Digium will grow its reach within the channel partner community with the expansion of its Cloud Agent program, which will allow channel partners to offer Switchvox Cloud services to small- and medium-sized business (SMB) customers.

The telecommunications company announced that Acuity Technologies and Clarus Communications are the first two companies named master agents in its Cloud Agent program. As master agents, Acuity and Clarus will have the ability to manage partners and subagents who sell Digium’s services to business customers while receiving recurring commissions for their work.

“Digium joined the rapidly growing UC-as-a-service market in 2012 and launched a Cloud Agent program in early 2013, which resulted in rapid growth of Switchvox Cloud. The expansion of our Cloud Agent program offers multiple levels of participation and entitlements attractive to various telephony agents,” said Jim Butler, Digium’s director of Global Channel Sales, in a prepared statement. “We are pleased to welcome our first two master agents, Acuity Technologies and Clarus Communications. Together, we are expanding the opportunity for agents to deliver Switchvox Cloud in the lucrative UCaaS (unified communications-as-a-service) market.”

The Cloud Agent program operates on a hierarchal structure: Partners designated as master agents are given the most responsibility in selling Digium’s services to customers, while subsequent levels are tasked with less responsibility. Essentially, master agents manage partner relationships while Digium oversees all dealings and offers a cut to its agents based on rank. Premier agents will operate independently, while subagents will derive their commissions from the master agents.  Digium partners are matched to the level which best fits each individual company’s business model, according to the press release.

The veteran unified communications (UC) business phone system company originally created its open source Asterisk software in 1999 and recently began utilizing its Switchvox service to host enterprise phone services via the cloud. While the company still offers customers the opportunity for on-premise and hybrid cloud hosting services, its virtual offerings have taken priority with the rapid adoption of software virtualization.

The expanded cloud agent program is particularly interesting because it will allow Digium's agents to take on the majority of the responsibility of courting new customers and managing daily interactions. It will be interesting to see if this business model catches on with other IT companies as they look to streamline their responsibilities and put more power in the hands of the channel partners while simultaneously reaping the benefits of more expansive customer bases.