Channel Partners Expo sponsor Global Crossing announced the introduction of a new managed services bundle for IP VPN and has expanded the staffing for its conferencing and collaboration services to provide more support for agents.
The new IP VPN services resulted from input by customers and the market generally that there was a gaping hole in managed VPN, said Jim DArcangelo, vice president strategic marketing at Global Crossing. Few were doing it on a cost-effective basis or with good service levels or levels of support. It needs a ton of support.
Adding more support for managed services generally is where we want to be in the marketplace, DArcangelo added. The next push is management of services across the board. The new bundle includes both IP VPN and Internet access, but the critical element is the IP VPN support.
There was a cry from the marketplace, from customers, DArcangelo said, that there were not many providers that they could turn to with the faith that it would work well.
The new service includes loops, ports, three classes of service and fully managed services, he said. It also has managed security through Verisign Inc. We do not use DSL. We know that would never sell in the agent channel, said DArcangelo.
Global Crossing also has added a two-person team dedicated to the channel for its audio, video and Web conferencing services. As we have started to educate the marketplace, agents are not only more familiar with conferencing, but understand by not offering those services they are leaving it open for competitors to get a foot in the door. So that is an emerging trend in the channel, a big push toward collaboration services.
In response, Global Grossing is stepping up promotions and dedicated resources for collaboration services, and it is having quite a bit of quick traction, said DArcangelo.
One of the things that caught agents attention is that conferencing services represent pretty quick, easy and profitable revenue for them, and it is much easier to install versus VPN. They can get a client and in 35-to-40 days get revenue from that. They really like it.
Global Crossings offerings in collaboration are all hosted services. We find that, because we own our network and control the quality of the network, it can provide strong margin to us, which gives us flexibility in working with agents, concluded DArcangelo.
The new developments follow on the changes the company made to its agent channel last fall, moving it out of direct enterprise sales to the marketing team. Not only was there an inherent conflict of interest between the needs of the direct staff and agents, there are also differences in what each group needs.
On the direct side, if you have finite resources, you hire a lot of people and cut back on the number of service engineers, said DArcangelo. But in the agent channel, you understand that agents prefer and value a high level of service. They like a high level of confidence that the provider has a service staff big enough, so, when they place customer orders, they will go through right, and the agent will look good for choosing that provider. So we are weighted with staff to increase customer-service people.
More staff means not only a high comfort level for agents, but also ensures quick response. Every deal is an auction, because they [agents] need to get the best deal for the customer, the best products and services and overall value, and they need to get bids in from different providers, four or five within a deadline. So, you have to put a value-driven offer in front of the customer promptly.