Last fall I attended a partner summit that master agency MicroCorp hosted in Atlanta where MicroCorp President Brad Miehl said something to his sales partners that stuck with me: "Our relevancy is being challenged. We need to find other ways to deliver value to our customers."
Miehl's audience was largely telecom agents or VARs that also sell carrier services, but the message applies to all channel partners — agents, VARs, dealers, integrators, etc., that are dealing with telecom and IT commoditization, consumerization and convergence.
Commoditization turns you into a quote shop. Consumerization often circumvents your role in the purchase of products/services. Convergence means you may have only half a solution. Obviously, none of these scenarios is future-proof.
Miehl's answer is to provide managed services, specifically managed WAN services, to customers on top of the connectivity MicroCorp and its subagents sell. This approach delivers business value that's not intrinsic to the underlying service, helping the partner remain relevant.
Creating business value from telecom and IT solutions is critical for channel partners. As such it will be a primary focus for Channel Partners and the theme of our Spring 2013 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, Feb. 27-March 1, in Las Vegas. It also is the foundation of our new awards program, Channel Partners 360°, which recognizes agents, VARs, dealers and MSPs not for their size but for their holistic approach to technology solutions for their customers.
It's our mission to help partners along their evolution to an end-to-end offer by helping them connect with suppliers and peers from the IT and telecom worlds, which increasingly are converging as noted in our story on crossover between tech distributors and telecom master agencies. One way we do that is through the expo, which has become the gathering point for IT and telecom channels. We also do this through alliances with groups like CompTIA, the IT industry association; The 2112 Group, an IT channel consulting and information company; and our newest alliance with Baptie & Co. and its Cloud Services Community.
Buoyed by our joint work on agent-VAR partnering, CompTIA is rolling out a telecom community for its members. The 2112 Group is continuing our joint work on channel convergence in the cloud with the Cloud & Technology Transformation Alliance. Meanwhile, the Cloud Services Community offers an online forum for telecom agents and IT partners to come together to talk about opportunities in the cloud and find vendors and partners.
Please take advantage of these resources in your own quest to remain relevant.
See you in Vegas!
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