The deal will make Evolve IP’s voice integration between Microsoft Teams and Cisco VoiP available in Canada for the first time. It will also be sold initially through a Master Agent-style commission model, although that’s likely to evolve itself long-term.
Cloud distributor Pax8 has partnered with Wayne PA-based Cloud Service Provider [CSP] Evolve IP, to bring Evolve Teams with Enterprise Voice to Pax8’s MSP partners across North America. Ideally suited for today’s distributed home office situations, Evolve Teams with Enterprise Voice natively integrates the Microsoft Teams collaboration service with Cisco’s VoIP communications platform.
Evolve IP is a major CSP across eight countries and 14 data centres, although they are not as well known in the Canadian market because they do not have a physical presence here – yet. While they are similar in some ways to other large CSPs, they have some significant differentiation as well.
“We are very much like RingCentral, although they focus more on the UC component and collaboration,” said Guy Fardone, CEO and Founding Partner of Evolve IP. “We do more than that. In addition to this collaboration with Microsoft, we provide contact centre as well as workspace offerings. We concentrate on bundled offerings, and we partner with private label and white label organizations.”
Evolve IP may soon have a direct presence in Canada.
“We could be there by the end of the year, possibly through an acquisition,” Fardone indicated.
Pax8 will be making this offering available to its Canadian partners now, however. It integrates Microsoft Teams Direct Routing and a platform-level integration of Cisco communications, to provide Teams with enterprise-grade voice services, including forwarding calls off network.
“Microsoft Teams has the collaboration component and telephony component, and it fills a phenomenal gap in the marketplace,” Fardone said. “But they don’t have what we would consider to be enterprise grade voice for a very robust SLA. Microsoft Teams isn’t at 4 9s uptime. That’s what we bring with our native integration with Teams.”
“There is already great impetus around Microsoft Teams,” said Andrew Pryfogle, Chief Market Development Officer at Pax8. “We chose to work with Evolve IP because they fully voice enable Microsoft Teams.”
The offering is ideally suited for today’s remote working environment, but while MSPs will certainly be able to offer it to customers as a way to improve communications from home-based workplaces during the pandemic, the timing is a co-incidence.
“We started talking about this nine months ago,” Fardone noted. “It’s just very apropos that we can deliver this very much in demand product for both MSPs and end users now. However, collaboration was on the rise before COVID 19, and there’s no going back.” Evolve Teams with Enterprise Voice provides a full range of call control functions and advanced features, like multi-level auto-attendants, advanced hunt groups, overhead paging, receptionist clients, and call recording for non-Teams users as well as for Teams.
“With our partner community, the work-from-anywhere kind of environment is the new normal,” Pryfogle added. “This pandemic will go away, but companies are recognizing that work from home can be productive. Teams in itself has been a huge enabler of that, which has had far faster adoption than Slack or other collaboration platforms.”
Evolve Teams with Enterprise Voice differs from the vast majority of solutions Pax8 offers to MSPs in that it will be sold out of the gate through a master-agent referral-based model rather than a resell one.
“I come from the master agency world,” said Pryfogle, who joined Pax8 last summer after more than seven years at master agent Intelisys. “That’s where I know Evolve IP from. We believe there is an awesome opportunity to open up a brand new channel that most of our MSPs are not yet in.”
Many MSPs are not selling using this model because they prefer a resell model rather than the commission-based one of the master-agent. Pryfogle pointed out two things, however. First, the commission-based model can be used for some offerings within an overall resell model. Secondly, the commission-based model is not fixed in stone for this product, but is a way of bringing it to market more quickly.
“We think there are some products and services that fit with a commission model,” he said. “We have 10,000 MSPs and their preferred model is a resell model. We want to enable them to sell the way they want to sell, but the commission model is easier to get to market faster.”
The long-term plan is to offer more choice in the way the solution is available.
“Longer term, we absolutely intend on adopting it on a resale model as well,” Pryfogle said. “It’s just more complex to do that. We will continue to build out motions where MSPs want to have access to these types of technologies, for example in categories like SD-WAN. Doing it this way is about speed to market for both of us.”
Pryfogle said that the commission-based service can fit easily within a Pax8 Stax of complementary services.
“We have agents today who sell in the co-managed IT space,” he indicated. “The models can cross over for sure. We are building out our network and communication Stax to supporting both commission and resell models. That put our partners in a position to take on all this spend, not just pieces of it, and provide a complete solution.”
Pax8 is also now selling Zoom Video Communications through a Master Agent model as well. Zoom launched that Master Agent channel, which is new for them, in March.