by Rabon Bussey, Partner Technology Strategist
The Office 365 Partner Community is led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team. Partner Community activities include blog posts, discussions on Yammer, newsletters, and community calls.
- Add the December 4 US Office 365 Partner Technical Community call to your calendar
- Read the US Office 365 Partner Community blog posts, including the September series about FastTrack, and the October series about Identity Integration
- Join the US Office 365 Partners Group on Yammer
- Sign up for the US Office 365 Partner newsletter
This is part 2 of our Office 365 Partner Community series about adding Enterprise Voice for Office 365 customers. Read part 1 here.
How to make a business supplying Enterprise Voice to Office 365 customers
There are two questions to answer as you consider building a practice around supplying Enterprise Voice to Office 365 customers:
- What intellectual property (IP) do you have that can be used to create a packaged offering?
- How can you monetize the day two support?
Your business model must evolve to include IP services. By answering these two questions, you can begin to shift your business toward increased profitability.
When I think about packaged offerings, I typically want to know what is normally being done when I sell a solution. For example, is there a vertical industry solution that stands out? Which deals are most profitable, and what are the commonalities of those deals? What factors commonly slow down a sale, and what issues frequently occur during deployment, that can be consistently addressed? By packaging these things together, you may be able to close more deals that are more profitable for your business. A packaged offering can also help sales teams be more productive, by reducing the amount of time that requires engineering involvement. In the end, you want to add more high-value services—while reducing risk.
The graphic below lists several services provided by Microsoft partners that may work well when sold and delivered as a packaged service.
Lync deployment offerings
With Lync deployments, there are two areas that come to my mind that frequently cause issues: network bandwidth (especially wireless), and quality end points. My own packaged offering would include both of these, in addition to the normal services associated with a Lync deployment.
Something I think every partner should offer is a network assessment. If you don’t do this today, or are partnering for that part of your project, consider adding that capability. Here are three resources to review:
- Lync Network Readiness Assessment course on Channel 9
- Lync Network Readiness Assessment on Microsoft Virtual Academy
- Enterprise Networking with Microsoft Lync Server 2013: Network Bandwidth and QoS Requirements from TechEd Europe 2014
Industry vertical offerings
Your expertise in verticals is a great opportunity for creating packaged offerings. If you have expertise in health care, for example, and have had success with Lync in health care environments, why not capitalize on it?
Maybe it’s distance medicine to bring expertise to small hospitals, or mobile care solutions for in-home care. If you see trends in your business today that fall into a specific vertical space, it is an opportunity to evaluate creating a specialized offering that showcases your specific expertise. If you also have application development capabilities, you may be able to create applications that tie line-of-business applications to Lync within their app. Using mobile care as an example, you could connect GPS features to a dispatch function inside an app that allows a patient to know when a care provider will arrive.
Add training to your offering
Training is an often overlooked part of the project. Not only can you offer technical training for those who will administer the new environment, but you can offer training for those who will use the new solution. This can be added to the IP, be part of the managed service solution, or both. You can start with the Lync 2013 Rollout and Adoption Success Kit (RASK) User Education and Training Resources, a download that contains Quick Reference Cards, training modules, videos, and links to online articles. Then, you can tailor the material to meet customer needs, based on your packaged offering. Training can add to your services margin, while providing a smooth adoption of Lync. Two additional resources:
- Developing an Effective Readiness and Adoption Plan training on demand (Live Meeting recording)
- Introduction to the Lync 2013 Rollout and Adoption Success Kit (RASK)
In my examples and suggestions above, I’ve covered just a few items that could fall into the project. On TechNet, there are comprehensive lists of activities for Planning for Lync Server 2013 and Deployment of Lync Server 2013. You should also take a look at the Lync solutions catalog to see what other partners are already doing to complete the solution. The catalog includes both hardware and software, so if you are looking for endpoints, SBCs, or Branch Office solutions to include, you can find them in the catalog.
Finally, I encourage you to look at the Software Assurance Planning Services that some customers have access to once they have purchased their licenses. You can get paid for helping our customers to get ready for deploying our solutions. Learn more about Lync deployment planning services here.
In my next post in the Office 365 Community blog series, I’ll talk about recurring revenue options for the Lync Voice solution.
On our December 4 Office 365 Community call, we’ll go in-depth on this topic. Download the calendar invite to add the December 4 US Office 365 Partner Technical Community call to your calendar, and join the conversation in the Office 365 Partners group on Yammer, too.