There’s a business challenge brewing in the mainstream IT channel that some are ignoring, others are talking about, and a select few have embraced — and turned into a new relationship and a revenue opportunity that keeps on growing. It’s focused on the wide area network (WAN), ties back to the local area network (LAN) and includes everything and everyone that wants to securely connect to both.
The challenge isn’t around the technology itself, although that definitely comes into play. The bigger issue is around the customer relationship. Who owns it? Who wants it? And who will win the business at the end of the day?
With the advent and adoption of cloud, the rules of engagement have changed. Historically, the telecom providers, or telcos, owned the WAN and the VARs and MSPs owned the LAN. It was a clean cut. But as appliances, content, applications, and services are being deployed more often in the cloud, these dividing lines are being erased — opening up road to revenue where these two channels will ultimately collide or collaborate.
The Wants And Needs Match Up
The fact is many of the most popular cloud services being offered today — such as unified communications, collaboration technology, and wireless — are in the wheelhouse of telco providers and agents who own data centers, and have the existing backbone, fiber, and transport to bring these solutions to life cost-effectively for a small or midsize business (SMB). It’s a strong and profitable position to be in, but lacks two core elements to close a SMB deal that only a VAR or MSP can deliver: 1) The relationship and trust of the business owner, and 2) The expertise required to integrate and manage the technology as part of the existing service contract.
These two critical misses are what’s driving many telcos to seek out successful VARs and MSPs that know the business, have clients under management and want access to these technologies right now. Any smart vendor knows that the first call a small business owner is going to make when it comes to new technology is to the company’s VAR or MSP. That’s why instead of competing and cold calling, partner-minded telco companies including Windstream and Masergy are working with us to forge new relationships with channel partners and establish a long-term recurring revenue model that’s mutually beneficial.
The Opportunity Is Real, The Time Is Now
One of the biggest mistakes a VAR or MSP can make when it comes to cloud-based technologies is to sit and do nothing. The market is advancing quickly and if you don’t embrace change, the opportunity to capitalize from it and form alliances with new strategic partners will pass you by. As a result of cloud computing and mobile devices, the WAN and the LAN are no longer two separate working environments. These technologies have converged for good, requiring a new service model that offers a broad and deep expertise that is backed by a personalized approach to the business.
This new era of anywhere, anytime computing is changing the rules, which is why we’re seeing more and more M&A activity between telcos, agents, and IT solutions providers. It’s not a fad. These companies are adapting and building an A-team that can proactively address the needs and wants of SMBs by deploying and managing the latest technical innovations, services and solutions. It’s what’s happening now and it’s what’s happening next.
If you’re not collaborating with a telecom connectivity provider to address the needs of your customers, you’re on a collision course that will get you into the cloud one way or another.
Ted Schuman is CEO of PlanetOne Communications (www.planetone.net), a partner for identifying and delivering connectivity solutions to small and midsize businesses and enterprises. With more than two decades of experience in the telecom industry, Schuman has established successful alliances among PlanetOne and more than 185 global services providers. Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ., PlanetOne has been celebrated by Inc. magazine as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies for four years running.
Published with Business Solutions
PlanetOne is the IT channel and telecom industry’s preferred business partner for identifying and delivering cloud-based and connectivity solutions to small and midsize businesses and enterprises. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., the industry pioneer is celebrated by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies and regarded as a top-performing partner for hundreds of telecom agents and channel partners nationwide. The award-winning PlanetOne Partner Program has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Channel Programs in the industry for the past five consecutive years by Channel Partners and recently named to CRN’s 2014 Connectivity Partner Guide. To reach PlanetOne call (877) 487.8353 or e-mail email@example.com.
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Suzanne Collier, WhiteFox Marketing for PlanetOne