As Skype looks to build out revenue streams following its IPO, the company has been launching programs targeting enterprise customers. Last week, Skype launched Skype Connect, which is a way for business’ employees to make domestic and international calls using regular office telephones. Today, Skype is unveiling its Skype Channel Partner Program that allows partners in the United States to sell endorsed IT support for Skype’s enterprise products.
The program will train Channel Partners in sales and marketing, customer tracking and reporting tools, as well as support and account management from Skype. Once trained and certified by Skype, Skype Channel Partners can provide their own consulting, installation, configuration, maintenance and support services to business customers who want to use Skype’s business offerings, including the Skype Business Client, Skype Manager and Skype Connect.
According to the release, “Channel Partners will help businesses set up Skype and buy and use Skype products. For example, they will help Skype Manager customers use and manage the Skype Business Client on their desktop and mobile phones via business accounts or connect their existing private branch exchange (PBX) or Unified Communications (UC) systems to Skype using Skype Connect.”
While channel partners cannot resell Skype products to customers, partners can sell third-party hardware and software for use with Skype. Skype says that twenty VARs and system integrators have been enrolled in and trained as part of the Skype Channel Partner Program, including Atlanta-based Precedent Technologies. From the release, it’s unclear what the financial terms of these partnerships are, but we can assume Skype must be taking a cut somewhere.
As stated in the company’s IPO filing, Skype is looking for revenue channels and sees potential in enterprise use of the service. Training IT consultants as Skype evangelists and support staff is is one way to help expand use of this service. David Gurlé, VP and general manager of Skype for Business echoes this in the release, saying “Channel Partner Program will help us scale service and support for our business customers.”