By Peter Radizeski, RAD-INFO Inc.
When master agents hold a meeting, like MicroCorp‘s One-on-One held in Atlanta, Sept. 21-23, the resounding sentiment comes from Dan Morford, a sales engineer at ACC Business: “These events give us a chance to spend face-to-face time with agents.” And MicroCorp took that to the max. It was a day jam-packed with face time to provide “a forum that allows our agents and carriers to build stronger relationships,” as Karin Fields, vice president of MicroCorp, stated.
Sunday’s welcome was a Verizon-sponsored open bar at the Hilton Conference Center in Marietta, Ga. (Some of the sensible folks went to bed before Monday morning). Panel discussions got underway at 9 a.m. with SIP Trunking, followed by conference calling at 10, and Ethernet at 11. Agents weren’t asleep; they had good questions that kept the panelists on their toes. It was a chance for agents to be exposed to lines of business that are open for growth and ways to introduce the services to their client base. (Don’t leave money on the table.)
At lunch, Global Crossing‘s senior director of unified collaborations services, Joda Schaumberg, gave a high-level view of unified communications (audio, video and Web conferencing), its business process integration, and how it drives bandwidth. Schaumberg expressed that e-mail plays an important role in UC; it is one of the building blocks of unified communications.
Lunch was followed by breakout sessions with the carriers. As agent Donny McCarty from TekLinks put it, “I’m here to see who didn’t make it; where the industry is at; and to hear the latest from carriers.”
The latest from the carriers included TNCI‘s Equity Plan, Level 3 Communications‘ opening the channel to all opportunities — enterprise and wholesale — to address the $30 billion enterprise spending, and Sprint‘s re-marketing of Wireline business.
As an active participant at this show, I have to agree. Ample opportunity to meet, greet and engage, including vice presidents from Level 3, Global Crossing and InterNAP. Global Crossing’s Charles Murray is relatively new to the channel, but I hope he can maintain the openness and personality he has shown both times I have sat down with him.
Level 3’s Craig Schlagbaum made a few remarks before dinner, announcing MicroCorp as Level 3’s top master agent and speaking about an evolution in the channel. As we move to IP, UC and the rest of the alphabet (SIP, SAAS), agents will become business solutions providers more and more. This sentiment was shared by Global Crossing’s Murray, who sees a “new mix of subagents coming.”
Dinner was time for trivia, awards and BlackBerrys. (It’s amazing how many people were glued to their BlackBerrys, not Chuck Piazza. This senior vice president from Smoothstone IP Communications was demonstrating to everyone how to use the iPhone, even how to access LinkedIn with the LI button.
Karin Fields announced that MicroCorp had made some personnel changes to meet the growth brought about by the addition of new carrier relationships with Hughes Network Systems, TNCI, TelePacific Communications, XO Communications and Nuvox and by the launch of InSite of last year. InSite is MicroCorp’s inventory management platform, a module of its homegrown PRM program, Nautilus. There are 2,000 sites under asset management in the application and MicroCorp will be adding layers of managed services to the platform in the future.
The fun started after dinner with Blackjack, dealt by the channel managers.
Sprint provided a much needed day of relaxation on the links on Tuesday — it was a beautiful day to play a nice course in Greater Atlanta.