8x8: The Channel View

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

8x8: The Channel View

I spoke with a sub-agent of 8x8, Tom Palmer, President of Adrena Speed Solutions. Palmer has been selling 8x8 services for a while. He told me about the time (around 2006) when Packet8 was the service brand of 8x8 that had just switched from a residential service to a small business offering. Palmer says it has come a long way since then.

The name, Packet8, has been moth balled, but the service has improved greatly in the last year, especially the call quality. The company does testing now to insure that the Internet Access is good enough for 8x8's BYOB voice service. (test.8x8.com) 8x8 started offering HD Voice in 2010 to enable High Definition calling for business phone service subscribers. Prior to that, under the Packet8 brand, H.264 video calling was trialed with a video terminal adapter and a video phone. They still offer a video phone, the Polycom VVX 1500. In addition, 8x8 offers conferencing with video and video through the softphone by Counterpath.

The 8x8 Virtual Office is a feature rich service offering for small business, targeting 99 seat sor less. Palmer typically sells 2-3 phones per deal. Polycom is the preferred handset, but Cisco ATA's and phones are also available.

The channel program is still in its infancy, but Palmer says there are many positive signs. A quoting portal that allows agents to not only pick the price point (and the accompanying commission) but get the quote with taxes and fees included - something most other voice providers - VoIP, ITSP, CLEC and cellco - cannot do.

Palmer had high praise for his channel manager, Vincent Mussumeci, who went above and beyond the call of duty to help close deals. Palmer said that 8x8 is easy to work with, especially given his channel manager. 8x8 pays spiffs to agents.

Conferencing, call recording, call center, CPE fulfillment, Internet faxing, agent quoting portal, testing tool, number porting tool, hosting and cloud, along with improved call quality make 8x8 a viable choice for Virtual PBX for small business. It also makes 8x8 - at $100 million in annual revenue and a public company - a hot acquisition target.

Palmer is a sub-agent of WTG, who is the only master agent for 8x8. I had a chance to talk with Vince Bradley of WTG about 8x8. Bradley mentioned that affiliates and referrals are still viable channela for 8x8 (as it is for RingCentral and other VoIP Providers that can take orders via the website). The Channel program is just getting fired up.

Bradley confirmed that 8x8 is generally quoted to the very small business, but that 8x8 is making strides to move up-market.

While ATA's and IP Phones are pre-configured and shipped to the business owner, 8x8 does utilize Endeavor Telecom's nationwide network of techs for installation of larger accounts and for tech support.

8x8 offers a wide range of hosting, including geographically dispersed managed hosting and VPS through Zerigo, their hosting brand acquired in 2011, which has data centers in NYC and Silicon Valley. 8x8 also offers virtual desktop via VMware View.

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