Looking to get a foothold in the SMB market, Web hosting provider, Hostworks, has introduced its first channel model.
The company has struck a deal with communications integrator, Activ Australia, to on-sell its range of centrally hosted software applications.
Sales and marketing director, Klaus Bartosch, said the channel was the most cost-effective way for it to target the low end market.
"It's good fit with our business. What we don't have is the infrastructure and feet on the ground to support going direct to SMB customers," he said. "Activ had also been looking for a corporate grade managed services provider, and approached us at the same time as we were devising our SMB strategy."
Bartosch said Activ would target organisations with up to 200 users. Hostworks had traditionally focused on businesses with 200-1000 users and would continue to service these customers directly.
Activ will have access to Hostwork's software-as-a-service infrastructure to provide Microsoft Exchange, Office, SQL Server and Web Hosting. Applications will be charged on a per-seat basis and delivered online or via the customer's private network. The integrator will also be responsible for first level support.
"As Activ's customers demand more services, we will provide more applications," Bartosch said. These could include CRM and ERP software.
Activ CEO, Tim Watson, said branching into managed services was a way of expanding its customised solutions platform. The bulk of the integrator's business has been providing VPN services.
He forecast customers with multiple offices nationally as a key growth opportunity.
"We see it [applications hosting] as an emerging need. Managing IT internally is proving a pain for a lot of our customers," Watson said. "Disaster recovery is also becoming a big factor in a people's minds. Having systems hosted centrally in a failover environment is very appealing.
"We have taken the same approach with VoIP and partnered with a big business provider. This allows us to combine that infrastructure with our focus on quality of service."
Bartosch said Hostwork would look to appoint up to two additional channel partners to round out its SMB push.