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CenturyLink’s John DeLozier: ‘Amazing’ Returns on Level 3 Investment

Business Celebration

… straight cloud provider, we’re in that business. SD-WAN will be huge for us as we move forward. So what’s new is I think now that the Level 3 acquisition is done and we can really focus on getting the message out; I think partners will start seeing all the different places, all the different segments where they can come into the digital-transformation play to meet their customers’ expectations. That is what we’re really excited about as we move forward. I believe that gives us a competitive advantage because it’s one-stop shopping; you don’t have to go to five different boutique firms to get these things taken care of. Are we all things to all people? Of course not; nobody is, but we have a really nice portfolio of services and products that can meet those customers’ expectations. I think that’s a competitive advantage.

CP: Has the integration shifted your competitive landscape?

JD: It depends on what space we’re playing in. Certainly from a carrier perspective … we just dethroned AT&T for the first time ever in Ethernet. That’s a big deal. So from a carrier perspective, I think it’s the AT&Ts and Verizons of the world. But it’s interesting because when you get into the security world, there’s a whole new group. We do see some of the bigger companies like the Palo Alto Networks and the Fortinets, who, by the way we also partner with, so a lot of their solutions are baked into our offerings, so a different set of competitors there. I think that our battlefield has  changed a little bit in a good way. We have folks from our CTO down … that’s got us laser-focused on these things. So it starts in the back office and the product teams … who say this is what we have, it’s our job to make sure the word gets out. And it has been a big play for us to see those teams come together.

CP: So what’s next in all of this?

JD: I think what’s next is really getting the internal stuff completed so we can really focus on the external stuff. We really want to get the word out on some of the things we’ve talked about, how CenturyLink has that local presence, that local feel, but now has that global footprint. We can execute in Asia. We can execute in Europe. We can execute in Latin America. So international, the globalization of what we’re doing is pretty big for us. As a partner program, we’re the only partner program that has truly taken the partner program and segmented it … I am very focused on our top 25 strategic partners and caring for them, and making sure that the road is laid down for my partner, who is very focused on the ground, the geographies, the deals, etc. That’s fairly new to us; it’s been four months. I think what’s ahead is really solidifying those programs and seeing where it takes us because we’re already seeing amazing returns on this investment and the brilliance of our boss Lisa Miller in putting this together. We want to continue to be absolutely your trusted connection to the network world; we will never, ever abandon network, which is important to us, while we maximize those other things with regard to the security plays, the hybrid network plays, etc.

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