During this week’s Channel Partners Evolution, Dave Sroka, Peak 10’s vice president of channel sales, and Paul Starkey, manager of strategic partner enablement, gave an update on the integration process. The combined entity, known as Peak 10 + ViaWest, calls itself a leading hybrid IT provider that has 40 data centers across 20 markets, and reaches more than 4,200 business customers.
The process of consolidating the two companies’ partner programs and partner communities is taking place now, Sroka said. All questions regarding agreements, payment for product sales, commissions, working with field reps and a portal to work with are being addressed now, he said.
“One thing that’s been great is we have a dedicated channel-operations person and she’s been tasked with doing the guts behind the channel program,” he said. “We want to have a best-in-breed back office because getting deals registered and getting people paid on them, and a predictable experience is really what all the partners want. The other thing, too, as we get bigger now, and the combined companies are about $500 million in revenue, we’re going to rely more on our master agents to work with the subagents down below. We don’t want to have 500 direct partners. We want a dozen or so like Avant that we can really push a lot of the information to and have them disseminate it down to their subagents.”
Input from master agents will be critical to the formulation of the new program, Sroka said.
“We really want 2018 to be a coming-out party for us to say look at what we have,” he said.
The combination of the two companies bridges eastern and western territories, and creates a national footprint with no overlap in terms of markets, Sroka said.
“There was always kind of like this gentlemen’s agreement where if we had something in Charlotte, North Carolina, that needs something out West, we flip it to them and then vice versa, and partner on deals,” he said. “So the merger made a lot of sense.”
In terms of partner opportunities, the combined company has a “much more robust group of professional services … with one company to deal with and a much broader portfolio, as opposed to having to piece things together,” Sroka said.
“It’s been all of seven weeks, but the integration is well underway, and getting the companies to look as one, I think you’ll start seeing a lot more toward the end of the year as we really announce what we look like going forward,” he said. “What’s great from a channel standpoint is both companies were just hugely dependent on the channel, so it’s really a one plus one equals three when you look at what do the partners get. The Peak 10 channel program was a little bit larger than the ViaWest one, so the ViaWest guys are enjoying some of our back-office stuff.”
Starkey said the consolidation is all about best practices.
“You have two organizations and you can look at what worked well for each one, and you can create almost an all-star team with the different practices,” he said. “Also, a lot of times M&As rise and fall on culture, and the cultures are extremely similar. I think it’s going to create a lot of synergies very quickly.”