CenturyLink's reorganization last week that brought together the Regional Markets Group and the network services part of the Enterprise Markets Group will have "no significant impact" on channel partners.
That's the word from CenturyLink Channel Alliance head Blake Wetzel, who now reports to COO Karen Puckett but whose focus in the wake of the realignment remains the same as before – bringing network and cloud services to enterprises through partners. The biggest difference is that partners and businesses now work with one organization instead of two, Wetzel said.
"It's a logical combination," he said. "I reported to EMG before this but we were supporting RMG before this. Very little changes through this."
EMG's Network Services unit was part of Qwest Communications International Inc. and RMG was CenturyLink. CenturyLink bought Qwest in a $22 billion deal finalized in May 2011. This latest move comes almost a year after CenturyLink reduced three organizations focused on business and government segments into two groups. EMG was serving national and international Business Markets Group customers, while RMG concentrated on in-region large businesses, and state and local government clients. Jim Ousley, CEO of Savvis, had been running Savvis and EMG, while Puckett had been overseeing RMG. The merged entities now report to Puckett.
CenturyLink's Wholesale Markets Group and Enterprise Markets Group – Data Hosting are not affected by the transition. Savvis, the cloud, colocation and managed hosting services firm acquired by CenturyLink, will remain its own division in the Data Hosting group.
Over the next few months, partners will see consolidation of back-office, support and other operations as CenturyLink executives decide which facets of EMG and RMG to carry over into the merged entity.
"We'll put the best tools in place," Wetzel said, adding that, more than anything, "this is ... about support of the customer and more effectively going to market."
The EMG-RMG unification came a little more than a week before CenturyLink holds its annual partner event, Alliance EXPO, in Denver. From Jan. 16-18, CenturyLink will talk in-depth about its channel strategy, including its midmarket efforts and the new certification push at cloud subsidiary Savvis.