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Windstream’s New Channel Exec: Ease of Doing Business a Top Priority

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Channel Partners' Edward Gately

Edward Gately

Since its acquisitions of EarthLink and Broadview Networks, Windstream has filled the gaps in its service portfolio and its bundle now is resonating with both partners and customers.

That’s according to Michael Brennan, Windstream’s new head of national and strategic programs. He plans to make it easier for partners to do business with the company.

He previously was EarthLink’s director of strategic partner development and joined Windstream in March.

Windstream's Michael Brennan

Windstream’s Michael Brennan

Brennan’s position is newly created and he will work with Olen Scott, Windstream’s vice president of channel sales. He was instrumental in EarthLink’s successful channel transformation, specifically in its master agency program.

This summer, Windstream unveiled an enhanced SD-WAN offering it says includes the best of its technology and that of EarthLink. It also updated its UCaaS portfolio by adding Broadview’s OfficeSuite paired with its SD-WAN.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Brennan sizes up Windstream’s channel strategy and shares his plans to improve the partner experience.

Channel Partners: What is your take on Windstream’s current channel strategy? Are changes needed?

Michael Brennan: I think our channel strategy is really aggressive, being a program that partners are proud doing business with. We’re seeing a strong emphasis on cloud-based solutions and managed services. Customers are more knowledgeable than ever, and the conversations that sales used to have were more network-centric and it’s evolved into an application-centric discussion. And at Windstream, I feel we’re enabling our partners to make these transformations in their customer engagement and we’re empowering them to be successful.

CP: How will your channel experience with EarthLink come into play in your new role?

MB: At EarthLink, we had to make a similar transformation when moving to managed services, and I lived through that. We made mistakes, but we developed some ahead-of-the-curve practices, and having insight into how these organizations work gives me the unique opportunity to be able to pull best practices from both of the programs and blend them together for a superior partner experience. That’s what I’ll be bringing to the channel.

CP: What would be an example of a best practice from EarthLink that will be useful to Windstream?

MB: Ease of doing business is probably the best practice that bubbles to the top. One of the things that we did at EarthLink was empower our partners to be able to quote our services and therefore being able to get them to turn around and …

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