intY first launched Cascade 12 months ago in Europe and the platform currently serves 80 managed service providers globally, intY CEO Chris Baldock told me. He says MSPs and the channel are the best equipped to sell cloud-based services because they can bundle together the applications from many different vendors into a value-added package.
“Cascade is a connector-based architecture,” he said. “Partners can create their own services. Or they can take services from our library of services as well.
“The challenge for application vendors is difficult. Microsoft is not likely to start reselling Salesforce.com. But those two vendors are great bed partners, they marry together quite well. It takes an aggregator to put those together.”
The Cascade platform features a range of unified communications and security services from application providers including Microsoft, Symantec, SIPCOM, F-Secure and intY itself, enabling partners to quickly take new services to market and sell them to customers.
According to intY, bundled solutions are delivered under a single service level agreement, via one bill, with the assurance of contractual and licensing compliance. Partners can select services provisioned and hosted from data centers located in the most appropriate country to ensure data sovereignty is upheld, the company said.
Mark Herbert, business development director and architect of Cascade, describes Cascade this way: “Unlike other first generation control panel systems, Cascade is a channel eco-system where anyone can buy and anyone can sell. Resellers and vendors alike can drag and drop services, like an appstore, to provision bundled IT solutions for their customers, or re-sell their own services to other partners. It’s a highly collaborative sales environment that incorporates all the building blocks to sell, deploy and provision multi-vendor IT services, via the cloud, helping the channel identify and quickly pursue new markets and margins.”
intY says that key features of the provisioning platform include the following:
- Interoperable connector architecture – Hosted on Microsoft Azure, Cascade can support almost any cloud-based service, regardless of whether the application is hosted by intY, the customer or vendor’s infrastructure.
- Vendor contracts – Pre-negotiated commercial terms and licensing agreements for partners to quickly build and price solutions.
- Branded storefronts – Via their own branded ‘storefront’ partners can drag and drop services to create bundled solutions for customers, as well as upload services to the marketplace. Customers can also be provided secure, personalized access to self-serve products and services.
- Sales enablement – Full integration and marketing support with each CASCADE service to accelerate time-to-market and customer implementation.
- Billing – Integrated with partner’s own billing processes, to ensure simplicity of billing system and continuity of customer-partner relationship.
Cloud Market Trends
So how will this whole cloud marketplace shape up in the future? Baldock told me he’s seen telecom equipment resellers hopping on the cloud bandwagon a lot faster than their IT reseller counterparts.
Another trend? “Traditionally, small companies have sold to small companies. When you moved to cloud-based applications, those chains are broken away. Smaller companies can supply much larger organizations. You now have the opportunity to get into the 200 seat and above market where you can do more differentiation.”
Here's another look at the Cascade launch from our sister site, Talkin' Cloud.