Cisco Systems’ Linksys division this week is launching a massive effort to get VARs to sell hosted VoIP services to small businesses.
Linksys is asking its partners to sell bundles that combine its new Linksys One product family with hosted VoIP services from partners such as MCI. But instead of making money on hardware, Linksys is pushing its partners to shift to an agent-like recurring revenue model paid by the teleco.
Jim Wyborny, president of ExpedIT Solutions, a partner in Carrollton, Texas, said that while he still makes decent margin on hardware, he’s more interested in the potential of selling services. “We’d like to take advantage of the opportunity to become a hosted service provider and have monthly revenue coming in,” he said.
Some VARs anticipate growing pains as they transition from hardware sales to services. Wyborny said he plans to hire up to five salespeople with certification and training to sell services.
Another wild card is whether VARs can count on telecom giants, who have repeatedly lowered agent fees or dropped them altogether, to stay the course.