… what was going to incent them in the right way to do business with CenturyLink was really addressed. And so we were really trying to drive to make certain that we were the partner of choice and incenting our partners appropriately.
GG: It was very important for us to create some parity for our partners, so we wanted consistency with our agreement. So of course coming from former Level 3 and CenturyLink, we had a lot of different flavors of contracts, and so what we created was a standard contract that everybody could get behind, and really the only difference in the contract is pay for performance based on tiers. So the more that a partner commits to CenturyLink, the more commitment comes back their way.
CP: Is this agreement indicative of the overall direction in which CenturyLink is heading?
GG: It just further emphasizes our investment and focus in the channel. I think the terms are favorable to our partners and I think you’ll see that as information comes out about the new agreement, that partners view the agreement favorably.
LM: A lot of the top masters worked hand in hand with us, and where we didn’t get it right, we worked together to say, “OK, how does this work for you, how does this work for us,” and I think we came to a really good spot. And it really is a contract that allows us to grow because one of the things that we wanted to look at with this contract is we didn’t want it to be good for two years, we wanted it to be good for 10 years. And so there was a lot of thought on both sides to make certain that we ended up with a contract that allowed for that.
CP: How are CenturyLink’s latest technologies creating new opportunities for partners?
GG: We’ve obviously had a lot of exciting announcements recently, whether it’s our SD-WAN platform – we offer three different types of services there, Meraki, Versa and Viptela – and I would say as well our platform around networking, which allows for things like dynamic connection so we can actually provide services in the way that the consumer or our enterprises are seeking to receive those services. So a lot of that is where our focus is, whether it’s cloud or security, or UCaaS type services, but a lot of development going on in our product teams right now.
CP: Some companies in the channel are struggling financially, with Windstream filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy, Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS) planning to file next month and Fusion Connect considering it. Are partners at all concerned about CenturyLink’s financial stability?
LM: We feel that we are very committed to the channel, that we’ve got strength and growth in our company. Everything that we have been doing financially within CenturyLink has been to make the company stronger, to make the balance sheet stronger, and we feel very good about where things are growing. And I feel that our partners feel …