In a high-profile example of the convergence of IT and telecom channels, Tech Data Corp.’s TDMobility has partnered with telecom master agency MicroCorp Inc. to facilitate carrier service sales through TechData’s channel of more than 60,000 resellers in the United States, beginning next year.
The groundbreaking deal, announced by MicroCorp president and CEO Brad Miehl at the master agency’s One-On-One partner meeting in Atlanta, enables TDMobility to offer carrier, managed and cloud services through MicroCorps contractual relationships with more than 50 service providers. In addition, MicroCorp will manage all pre- and post-sales functions, while VARs will be able to monitor opportunity and order status through Nautilus, MicroCorps cloud-based carrier services management system.
TDMobility, a joint venture between Tech Data and Brightstar, launched earlier this year to offer an end-to-end platform encompassing mobile hardware, software, service plans, activation and billing. TDMobility features two flagship offerings, CellManage and TDActivate, which enable VARs to provide a mobile managed service or simply activate wireless devices and plans, respectively.
Charles Kriete, executive vice president of TDMobility, told Channel Partners that adding wireline services was in response to customer demand for sourcing end-to-end solutions from IT resellers.
He also said the process and supply chain TDMobility has built for handling mobile service activations applies to any agent-based contract model.
“We thought there was an opportunity to develop one strategic partnership … and then bring that downstream to our market and deliver managed services for landline,” Kriete said, noting that partnering versus building was the best option for adding wireline because of the complexities in working with landline carriers.
Kriete said MicroCorp was selected from among other master agencies because its managed services approach was most closely aligned with TDMobility’s and could ease integration of systems to ultimately deliver a blended solution, including a “single pane of glass” for both wireless and wireline management.
MicroCorp and Tech Data are planning a three-phased implementation, with phase one availability to TDMobility’s current 600 authorized partners, beginning in January 2013. The service will be offered to the broader TechData reseller community in second quarter. Integration work will continue in the background and is expected to be completed by third quarter.
Much like TDMobility has done with mobile, the integration will seek to productize the wireline services to the greatest extent possible. For more complex services, the front-end configuration will include more manual intervention.
“The end result,” said Miehl, “is a synergistic offering between equipment and carrier services that is wrapped in a managed platform, delivering the bundled solutions customers are now demanding.”
Tech Data resellers can take advantage of the MicroCorp relationship through their existing reseller agreements. However, the offer is not reciprocal; MicroCorp agents interested in offering TDMobility’s wireless services must onboard with TDMobility directly.
Tech Data resellers will be able to access MicroCorp’s managed and cloud services providers as well as its carriers. Kriete said this is a complementary offer to TDCloud in that it enables resellers that don’t plan to build their own hosted or managed services to resell those of other providers in an efficient way.
Initially, resellers will be paid commissions from MicroCorp, but that is expected to switch over to TDMobility in phase two, Kriete said.