**Editor's Note: Click here for our recent list of "Top Partners: The Best of the Best," featuring channel partners recognized by numerous companies in the industry.**
CenturyLink is on its way to becoming an IT house encompassing cloud, colocation, network and managed services.
And as the company, which made its mark in the indirect channel as a telecom provider, has moved toward that goal, some longtime agents have feared they would be left behind in favor of VARs and MSPs.
Not to worry.
“Yes, they have to evolve the company but they want us all to come with them," said Richard Murray, president of CarrierSales, a longtime CenturyLink master agent that has been making the shift to IT. “It’s not a, ‘Hey, we don’t care about you’ [situation]. There are going to be agencies that if they only do wireline, they probably will get left behind. But those of us that have evolved or are evolving, [CenturyLink is] going to help us evolve with them."
Indeed, the idea of transformation underscored CenturyLink’s mid-January Channel Alliance event in Denver. Over three days, CCA executives talked to nearly 400 participants about how the provider is bringing together cloud and network services – not just on the technology side, but within the channel.
To that point, Blake Wetzel, vice president of CenturyLink Channel Alliance, exhorted traditional telecom partners to define their place in the more IT-centric sales environment, and previewed go-to-market programs aimed at helping legacy partners target their customers’ new technology challenges with IT platforms. Elements include making certain commitments in return for earning MDFs.
“I’m excited about it," Murray said. “I think they’re doing good things, investing in the channel, and are committed to helping us evolve our business."
Meantime, what would a gathering of channel partners be without awards? Here’s the list of companies CenturyLink honored during its CCA event:
(winners on next page)