Panelists Discuss Best Practices for Multilocation Service, Support

One of the biggest conundrums solutions providers face as they adopt the concept of convergence is how to roll out communications solutions theyve never offered before. The key is to partner with complementary companies that do not compete with you, but rather, further your efforts.

Morgan McChesney, senior vice president of show sponsor Covad Communication Group Inc.s (Booths 506-508) Installation Services Group; Kelly Lumpkin, CEO and director of business development for Alternate Access Inc.; and AJ Koontz III, founder of and executive vice president of sales for broadband service provider Broadband National Inc., will pair up on this panel to offer attendees best practices advice for successful partnering.

Covads ISG supports companies whose clients need telecom installation, repair and maintenance. The division manned by Covads 300-plus technicians provides services including broadband access,VoIP installation and maintenance, PC configuration, home or office networking, telecommunications wiring and virtual private networking. The ISG installs all devices and does all of the necessary inside wiring for those devices for Covad partners.

McChesney will tell attendees how Covads ISG works and how they can take advantage of its services. Partnerships are often driven by sheer need, he says. He touts ISG as a resource for companies that do not otherwise have access to such capabilities, as well as a convenience factor so solutions providers do not have to juggle multiple vendors. Most importantly, its convenient to their customers, he says, because ISG technicians work with end users schedules and other requirements.

North Carolina-based Alternate Access, meanwhile, is a 12-year-old reseller that specializes in Verticals TeleVantage systems. Lumpkin founded the company with his wife, Adrienne, with the mission to help end users converge their legacy and nextgeneration systems. Lumpkin comes to the panel as a reseller who can relay to attendees advice on deciding with whom to partner, and why and how to work with other experts.

Lumpkin especially wants to cover what to do when a company decides to sell outside of its regular territory. This expansion brings to mind issues with references, available resources, remote access and technical support, he says. For example, one concern that often crops up is, A lot of times you forget about time zones and how that impacts your support hours, he points out.

Koontz, meanwhile, oversees Broadband Nationals sales activities, including the development of relationships with broadband supplier/partners and corporate end users. He will lend his experience in telecom market development and Web-based customer acquisition to the session on how to partner and hit the ground running. Together, McChesney, Lumpkin and Koontz will spend the session educating solutions providers on best practices, providing insights into their respective businesses and their reasons for success, and taking questions that are sure to arise.

Hopefully therell be a few good ideas that we can share back and forth, Lumpkin says.

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