A $55 million acquisition set to close this summer symbolizes a major step in closing the gap between the managed service provider (MSP) and cloud services spaces. In late January, third-party Microsoft Exchange hosting provider Intermedia (News - Alert) entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire MSP and cloud-based communications solutions provider Telanetix, which is doing business as AccessLine.
When the deal is made final, Intermedia, which is already the world’s largest third-party hosted Exchange provider, will become one of the largest U.S. providers of cloud voice and hosted PBX (News - Alert) services for SMBs. The acquisition is one of the latest examples of an MSP and cloud player merging their offerings, narrowing the gap between the two growing segments to create a carefully and fully managed cloud services experience.
As small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) are increasingly searching for reliable cloud communications solutions that are scalable, adaptable and well-priced to help them grow, the combined company aims to meet SMBs’ existing and future cloud voice and other services requirements, according to Intermedia President Michael Gold.
“Additionally, AccessLine’s management team comes to us with deep telecom experience that will be heavily leveraged to grow the business. By enabling Intermedia’s core positioning as a provider of tightly integrated cloud services for SMBs, this deal reduces risk to our plan and, more importantly, to customers and partners,” explains Gold.
The acquisition will also help the Mountain View, Calif.-company further execute its “Office in the Cloud” vision of offering an integrated suite of cloud services to SMBs and the channels that serve them, says Gold.
“This also benefits our customers through an expanded product, improvements in the quality and reliability of services, expansion of their VoIP products and the addition of distribution channels to choose from,” he says. “The acquisition also brings in a seasoned team with significant experience running a large and scalable hosted PBX, SIP trunking, and individual phone services operations.”
When the acquisition is completed in July, Gold expects to retain AccessLine’s entire team, and plans to announce any organizational changes when the transaction closes this summer. He says a “significant factor” behind Intermedia’s decision to move forward with the acquisition was retaining AccessLine’s team. AccessLine’s CEO, Doug Johnson (News - Alert), and the AccessLine team are expected to remain with the company, according to Gold.
“The transaction is designed to help grow the business of the combined company and with growth come opportunities for employees of the combined company. Since the two companies offer complementary capabilities, have assets with minimal overlap, and reflect a strong cultural fit, we expect the integration to be smooth,” says Gold.
Looking ahead, Intermedia expects to see continued evolution of the channel this year, in line with many important advancements in technology.
“Key Microsoft (News - Alert) offerings, including Windows 8, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync and Office 2013 will serve as significant drivers for upgrade-based sales, as well as reconsideration of existing underlying technologies, such as on-premise versus cloud,” predicts Gold.
There will also be a continued increase in the move to tablets and smartphones, which changes the model for channels, which will essentially drive the adoption of synchronization technologies like ActiveSync, File Synching, BES, along with cloud storage.
“The move to tablets and smartphones will also drive a significantly greater convergence between the traditional data-centric IT channel and telco-based channel partners,” Gold explains. “We believe that considerably higher consumer acceptance of public clouds will occur due to marketing efforts by Microsoft and Google (News - Alert), eventually leading to various forms of cloud services becoming the first choice of technology platforms in the channel. We also expect an upswing in demand for other hosted services including hosted VoIP/PBX and cloud servers resulting from this transformation.”
Much like the channel, business models are expected to evolve as well, Gold adds, and there will likely be more flexibility in billing terms in addition to the more standard cloud model of monthly payments.
“Intermedia will continue to develop, support and serve our customers with high quality cloud communications solutions. We will continue to invest and expand in the Hosted PBX service and our capabilities in this business,” Gold summarizes. “In addition, we will further execute on our Office in the Cloud vision of offering an integrated suite of cloud services to SMBs and the channels that serve them.”
Edited by Stefania Viscusi