**Editor’s Note: Click here for a list of August’s important channel-program changes you should know.**
Communications software and services provider Unify is expanding the availability of its Circuit platform through the channel, initially making it available in 30 additional countries.
The platform brings together voice, video, real-time document editing and management, messaging and file sharing into a single view, across an entire team. It is available to Unify channel partners via two sales models: the referral selling model and the extended agent model.
Jon Pritchard, Unify’s executive vice president of worldwide channels, tells Channel Partners the sales models make it easy for partners to sell software as a service to customers. Unify has about 3,500 partners globally.
“We’ve done a lot of work over six months with partners talking about the program, how they would like to see it, do the billing, etc., and one of the keys for them is to make it as easy as possible so they could come in at different levels,” he said. “One of the key bits of feedback from partners is they often don’t have the ability to do monthly billing, so they’re actually happy we’re taking over that. All our commission payments will be automated.”
Most of the new market opportunities for partners are within the European Union.
Under the referral selling model, partners can offer Circuit to current and new customers by referring these potential customers to Unify after developing the qualified lead. The extended agent model enables partners to quote, close deals and maintain their customer relationship on behalf of Unify.
Circuit will go live in 30 countries in early October, and then will become available in more countries as Unify meets local regulations, Pritchard said.
The extended agent model is commission-based in that the partner does all of the selling, and then Unify takes over and handles the billing, he said. In the end, the partner gains the subscription and commission, he said.
“Faced with restricted resources and budgets, businesses are having to justify their technology investments based on returning tangible business value and benefit,” said Tim Banting, Current Analysis’ principal analyst of communications and collaboration. “With the availability of Circuit, Unify’s partners now have expanded opportunities to provide collaboration capabilities alongside business communications.”
In June, Unify announced updates to OpenScape Enterprise Express and OpenScape Business, which deliver mobility, voice and UC capability. It also announced the availability of software and hardware support services through the channel, providing additional opportunities for partners to generate revenue.
“Our primary goal with our partner program is to create additional revenue streams for partners,” Pritchard said. “At our Unify Partner Conference 2015 back in May, our global partners were excited about the Circuit offering and asked if they could start selling it sooner. Being a partner-centric company, we listened to their request, accelerated our rollout schedules, and now have given our partners the ability to sell months earlier than originally planned. Circuit also offers Unify partners an opportunity to interact with customers around a leading-edge collaboration platform.”