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Agents Find Digital Diversity Key to ‘Land And Expand,’ Evolution to DSP Model

Digital Transformation
Lorna Garey

Lorna Garey

“Security, cloud and contact center are on fire,” says Amy Bailey, VP of marketing for Telarus. “Our numbers have exploded as partners are selling more services into their current customers. SD-WAN has gone from something people were just starting to discover 18 months ago to a conversation in every sales meeting.”

As marketing lead for master agent Telarus and a member of the Channel Partners & Channel Futures advisory board, Bailey has a bird’s-eye view into how agents are stretching their wings well past traditional telecom and positioning themselves as full digital services providers. Most have no choice — sales of circuits and other telecom products that once yielded big residuals have flattened or are in decline. PwC says that over-the-top (OTT) players have increased their dominance in core communication services such as messaging and voice. WhatsApp, Viber and Apple iMessage represent more than 80 percent of all messaging traffic, and Microsoft Skype accounts for more than one-third of international voice-traffic minutes, the consultancy reports. ARPU for North American telecom providers dropped from about $41 in 2006 to $36 in 2016. That translates into less revenue for agents.

To compensate, agents are acting as digital-service aggregators, sourcing what customers need, in a pay-as-you-go subscription model, from suppliers you might not expect. It’s the ultimate way to “land and expand”  — leveraging an anchor application like UCaaS and expanding the relationship with the customer.

Cylance's Didi Dayton

Cylance’s Didi Dayton

For example, Cylance VP of worldwide channels and alliances Didi Dayton says the company has a dedicated cloud partner program, where digital or connected-services providers can deliver the company’s next-gen endpoint security offering to customers on a subscription basis.

“We designed some things that would be easy for partners to offer as a services solution,” Dayton told Channel Partners. Cylance offers deal registration, sales incentives and spiffs, proposal-based MDFs to enable demand and lead generation, and volume incentives and eligibility for rebate plans. Sound familiar?

Or consider Nutanix. The company’s hyperconverged infrastructure systems are more and more being sold as software under the Nutanix Enterprise Cloud model.

“As we transform to a software company and look to broaden our customer base, the channel becomes even more critical to establish new connections for us,” Rodney Foreman, the company’s newly appointed VP of global channel sales, tells Channel Partners. “I will lead Nutanix’s channel organization to have an advantage when working with resellers, system integrators and service providers.”

Scott Mohr, director for data center and cloud with Cisco’s global partner organization, says there’s an increased focus on “land and expand.

“All of the various pieces build on top of one another for a cloud-like infrastructure that continues to lead to another service,” said Mohr, adding that recurring revenue streams, new consumption models, multicloud cross selling, and containerized programmability add up to even more partner opportunities.

In fact, technology solutions provider Carrier Access recently added the full suite of Cisco products. Shane Stark, director of operations, says the Cisco practice will give Carrier Access entrée to larger clients. But it’s not stopping there.

“We’re working to add more security services,” says Stark. “It’s the hot topic right now, and the time is right.”

The list of suppliers courting digital services providers goes on: Liquidware wants agents out there selling desktops as a service, while Effortless Office has been on a growth path with its melded virtual desktop and security bundles. Talkdesk delivers advanced cloud-based, contact-center-as-a-service technology and has raised $25 million in funding from Salesforce Ventures. Through its AppConnect contact center app store, partners can …

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