Verizon is aiming to help (and prod) enterprises along in their path toward digital transformation by offering the professional services of 300 networking consultants around the globe, with the Advanced Network Retainer (ANR) program, announced Tuesday.
The carrier will lend professional expertise in needs assessment, identifying and upgrading obsolete components, fine-tuning performance, and creating a road map for future growth. The ANR team also can supply hands-on implementation services and project management.
Verizon’s professional services team brings sometimes scarce proficiency in SDN/hybrid networking, WLAN/Wi-Fi, 4G LTE and IPv6 adoption and other areas. The team is also supported by a dedicated sales, engineering and delivery organization. While the carrier has offered IT consulting services for more than a decade, the ANR program allows Verizon’s consultants to develop and maintain a strong working relationship with the customer’s own IT staff, Tony Turni, vice president, IT Consulting Services for Verizon Enterprise Solutions, told Channel Partners. He said it also adds quick access to Verizon’s expert Advanced Network Consultants, predictable consulting budgeting, a flexible contracting mechanism for engaging consulting resources when and as needed, and a dedicated consultant for the duration of the contract term – typically one year.
Customer engagement begins with Verizon’s Business Outcome Advancement Workshop, scheduled once the contract is executed.
“It is designed,” Turni told Channel Partners, “to allow Verizon’s consultant to conduct discovery to more fully understand the client’s current environment, their business plans and imperatives, and any challenges their users may be wrestling with.”
The workshop’s deliverables consists of one or more of the following, depending on specific client needs and objectives:
Verizon’s Advanced Networking Retainer includes a pool of consulting hours and a variety of specific services (assessment, design, strategy development, etc.) that the client can choose from. If needed, additional hours be added at a discounted hourly rate. The assigned consultant also has …
… the retainer team’s diversified talent pool to draw on if expertise beyond his or her own is needed.
The retainer is not offered through the channel, and might seem to overlap the advisory and design services of more consultative agents. Turni admitted as much, when asked, but also allowed for times it might dovetail well with reselers.
“Yes, Verizon’s IT consulting services directly competes with the consultative offerings from other agencies, and sometimes we are complementary depending on the size and scope of the consultant’s business model,” he said.
Andrew Pryfogle, senior VP of cloud transformation at master agency Intelisys, agreed: “I see this a positive move by Verizon. Many channel partners need help on large, strategic deals, especially when it comes to the complex solutions engineering required. Many of our own sales partners have formed relationships with third-party engineering houses that can assist on projects like these. My hope is this strategy by Verizon will help our partners connect with even more professionals that can help land and implement these solutions. As networks and cloud solutions continue to grow more complex, these types of partnerships become increasingly critical.”