Avant Survey: Partners Must Adapt to Industry Change or Risk Falling Behind


By Jeffrey Burt

In a rapidly changing IT world that’s quickly embracing the cloud, channel partners that aren’t selling emerging services like software-defined WAN and unified communications as a service risk being run over by the competition, according to a new survey by Chicago-based master agent Avant.

In Avant’s 2019 Cloud Channel survey, the company found that cloud-centric partners routinely outsell those hanging on to legacy products and services, are viewed by customers as much-needed trusted advisers and are embracing new marketing avenues that enable them to outperform their slow-evolving brethren.

Avant's Alex Danyluk

Avant’s Alex Danyluk

“What we found out is the more successful of partner sells a broader portfolio of services,” Alex Danyluk, chief strategy officer at Avant, told Channel Partners. “If you’re having a sales conversation at a higher level in the stack, if you’re having a conversation about security, about SD-WAN, about UCaaS, you’ve automatically pulled through voice and data services.”

The key message “for the people who are still playing the same old playbook that they’ve played for the last 10 years is that they’re probably terminally ill and they don’t know it,” Danyluk said. “If they keep playing the same playbook, they’re not going to be able to continue to do that because … it’s going to be their demise.”

That was illustrated by the success of cloud-centric infrastructure partners as outlined in the survey. Those partners made up 24 percent of the 187 channel sellers surveyed and sold a broad portfolio of services — voice, UCaaS, SD-WAN, data connectivity, colocation, infrastructure as a service (IaaS), security as a service (SECaaS), office productivity and software as a service (SaaS). However, they grabbed 41 percent of the network and voice sales, outperforming the 39 percent of partners that sold mostly voice, UCaaS, SD-WAN and data connectivity.

Avant chart on growth in services sales.

Courtesy: Avant

The Cloud Channel survey, conducted in conjunction with a range of other companies, including Channel Partners, 8×8, Oracle and Masergy, was one of two channel-centric surveys presented earlier this month at the Channel Partners Conference and Expo. Included in the survey was a look at the fastest-selling services today and how that will change in the next two years.

Overall, data connectivity continues to be the top-selling service at 62 percent, and will continue in that spot over the next two years; however, fast-growing services like UCaaS, SD-WAN and SECaaS will move up the ladder and other services that are just beginning to come into view – particularly 5G and the internet of things (IoT) – also will quickly grow in demand. Partners need to understand what customers want now and will want in the future and be ready to meet that demand.

“Change is constant, but the rate of change is accelerating,” Danyluk said. “There are disruptive technologies coming in and they are disrupting the traditional IT landscape. Telecom services are very mature – voice, MPLS, those types of things – are on the inside of the bell-shaped curve of adoption. There are brand-new technologies coming out – like SD-WAN, UCaaS has been around a bit longer – that are just decimating the legacy environment because they’re adding capabilities and features and functions that just cannot be upgraded to the old technologies.”

Likewise, there are also a host of new partners and advisers that will …

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