AT&T’s Randall Porter: Channel Realignment ‘Came at the Exact Right Time’


… truly meet the entire end-to-end need of their end users.

CP: As one of Brooks McCorcle’s main lieutenants over the years, what was the transition of speaking to employees and partners as the new face of the organization?

RP: We miss Brooks immensely. She was a trailblazer and a culture-first leader. We would not be where we are today had it noy been for her leadership early on across all aspects of the business. She had the vision; she had the execution, created the culture — created the environment where we can get the investment to now be here five years later. So obviously we miss her immensely and her leadership.

But I’ll tell you — the change came at the exact right time. We had gone from basically startup with zero customers and zero revenue, and over the past five years built an incredible foundation. 600 partners now. Each and every month is better than the last. What we needed was the scale to be able to build off that foundation and now accelerate. Not only from an AT&T Partner Exchange standpoint, but from an AT&T standpoint focused in the indirect market.

That creation of AT&T Partner Solutions with Zee [Hussain] at the helm … now having Alliance, ACC and [Partner Exchange] all together really solidified AT&T’s commitment to the channel … and now gives us that trampoline to accelerate that growth on that foundation that Brooks built.

CP: You recommended partners look into fiber and IoT opportunities in your latest blog. Could you talk further about those opportunities? Are there any other niches?

RP: Our focus is all about enablement for our solution providers, and each approaches the market a little bit differently. When you kind of net it out to the core need (especially when it comes to AT&T), it is the network. And when you talk about growth opportunities, [they’re] in IP and fiber … mobile and now spreading to IoT as well. For the past three years, that’s where we’ve been maniacally focused and making sure we had the right solutions, and then enabled those solutions with the right experience.

From a fiber standpoint, it’s been all about extending our breadth and reach in the market. As we’ve quoted, we’re going to invest $20 billion this year [AT&T’s overall capital expenditures] … more than any other carrier out there to ensure that we continue to have the best network available. What that means from a business standpoint is, more business locations that will be lit with that fiber, both in our traditional LEC footprint — and now we’re aggressively moving outside that footprint as well.

And that’s exciting for solution providers, because historically, AT&T direct hasn’t covered those out-of-region markets as extensively, especially the mid and lower business segments. So that creates an immediate opportunity for these solution providers to penetrate into new markets [with] fiber.

We’ve also made some changes around the service set as well for our dedicated internet, layer 3 product, ASE (AT&T Switched Ethernet), some changes that we’re going to be making specific to those services as well that are going to allow them to utilize those fiber-based products in their solutions.

On the mobile side, we started there almost four years ago with traditional smartphones and mobile handsets. Obviously what you’ve seen in this market is tremendous …

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