EarthLink Business Preps for IT Services, Hosted Microsoft Exchange Rollouts

CHANNEL PARTNERS EarthLink Business, with all of its recent acquisitions integrated into the company and master agents working under one nationwide contract, is launching new services partners may sell.

In April, EarthLink Business will unveil IT services for smaller, single locations. The provider has offered an enterprise version but wanted to target other organization sizes as well. EarthLink Business is still formalizing the products that will comprise the portfolio, but said this week at the Spring 2012 Channel Partners Conference & Expo to expect cloud, hosting, colocation, disaster recovery, managed security and more. The company will offer partner training programs and IT service consultants, as well as a portal that will integrate with its MyLink site.

EarthLink Business also is almost ready to take the wraps off a hosted Microsoft Exchange product. Businesses across the country are upgrading from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010 and EarthLink Business wants in on the action. To that point, it’s making its platform available on an opex, rather than capex, basis, to ease the burden of improvement costs. Companies have held off on upgrades as the economy has remained in a holding pattern but the dam is breaking, said Cardi Prinzi, executive vice president of marketing for EarthLink Businesss.

But that doesn’t mean partners will have an easy time selling hosted Exchange — there’s a lot involved in the design and provisioning. So, EarthLink Business is including sales engineers’ help in its product; they’ll handle migration and installation.

In terms of commissions, the cloud and managed services will remain at current structures, while others will feature lower commissions based on margins. Rolla Huff, CEO of EarthLink Business, said the lower commissions likely will apply to one-time services such as IT security audits and professional services.

Meanwhile, look for EarthLink Business to introduce IT help desk support and virtual desktop services sometime soon.

“I think this is a whole new revenue stream for channel partners,” said Huff.

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