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Carrier Access' Shane Stark and the Art of Cloud 'Farming'

By James Anderson
March 12, 2017 - Article

James Anderson**Editor's Note: This is one of a series of profiles featuring Channel Partners advisory board members. Meet Stark and the rest of the board by attending the 2017 Channel Partners Conference & Expo. Register here.**

Shane Stark and Carrier Access are looking to take their clients deeper into digital transformation.

Stark, who directs vendor and channel relations for the Iowa-based company, says Carrier Access has been focusing on cloud migration, especially with its top 100 customers.

“One of our biggest initiatives right now is to be working with our top clients to make sure they are prepared to make that move," Stark told Channel Partners.

Stark says his company would like to encourage its connectivity clients to start the conversation about cloud and managed services. Carrier Access has hired a cloud expert to support the initiative.

“A lot of people know they need to go to cloud-based stuff. They’re just not sure how to get there, and they’re also not sure how to start."

Stark likened the process – in Iowa-fashion – to farming.

“We feel like it’s easier to sell current clients more stuff, more products, than it is to go out and acquire new. We still work on getting new clients, but we really work on managing our current base and selling them solutions that they need to help their business," he said.

Stark will share some of his digital transformation lessons at the upcoming Channel Partners Conference and Expo, where he will participate in a panel with WTG's Vince Bradley, Liquid Networx's Don Douglas and Acliviti's Ryan Young.

Stark says both the cloud and channel landscape will be affected by M&A. Carrier Access historically has been selective with cloud providers because of the volatility.

“[Cloud] was kind of the new shiny toy that everybody wanted," he said. “And the next thing you know, they’re out of business or something happened, and we’ve got clients at risk."

But Stark notes that the vigorous M&A activity of the last year is unlikely to continue at its current pace.

“I think the M&A will always be there, from what I would call large enterprise to picking-up-some-assets-from-smaller-companies standpoint, but I think from the 'Big 3' per se – AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink – I think they’ll continue to ...

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