Covad, Cisco Team to Sell VoIP Bundle Through Channel

COVAD COMMUNICATIONS GROUP INC. announced at the Fall 2006 Channel Partners Conference & Expo that it has extended is co-marketing agreement with Cisco Systems Inc. to include sales and support of a voice and data bundle for the SMB market through the companies indirect sales channels.

The new offer pairs Ciscos Unified CallManger Express with Covads ClearEdge Integrated Access service. Previously, the two companies teamed to market Covads hosted PBX service, ClearEdge Pro (formerly vPBX), along with Ciscos IP phones and softswitches.

We have been co-developing the channel for a couple of years now. … This is more of an expansion of our relationship, says Dave McMorrow, Covads executive vice president of sales. Covad and Cisco are cooperating really well together, trying to put solutions in the market that customers desire and where our products fit well together cooperating on messaging and commission structures for VARs and making it very easy to train them and get these products in the market.

Cisco Unified CallManager Express provides a unified communications system for SMBs. It features auto attendant, night service bell, call logging, caller ID, call monitoring, call forwarding, call pickup, dual-line appearances and hunt groups. The solution also provides for the addition of advanced capabilities, such as video telephony, rich-media conferencing, unified messaging and softphone integration.

Covad ClearEdge Integrated Access combines voice and data on a single, integrated connection to deliver VoIP, broadband, e-mail and Web hosting services on one bill. The service also features an optional Covad Integrated Access Dashboard, a Web-accessible interface equipped with communication and productivity tools.

This partnership bundles those two services together and makes it easy to message to customers, makes it easy to buy, says McMorrow, noting the service and gear are certified interoperable, implementation is easy and its deployed. We know it works; we have customers on it, so its proven.

Cisco and Covad will be pushing the bundle through each others indirect channels. Its kind of a win-win-win situation for Cisco, Covad and the VAR, says McMorrow. We are trying to make it much simpler for the VAR to have success in the marketplace with the Cisco product and the Covad products.

However, Cisco VARs wishing to add Covads integrated access services must become Covad agents. Similarly, Covad agents who are not Cisco VARs already must become VARs to sell the bundle. McMorrow notes all Covad agents selling its VoIP products are Cisco VARs since the services use Cisco gear. Both Cisco and Covad technicians are qualified on the combined solution and provide support equally well to the channel and end users, he adds.

McMorrow says the goal of the partnership is to make the VoIP service easier for the end customer to understand and buy, so the channel can sell more. For Cisco VARs, the combination means the addition of a recurring revenue stream to margins on the CallManager. Commission on the ClearEdge service range from 12 percent to 18 percent, he adds.

Cisco Systems Inc.
Covad Communications Group Inc.

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