IndependenceIT revamps partner program

The new program, Cloud Start Initiative, adds a new tier for partners just moving into the cloud, and takes advantage of new capabilities in the IndependenceIT software to facilitate administrative self-deployment, as well as enhancements related to the Microsoft CSP program.

Seth Bostock, IndependenceIT’s CEO

Today, at the 2017 Microsoft Cloud and Hosting Summit in Bellevue, Washington, IndependenceIT is announcing a new Cloud Start Initiative for partners. While it isn’t being overtly branded as such, the new initiative is in fact a redo of IndependenceIT’s channel program. Nor is the venue coincidental for the announcement. Changes to IndependenceIT’s software led to enhanced functionality for Microsoft CSPs, and in turn led to a desire to open up the program.

The IndependenceIT Cloud Workspace Suite is a workspace automation software platform. It unifies cloud, applications, data, and user management to simplify the entire IT systems lifecycle, and lets IT service providers provision and manage software-defined data centres, AppServices and cloud-based IT workspaces through a single pane of glass.

IndependenceIT last redid its channel program in 2015, and the objective was fairly simple, if practical. They moved from a single tier program to a two tier one, in order to better support and reward their most committed partners. With the Cloud Start Initiative, they are changing the structure once again, to a three tier program, each of which has a separate engagement level.

“We still have a regular tier, and an Elite level tier,” said Seth Bostock, IndependenceIT’s CEO. “What we are adding now, is something we never had before, a tier for folks looking to get started, and engage in rapid deployment on the public cloud. The new structure fits the needs of where the partner is in their cloud lifecycle and their level of sophistication, from the ‘let’s get started’ to the highly skilled.”

The decision to change the program structure was prompted by IndependenceIT’s move to Version 5 of its software last year, and particularly the new 5.1 release, which came out three weeks ago at the end of February.

“Version 5.0 had a significant change in the ability of the software to allow for administrative self- deployment for a partner,” Bostock said. “That’s an advancement that made it amenable to open up a lower tier.”

That means IndependenceIT will be looking to add a significant number of new service providers, who will initially enter in the Cloud Start tier for partners who are just beginning in the cloud.

“Recruitment is absolutely a primary objective of this change,” Bostock said. “We will work with newly recruited partners as part of their evolution.”

Version 5.1 was also a major force for changing the program, because it has a number of announcements around the Microsoft CSP program. They include support for Windows 2016 Session Server, full stack support for Microsoft Azure Resource Manager, and support for Office 365 Single Authentication.

“It’s just the perfect time to make this kind of move, now that we are able to satisfy partners in all those tiers from a capability perspective,” Bostock said.

Each of the three tiers has its own pricing option. That introductory Cloud Start tier includes support for one software-defined data centre, 15 managed users, or 50 virtual machines. Cloud Start is priced at $100 per month per SDDC.

“It is designed to help an MSP try out a customer or two and get started quickly,” Bostock said.

“The second tier, Cloud Start Pro, is for the partner that has a multi-vendor strategy or multiple customers they want to deploy quickly,” Bostock indicated. “The price of $200 per month per SDDC includes support for two software-defined data centres, 30 managed users, or 100 virtual machines.

“There is no cost to manage it, and the product is available for auto-deployment on the public cloud,” Bostock added.

The Cloud Elite tier is designed for IT service providers deploying advanced and customized solutions in simplified and standardized cloud installations. It is a highly customized plan, which includes a custom number of software-defined data centres, a custom number of managed users, and a custom number of virtual machines.

“A lot of the Elite partners leverage our API, as well as the dev/ops capabilities of the program,” Bostock said. While there are over 100 partners in the program today, there are only around ten Elite partners.

The new program goes live today.