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AIKI Informatique: A Montreal Based Service Provider Proud of Their Regional Partnership with SherWeb

Partner

AIKI Informatique

Industry

Managed Services

# Employees

10

Solution

Office 365

Do you have any burning questions about virtualization, networking or IT security? If so, you should speak to Francesco Capaldo and Steven Badia. They are experts who have joined forces to form AIKI Informatique, an essential contact for any SMB in the greater Montreal area.

AIKI comes from the Japanese word meaning to combine strengths, which is exactly what these two IT professionals have done. In 1990, they created a company that sells computer equipment; today they also offer outsourcing services and technical support to more than 75 clients in the region.

Riding the Cloud Wave

At the beginning, AIKI offered its clients a range of hardware options, from servers, computers, and multifunction printers, to switches and wireless routers. Their technical support department also helped to guide clients when choosing, and implementing, adapted IT solutions.

However, when virtualization technology first appeared on the market and began to gain momentum, AIKI quickly saw that the cloud was an opportunity for both them and their customers. The decision process was simple for them; businesses are always looking to reduce their costs, and the cloud responds effectively to this need. Fast forward to today, and they are now able to offer their clients access to virtual machines in a secure data center in Montreal.

Their next step was to develop their own event software, Meeting Management System. This software is available in the cloud and on-premises, and is used for events across the world, particularly for medical conferences.

Hosting Mailboxes with SherWeb Since 2011

So, how was the partnership between AIKI and SherWeb born? It all started when a client contacted Capaldo asking whether he could help them host their emails. AIKI evaluated the different ways they could fulfil the client’s request, and came to the conclusion that forming a partnership with a hosted service provider was the best option for everyone.

AIKI joined the SherWeb Partner Network in 2011, and began offering white-label hosted Exchange services. This way they could now provide their customers with great support.

Early Adopters: The Office 365 Adventure

A little later, when Microsoft had ironed out the early kinks with Office 365 and clients began to voice interest in the platform, AIKI immediately added it to their portfolio and joined the Microsoft Online Services Advisor program. This program, launched in 2012, allowed resellers to earn annual commission for each Office 365 contract.

Everything went smoothly until 2014, when the duo started to see their commission decline.  Microsoft was slowly phasing out their Advisor program, replacing it with a new, more structured, Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.

From this point, annual commissions were replaced with monthly payouts, following the cloud model, and Microsoft began classing their partners into two models; Direct and Indirect. As the name suggests, Direct CSPs work directly with Microsoft, and resellers that work with them have to meet a number of difficult requirements, such as a monthly recurring revenue of a few thousand dollars and the capacity to handle the customer relationship from beginning to end. If a reseller can’t meet these requirements, they can sell the same products indirectly, following the Indirect model, by working with a CSP distributor. With this model, all the responsibility to provide infrastructure falls on the CSP distributor, not the reseller, so it is a far simpler process that allows the reseller to get to market much quicker.

AIKI took the time to review their strategy and decided they wanted to follow the Indirect model, so needed to do business with a CSP Distributor that could provide them with a reliable platform for billing and payment. When Capaldo started to shop around for a distributor to partner with in 2017, he was pleasantly surprised to see SherWeb listed alongside big names like Ingram Micro and TechData.

A New Start with a Regional Partnership

When AIKI decided to transfer their clients from Microsoft’s Online Services Advisor program to SherWeb’s CSP program SherWeb was offering a credit promotion, on top of better monthly commissions. That’s what you call starting off on the right foot with Office 365!

Over the next 12 months, Capaldo and Badia predict a growth of 10-20% in their Office 365 sales. They take their partnership with SherWeb seriously and don’t limit themselves to being a silent member of the network, they have freely given their opinions on a number of different tools, such as Cumulus. They have also given SherWeb lots of feedback and made suggestions that they believe could help streamline their, and other partners’, business.

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