CHANNEL PARTNERS CONFERENCE & EXPO — It’s now been more than four months since CenturyLink completed its $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications, and a lot of work remains to complete integration of the two companies.
That’s according to John DeLozier, CenturyLink’s vice president of strategic partners and alliances. He will deliver a keynote titled, “The Concert of Connections in the Network World” at this week’s Channel Partners Conference and Expo.
In February, DeLozier quashed rumors that the integration would disrupt the partner experience, and that partners would have to adopt new rules of engagement and potentially lose accounts to direct sales.
So far, the acquisition has allowed CenturyLink to surpass AT&T in Vertical Systems Group’s (VSG) year-end 2017 U.S. Incumbent Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. And it has boosted CenturyLink’s security prowess.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, DeLozier gives an update on the integration process and how partners are benefiting from the combination.
Channel Partners: What’s the status of the CenturyLink-Level 3 integration?
John DeLozier: The integration is going really well. As you can imagine, bringing together two multibillion-dollar companies, there [are] a lot of T’s to cross and I’s to dot, and I think the collective partner community is kind of holding their breath a little bit and just watching how this is going to turn out. We have really turned the corner since January and I think the partner community has responded really well to it. So we had a great first quarter; obviously those things will come out publicly really soon, but we’re excited. I think the one plus one, we’re starting to see the three at the end of it. So it’s going really well.
CP: Any surprises or unexpected challenges along the way?
JD: I don’t know that there was anything necessarily unexpected, but a lot of challenges. The good news is the entire channel is covered with great support teams at CenturyLink, both from former Level 3 and former CenturyLink. So those teams have been very responsive, very aggressive, and I think we see a big light at the end of the tunnel here.
CP: Is there still more to do in terms of integration?
JD: There’s still a lot more to do. There [are] a lot of pragmatic, practical things that we have to get done. We’re consolidating agreements, we’re consolidating incentive programs, we’re consolidating the way we go to market. They did things a little bit differently than us. I think another thing is, we get a lot of questions of, “Are you combining the networks?” And that word “combine” is the key. If anybody has the idea that any company our size …