AT&T‘s new Emerging Business Markets (EBM) organization has zeroed in on the channel for its maiden initiative, launching Wednesday a reseller program that will give solutions providers unprecedented access to AT&Ts platform and services through APIs.
AT&T Partner Exchange is expected to expand the carrier’s current relationships with more than 700 solution providers that presently are part of the AT&T Alliance Channel. Several Alliance members have signed onto the program, which has been in development for the past 90 days as part of the new EBM division within AT&T Business Solutions.
EBM was formed in fall 2012 to look at a range of growth opportunities in the business market for the carrier. It is headed by Brooks McCorcle, who serves as its president, reporting to Andrew Geisse, CEO of AT&T Business Solutions. McCorcle has been with AT&T since 1990 in various leadership roles, including senior vice president of investor relations, senior vice president of Southwest Consumer Markets, vice president and general manager of South Texas and vice president of consumer marketing.
AT&T’s Partner Exchange launch is EMB’s first public appearance. The group has its own dedicated staff initially borrowed from AT&T’s existing talent pool and is colocated with AT&T Foundry, a collaborative laboratory for product and service development in Plano, Texas.
Significantly, AT&T is opening up its APIs to allow solution providers to develop their own customized solutions.
“They are not having to buy finished products from us. They are able to pick and choose and customize their own services using our scale, using our breadth of services but with their customization, their knowledge of an end-user’s business and unique needs or applications built for a specific vertical,” McCorcle said in an exclusive interview with Channel Partners.
The reseller program will launch with a partner portal and a handful of products cloud, managed mobility and virtual private networking solutions. McCorcle said an example of an integrated offer is a network-enabled cloud solution that includes a VPN combined with a compute or storage service.
“We can bundle those together for a solution provider and they could put their own applications on top of that,” she said.
Through APIs, solution providers also can gain visibility into certain AT&T systems, processes and tools.
“They will be able to serve their end-user directly instead of having to call us,” McCorcle explained. “They will be able to go into our systems, look at the health of the services that are supporting their customers, do their own ticketing, do their own provisioning.”
McCorcle said AT&T already has negotiated deals with a few solutions providers that are high-end integrators with their own NOCs and the ability to provide care and billing for their end-user customers. AT&T declined to disclose the number of partners it is working with, but noted in a press statement that it is working with Alliant Technologies, a certified IT engineering and operations firm offering integrated, multivendor IT infrastructure solutions including borderless networking, IP collaboration, server and desktop virtualization, data storage, managed services and infrastructure cabling.
Initially, McCorcle said that AT&T will target margin-based resellers rather than commissioned agents. However, she said the carrier is looking to extend some of the functionality, such as the ability to get instant pricing and status updates, to Alliance members; no availability date has been determined.
“Clearly we believe that the concept can be expanded down market once we have the functionality built,” McCorcle said. “We will look for ways to leverage it with the channel in other areas.”
The program includes silver, gold and platinum levels that are determined by sales and credentials. The higher levels get greater discounts and access to market development funds.
Certification will be required for participation in the program, but solution providers will have until the end of 2014 to complete their training and testing.