Express Data's newly created emerging channels division will focus heavily on creating unified communications and software-as-a-service opportunities for channel partners.
The distributor recently appointed its national BDM manager, Shannon Muller, to head up the emerging channels business. She has been joined by Levi Sutherland, who will oversee its unified communications initiatives, and Allan Kivell, who will look after its agency offering, IT Agent.
"There's a lot of pressure around new opportunities. This division is about investing and finding new trends then working out how we as a channel can make money from them," Muller said.
One of the ways Express Data plans to do this is by providing a test-bed for partners to assess ideas for growth through a proven enablement vehicle.
"We're about being future focused - we want to help people realise the opportunities and ideas they have. We'll also look at what value model Express Data can deliver," Muller said.
Express Data has already commenced on a major unified communications (UC) push, launching a program to help resellers take advantage of the emerging technology area.
Muller said a broad range of resellers had already signed up and were being categorised into four areas - basic, standard, rationalised and dynamic. Rankings depend on a partner's skill set and what types of UC offerings they take to customers.
Another area of focus for the emerging channels division was software-as-a-service (SaaS), Muller said.
"Wouldn't it be great if the channel could assist vendors to take that SaaS model and leverage it? So far, many of the successful SaaS vendors haven't necessarily pushed things through the channel. We want to have proven test cases and show why the channel is the best route to market," she said.
Express Data was looking at adding more staff and resources for emerging channels depending on which strategies it chooses to develop, she said.
"We have a very broad scope. Unified communications for example is an emerging market, so the way the channel takes it to market is emerging too. On the other hand, our Open Value business with Microsoft is about different ways the channel integrates their business to deliver something to customers," she said.