medium businesses for sale exclusively through its reseller channel on a private-label basis.

Part of the OpenScape Cloud Solutions also launched Tuesday, OpenScape Cloud Services are based on Siemens Enterprise Communications’ existing communications applications, including OpenScape Voice, OpenScape UC and OpenScape Web Collaboration, but hosted in third-party data centers in the United States and Europe.

Service packages range from $6 to $35 per user per month depending on the phone set and the calling plan. Services are provisioned via a portal that also can be private-labeled for the partner. Siemens worked with industrial design specialists Ideo to create the subscription portal.

Partners will buy the service from Siemens and bill the customer directly, explained Mark Straton, senior vice president of global solutions marketing for Siemens Enterprise Communications.

Siemens is working with  carrier partners to provide user connectivity and voice minutes, but resellers who are agents for carriers may provide those services to the user directly, Straton said.

Initially, OpenScape Cloud Services will be provided with Siemens IP phone models that support HD and advanced security, Straton said, noting that third-party sets will be phased in over the next 12 months. Siemens’ on-premises systems presently support Cisco and Polycom sets, so limiting the options is an attempt to control the variables during the launch phase, he noted.

Channel partners will contract with end-customers, ordering and delivering devices and any on-site provisioning of gateways, other equipment and maintenance. He noted that partners can outsource and resell fulfillment services from Siemens. The manufacturer currently provides similar services to partners selling its premises-based solutions for onboarding and also on a permanent basis. “They make good money on it," Straton claimed.

Straton told Channel Partners that the gearmaker is using an indirect sales approach in part to more quickly scale the business and to also command a broader reach into the targeted SMB market, especially in North America where Siemens is not the dominant player in the communications solutions space. The channel-only approach is a significant move for the company, which sells 75 percent of its solutions direct today, he added.

OpenScape Cloud Services was designed in cooperation with key reseller partners, including BlackBox in the United States; Mr.Net and Telefonbau Schneider in Germany; and Trends ICT Group, onecentral and Televersal in the Netherlands.

"We are pleased to work with Siemens Enterprise Communications to introduce unified communications as a service via the OpenScape Cloud Services Platform," said Brian Jones, vice president at Black Box Network Services in a press statement. “We believe that they have the right underlying technology for the cloud, owning both the voice technology and the integrated UC applications. We like their exclusive focus on the channel and the way they packaged the services and applications, making the solution easy for us to market and white label. Siemens provided us with a pre-integrated, secure solution, rather than providing us with components, leaving us to figure out how to build them into a service."

The OpenScape Cloud Solutions also include the OpenScape Mobile UC Client for Android and OpenScape Fusion for Google Apps. The mobile UC client features new OpenScape Communication Gestures to support the Call Swipe Gesture to seamlessly transfer calls-in-progress to other devices with hand gestures on a touch-screen interface. OpenScape Fusion for Google Apps delivers integration plug-ins for the Google Apps suite, enabling UC capabilities such as click-to-call and launching voice, video and Web conferences directly from within the Google cloud-based applications.

The key elements of OpenScape Cloud Solutions will be available in second quarter 2011 in the United States, Germany and the Netherlands, with availability in additional countries in the coming quarters.

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