If any doubt remained that data and communication technology is prepping for a little step function change, comments by many of the speakers at the Intelisys Channel Connect conference dispelled it.
The day started with an interesting discussion, titled “The Next Big Thing,” that talked attendees through the international opportunity. Globalization means that even small businesses can find eager virtual customers overseas. But when business demands a local presence, things get complicated, and partners can help. Look for providers with boots on the ground and a deep understanding of regional regulations. Global companies like NTT and Telstra can help particularly, in APAC; Colt, also on the panel, has expertise in Europe.
While the global opportunity is huge, the complications are equally vexing. Data privacy laws throughout Europe and in places like Australia mean that U.S.-based cloud services are typically not an option. These countries require that sensitive data stay within their borders. Again, service providers that serve those countries are eager to help.
A session that featured partners, suppliers and their CIO customers yielded some great insights into business priorities. The three CIOs on the panel hailed from diverse industries, from the well-known Gold’s Gym to a holding company with more than 20 businesses and finally a local construction company that is rapidly expanding by providing structural steel to Northern California’s booming building trade.
The bottom line for these CIOs: Partners introduced them to technology options that saved time, staff and money while providing much-needed agility. The takeaway quote of the day came from the Gold’s CIO: “If it doesn’t save me money, make me money or keep me out of jail, I don’t want to hear about it!”
Words to live by.
The day ended with almost-news from a number of channel chiefs, primarily in the cable space. The merger of Time Warner, Charter and Bright House should give the new company a much improved footprint domestically. Verizon made a point of its recommitment to the channel, while others, including EarthLink, said they wanted to make announcements, but couldn’t quite yet. Pesky SEC rules. Expect a number of announcements from communications infrastructure companies through the next three months, with the net result significantly lower bandwidth costs. Charter says it’s currently offering 80 percent off of 100 Mbps business connections. Comcast touted its nationwide Layer 2 Ethernet network. The bottom line is that network connections that just a few years ago were downright esoteric will soon become commonplace.
The conference’s takeaway points were all about increased opportunity and what seems to be a renewed interest in the channel from some of the biggest suppliers in the business. It’s a good time to be an Intelisys partner.