Jamcracker, XO to Provide On-Demand Services for SMBs

The companies team up to deliver a suite of collaboration, mobility and security software applications for small and midsize businesses.

On-demand IT services provider Jamcracker has landed a major deal with IP service provider XO Communications to deliver a suite of collaboration, mobility and security software applications for small and midsize businesses.

XO will provide these services over Jamcrackers advanced, nationwide facilities-based IP network, called Jamcracker Services Delivery Network. XO, based in Reston, Va., serves 75 metropolitan markets across the United States.

The companies announced the deal on May 23 at the ISPCon Spring Conference in Orlando, Fla., where they presented a joint session on on-demand services for SMBs.

These new services will be available in two phases beginning in the third quarter of 2007 directly from XO Communications and through its reseller channel partners.

Phase 1 services are: Arsenal Digital Solutions online desktop backup; BlackBerry mobile hosted services; McAfee Total Protection for Small Business hosted security; Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail; and Microsoft SharePoint collaboration server.

Phase 2 services will include additional, higher-value-add hosted business services, said Steve Crawford , vice president of marketing for Jamcracker, in Santa Clara, Calif.

Jamcracker Services Delivery Networks business-process outsourcing service includes help desk services, billing, collections, settlement, a hosted services-delivery platform, infrastructure management, and content/ISV wholesale distribution agreements.

Jamcracker customers can choose from a catalog of hundreds of software services and rapidly deliver those on-demand applications, Crawford said.

Automating the back end

JSDN will provide the following capabilities for XO:

  • IT Automation: Enables the automated and unified provisioning, management, and delivery of the services noted above and others.
  • Vendor Management: JSDN has negotiated master distribution agreements and completed JSDN service integration with dozens of software and other on-demand service providers, allowing XO Communications and its channel partners to resell these products immediately.
  • Support and Billing Administration: Provides XO Communications-branded call center support services as well as payment processing and settlement.

"The ability to deliver on-demand services, even for a market leader like XO Communications, requires a specialized infrastructure and patchwork of license agreements that are not easily put into place," Crawford said.

"By offloading the IT, procurement and support/billing administration associated with software as a service, were enabling XO and its channel partners to become more of a one-stop shop to meet the telecom and IT needs of their [SMB] customers."

Pricing for the services will range from $2 to $15 per application/per seat/per month, Charlie Cary, vice president of Small Business Services for XO Communications, told eWEEK.

"Basically, our customers will never have to worry about setting up and configuring servers, power and cooling issues, finding real estate to build a data center—their up-front capital costs are nil," Cary said.

"Deploying, maintaining and supporting mission-critical services such as e-mail, security, and storage are not core competencies of [SMBs], nor should they be. Through this partnership with Jamcracker we are enabling our customers to procure such services from industry leaders, allowing them to focus on running their business, not their IT systems," Cary said.

Analyst: SAAS just heating up

SMBs are increasingly interested in offloading various aspects of their IT and network operations to trusted solution providers so they can focus on their core businesses, said Jeffrey M. Kaplan, managing director of Thinkstrategies, a market research company focused on the on-demand services market.

"According to its partners/customers, Jamcracker is doing a good job delivering on its promises," Kaplan told eWEEK. "However, SAAS [software as a service] adoption is just heating up and channel providers, like XO, are just beginning to recognize the market opportunity and learning how to leverage Jamcrackers solution. So, Jamcracker is still building its business.

"This deal illustrates how new channels are developing in the SAAS market, permitting new players to participate in the market and customers to access new sources to obtain SAAS solutions."

Other IP carriers, such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, also provide services for SMBs.

Mike West, analyst and vice president of Saugatuck Technology, told eWEEK that "having been in the services delivery business for almost a decade, Jamcracker has a significant head start over any carrier looking to build its own services delivery network. This could be the first of many similar deals in which Jamcracker delivers the provisioning capabilities for a business services marketplace in conjunction with a carrier.

"As for XO, certainly being able to partner with the likes of a Jamcracker levels the playing field for them against larger, more established carriers."

Saugatuck has concluded that by 2008, a new SAAS business services provisioning model will emerge, analyst Mark Koenig told eWEEK.

"Under this model, pure-play SAAS solutions will combine with business services from both next-generation and traditional managed services and BPO providers. Partnerships like this one between XO and Jamcracker will be the foundation of these new business services," Koenig said.

"What will ultimately make or break the success of these marketplaces will be the presence of a robust channel that can add value to the services by knitting them together to meet the customers specific needs."

Check out eWEEK.coms Security Center for the latest security news, reviews and analysis. And for insights on security coverage around the Web, take a look at eWEEKs Security Watch blog.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...