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The Week in Channel: Windstream SD-WAN, CenturyLink-Azure, Top PBX Providers

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Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) featured heavily on our website this week.

The hottest voice companies made new programs and alliances available to the channel. Avaya integrated AI and machine learning capabilities into one of its contact center platforms, and 8×8 unveiled a new partner program. Our roundup concludes with a leaderboard of the top hosted PBX providers.

Two other stories centered around public cloud, and another highlighted a popular master agent event.

We run a weekly recap each Friday as a way to point out channel trends and highlight our editors’ efforts. Scroll through our seven most-viewed stories before you begin your weekend in earnest.

7. Avant Special Forces Summit Chicago Featuring 8×8, Verizon, More

The master agent called its three-day conference the first of its kind.

We published a gallery that recaps the Avant Special Forces Summit, where partners learned about the newest sales strategies and celebrated Avant’s 10-year birthday. Key Avant suppliers shared advice for selling their products, and the master agent doled out partner awards.

Here’s an image gallery.

6. Avaya Contact Center Enhanced with Afiniti Integration

The cloud communications provider said it embedded AI and machine learning into its contact center solution as a result of its expanded Afiniti partnership.

Afiniti is a 14-year-old company that claims to assign the ideal agent to customer callers using “enterprise behavioral pairing” technology. An analyst said Avaya’s contact center solution could consequently boast reduced costs, higher conversations and more first-call resolutions.

Get details about the partnership.

5. Windstream Makes Security Vendor Fortinet Second SD-WAN Partner

Windstream Enterprise launched an SD-WAN solution two years ago, but the carrier decided that partners would benefit from a second option.

Fortinet, which you may know primarily for its firewalls, is lending its FortiGate platform to Windstream. The platform combines SD-WAN with a next-generation firewall. The partnership validates Fortinet’s venture into SD-WAN; the company recently added a software-defined branch solution.

I composed a little ditty about Windstream’s addition, and we further analyzed the partnership in our SD-WAN roundup.

4. AWS, Microsoft, Google Cloud Earn Top Grades in Public Cloud Study

Spiceworks released a mixed bag of results from its “Public Cloud Trends in 2019 and Beyond” study.

Businesses on average have 27% of their data in a public cloud, and anticipate the number to reach 48% in the near future, according to the study. But many customers are asking their public cloud providers for help with data security, workload migration and compliance. Businesses also are more likely to host certain products, such as database servers, on-premises.

Edward Gately has the scoop

3. 8×8 Expands Channel Strategy with Elev8 Partner Program

A UCaaS company targeting the agent channel? This story was red meat for our readers.

8×8‘s new program helps master agents and agents tailor their own marketing programs. The three-tier program also provides varying funding amounts for lead generation and conversion. 8×8 channel chief John DeLozier said his organization spent the previous half-year taking feedback from partners to build Elev8.

Learn more about the new program.

2. CenturyLink, Microsoft Azure Form Cloud Alliance

Our second most-read story features …

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