"Rather than rush to sign up a bunch of cloud providers, [Intelisys President Jay Bradley] and team had the vision to engage with the Cloud Services Coalition first, knowing that they had already vetted the true players in cloud computing and cloud communications," said Scott Kinka, CTO for cloud provider Evolve IP, who attended the Channel Connect briefing. "It enabled Intelisys to get to market quickly in support of their sales partners, but to do so without the typical bruises associated with signing up unproven suppliers or banking on new product lines from carriers."
In addition to vetted suppliers, Intelisys has a team of about 10 people -- a mix of integrators, pre-sales engineers and project managers -- that are supporting the cloud effort. About half of these cloud experts came from the CSC acquisition and the others were culled from the Intelisys ranks, Pryfogle said, noting that the master agency is planning to grow the team as demand increases over time.
"Intelisys has clearly made a substantial long-term investment into this space for their partners, which is why they are always viewed as a industry leader," said J.R. Cook, vice president of alternate channels for EarthLink Business, one of the Intelisys suppliers present at the Channel Connect briefing. "What makes this unique from some is that they are not waiting on their carrier partners to make the investment on supporting the evolution to the cloud; they are making the investment. This allows their partners to focus on what they do best, building relationships and hunting for more opportunities, knowing that Intelisys has the resources to qualify the opportunities and design the right solution for their customers."
Gary Keswick, founder and president for CM Group, an Intelisys subagent since 2001, told Channel Partners embracing the cloud is a bit like "drinking from the fire hose." His No. 1 challenge in selling cloud has been understanding cloud in general, the differences between cloud providers specifically and how they fit with his clients' cloud strategies. He said Intelisys' Cloud Sales Workshops have helped in this regard. "Each session is specific to a silo within the context of cloud services, so it becomes a deep-dive learning opportunity and includes several providers in the ICS portfolio that share their specific services or sweet spot and how they differ in comparison to other similar cloud providers," he said.
In addition, Keswick said accessing Intelisys' pre-screened provider pool is a "time saver" for his agency, and, while there have been some "bumps in the process," he is pleased with Intelisys' sales assistance. "We have had success with providers in the portfolio and are actively working opportunities that cross over several of the cloud silos," he said.