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As part of its regular coverage of telecom and IT channels, Channel Partners covers the transformation of channel business models. This blog includes entries from its ongoing coverage, including case studies of partners in transformation.

The Transformation of Voice Smart Networks - Part 5

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VOICE SMART NETWORKS
Transformation leader: Dale Stein, Partner
Number of employees: 14
Year established: 1982
Original transactional business model: Telecom VAR selling phone systems; subagent
Post-transformation business model: Managed service provider, data/voice VAR

What are your company's next steps in its transformation away from a transactional business model?

What are the next steps for our business? That’s the $64,000 question. Did I just give away my age? Speaking of age, it is interesting to note that we are serving three generational groups, each with different attitudes toward technology. The under 30 wants as much technology as they can get, and they expect it. The 30 to 50 accepts it with hesitation and questions every little detail. Finally, the 50 to 70 do not understand it, are not eager to embrace it, but will put up with it in the end. The challenge then becomes how we communicate the new era of managed services and virtual cloud applications to all three groups within an organization.

As the under 30 starts to take on more responsibility in the workplace, our job will become much easier. However, we simply can’t afford to sit by and wait for this transition to occur. We will be trying to understand these age dynamics and focus our effort toward identifying who our client really is. As a company with thousands of customers equipped with voice technology, we will concentrate on our base as we begin the process of managing their data and converging the two. We are also developing our marketing around these generational differences as we still see our main function to be an educator and not a sales company.

Furthermore, we are proactively educating our own staff on the products that are coming to the market and trying to decide which ones we will adopt. Just look at the number of off-site data storage companies that have hit the market in the last year alone. The only way to make rational decisions with that many products and services is to be better educated on the core of technology. We will concentrate on the leading edge and be progressive in deploying these solutions. Last but not least, we have benefited by this series of articles, not only reading what others are doing, but allowing us to look at what we are doing within our own business. We hope our readers have gained some valuable insight as they take the journey into this new space.

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