Sometimes, finding fulfillment requires taking a risk that, with dedication and some lucky breaks, will result in even better results than hoped.
That philosophy is propelling 15-year channel veteran Greg Plum.
Plum, whom you’ll know from his years at conferencing providers including The Conference Group, StartMeeting and SoundConnect (and his years being named among the Top 15 Channel Managers), has taken the entrepreneurial plunge by forming his own company, PlumUC.
PlumUC specializes in a number of brands but puts particular focus on Microsoft Lync, which does not come with telephony capabilities – those must be added to turn the platform into a complete communications solution, and to create a recurring revenue stream.
“When people hear my name, they think conferencing. But conferencing is not necessarily the wave of the future,” Plum said in a recent interview with Channel Partners. “The future is a different direction … with Lync and unified communications and that’s where I’m going now.”
To be sure, the collaboration opportunity, especially for Lync, is giant.
“Less than 1 percent of Office 365 subscriptions sold have any conferencing included,” said Plum.
Plum aims to take advantage of that gap, and foster greater overall collaboration adoption. And the key is, he is not using a direct-sales strategy.
“I am just focusing on partners,” he said.
With that in mind, what Plum is not is a master agent.
“I’m not bringing together all these different prods across the board and then aggregating them to manage the flow, etc.,” he said. “My model is more focused on collaboration products. …I don’t really play in the other areas as far as SIP trunking or old-school PBX.”
Instead, Plum has crafted two main ways telecom and IT partners may work with him. The first is a self-service wholesale program that features deep discounts Plum has secured thanks to his years in the industry.
“It’s very aggressive pricing,” said Plum.
These partners handle back-office needs such as provisioning and billing, or they can negotiate separately to have service providers oversee these duties.
The second model, “Strategic,” is full-service: Plum provides detailed concierge-level support and then shares revenue with partners.
“We implement from start to finish,” Plum said. “I’m involved in the discovery, analysis, recommendation, and solution via audio, video, Web, UC.”
The two-tier approach is not set in stone, however – Plum remains flexible.
“Depending on the particular need, I might have a wholesale partner with a complicated collaboration project coming up they don’t have the bandwidth for,” Plum said. “I do the work and we split the revenue.”
Plum expects to have signed 10 partners by the end of this month. Yet, he’s not looking for scores more.
“I prefer to have a very active, smaller group of partners that gets the concept of converged communications,” he said.
In addition to Microsoft Lync, PlumUC offers brands including Webex, iMeet/GlobalMeet and Vidyo.