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September’s Top 12 Stories: CenturyLink SMBs, Fusion-Windstream Bankruptcy Updates

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Some big names in the channel were out to play in September, so you’ll see them take a major role in this month’s top 12 countdown.

For instance, CenturyLink’s CEO talked about a big opportunity for partners in SMB sales thanks to the Level 3 integration being mostly complete. Our write-up from AT&T’s presentation on the 5G opportunity also struck gold with our readers.

Updates on the channel impact of bankruptcies at Windstream and Fusion Connect also were on our audience’s mind, and M&A is a theme, with AppSmart-Telegration leading the way.

Those are just four of the stories that land in our countdown for September, compiled from those that get the most traffic on our website and their performance in our weekly newsletters. We would encourage you to sign up for the newsletter to stay in tune with all the hottest happenings in the channel.

In the gallery below, you’ll also learn about a big pact between Avaya and IBM, and some speculation surrounding the sale of Symantec’s consumer business. What was No. 1?

Missed the previous month’s top stories? Click here to see our most-read posts in August.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen
#12 — CenturyLink Partner Opportunity

With its integration of Level 3 now mostly in the rearview mirror, CenturyLink has a big opportunity to sell to SMBs outside of its legacy footprint, the company's CEO told attendees of an investor conference.

Prior to being acquired by CenturyLink, Level 3 Communications never targeted SMB customers, Jeff Storey said.

“We have a lot of business buildings on that, which have small business customers in it, but we never sold to them … that was not part of [Level 3’s] market focus,” Storey said.

Read more about what Storey had to say that will impact the channel.
Roll out
#11 — Public Cloud Rankings

A regular on our countdown for much of the year is a post breaking down market share among the giant cloud infrastructure providers.

AWS, as expected, was the leader, but this story made headlines in part because IBM saw a decline while all the rest of the big boys were seeing increases.

There's a good reason, though, as IBM's focus has shifted in that it’s the leader in hosted private cloud services, according to Synergy Research.
Couto, Jessica_Vectra Sept 2019 Gallery
#10 — Channel Influencer Awards

Our digital issue from earlier in the year bounced back with some heavy traffic in September. Why? Because everyone loves awards.

We recognized not only some of the top influencers in the channel but also 25 organizations to watch, 10 business trends poised to take off, and 10 technologies that might just "take over."
Copeland, Bryan_Remediant Sept 2019 Gallery
#9 — Channel People on the Move

It wouldn't be a top 12 countdown without the mainstay that is Channel People on the Move.

This edition featured CenturyLink, RingCentral and Verizon alumnae landing promotions or new jobs.
Copeland, Bryan_Remediant Sept 2019 Gallery
#8 — Fusion Bankruptcy

This story from June lands in our countdown for the fourth consecutive month. In a year when bankruptcy has had a huge impact on the channel, this story has risen above the rest in continuous reader interest.

Fusion Connect filed for chapter 11 in early June, noting that its acquisitions of MegaPath and Birch Communications' cloud and business-services unit failed to meet performance projections.

Taken a break from news for a while? This is a must-read. We also published an update last month on how Fusion's channel is progressing.
Carbonite Personnel Sept 2019 Gallery
#7 — AT&T Outlines 5G Plans, Tells Partners to Get a Strategy

What once seemed so far away is now almost here. In fact, AT&T says partners better have their plans in place for 5G sales before the competition gets a leg up on them.

That was the message from AT&T's Christina Cheng and panelists on the keynote stage at Channel Partners Evolution — and our readers were listening, er, reading.

“You’ve got to get a 5G strategy. You’ve got to start these conversations with customers early in the program,” said Matt Palmer, director of mobility products and pricing for AT&T Partner Exchange. “If you’re not going to engage with your customers and have these conversations, they may just assume that you’re not going to be in the 5G space.”

Get more 5G tactics here.
Burnett, Philip_High Wire Networks Sept Gallery
#6 — AppSmart Buys Telegration

Just a week after master agent WTG integrated with AppSmart and officially rebranded, the company announced at Channel Partners Evolution that it was buying fellow master Telegration.

So, what exactly is AppSmart? Co-CEO Vince Bradley said it's best described as a technology marketplace that's like a master-distributor hybrid.

“It has pieces of a master agent in it and it has pieces of a provider in it,” he said. “We’re sort of making history here because this has never happened before. This is a very unique model that has not existed, so we’re kind of creating something new.”

You can be part of history by learning more about the big changes.
AireSpring Personnel Sept 2019
#5 — Channel M&A

The latest edition of our mergers and acquisitions roundup was a big hit, thanks in part to recent wheeling and dealing by 8x8 and Cisco, as well as the rumors surrounding a potential Mitel-Avaya tie-up.

Read about the latest M&A and swirling speculation here.
Alvarez, Christian_Nutanix Sept Gallery
#4 — Symantec Sale on Tap?

Speaking of M&A speculation, a report that two private equity firms want to buy Symantec's consumer business for more than $16 billion lit up the internet last month. This comes after Broadcom confirmed it's acquiring Symantec's enterprise security business.

Symantec's consumer unit includes the Norton antivirus and LifeLock identity protection products.

Get the full scoop on the potential buy here.
AireSpring Personnel Sept 2019
#3 — 6 Steps to Earning a Large Upsell on Cloud Services

Our summer report on cloud service upsells surged in September.

You learned the opportunities available to partners offering cloud managed services; how to unpack the details around cloud services and identify the core components of a portfolio; and the six steps to developing a successful cloud managed services practice.

Get access to the report here.
Nominet's Alex Pitigoi
#2 — Windstream Bankruptcy Update

It's been quite the year for Windstream after filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy last spring. But if you talk to the company's channel chief, like we did, there are positive signs for the channel program.

"The changes discussed in April have been implemented as planned. So far we have seen an increase in engagement, activity and new logo sales across our partner program," said channel chief Curt Allen.

You're going to want to read more about the direction of the program.
Cisco's Matt MacPherson
#1 — Avaya-IBM Pact

This new agreement between Avaya and IBM caught your eye last month, riding all the way to No. 1 on our countdown of most popular stories.

The deal allows Avaya to adopt hybrid cloud services from IBM to help expand its ReadyNow private cloud UC and contact center lineup internationally. By working with IBM to implement a hybrid cloud strategy, Avaya plans to tap into advanced technologies like AI to modernize its offering while providing its customers access to IBM’s cloud data centers.

“By working with Avaya to integrate this hybrid cloud approach, we can help them enhance their performance and security for clients while accelerating access to higher value services that can help differentiate their offerings and drive customer loyalty," said  Denis Kennelly, IBM’s general manager of cloud integration.

Learn more about this significant agreement.

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