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Master Mania: Latest from Intelisys, Avant, TBI, AppSmart, More

Investment remains as ambitious as ever in the agent channel.

Despite a downturn economy that’s leading to layoffs in numerous industries, master agents are increasing their headcounts and signing new suppliers.

PlanetOne, for example, hired a new chief operating officer, and MicroCorp hired a new sales leader.

We also saw numerous awards that highlight how master agents are raking in money. The cable industry recognized some of the top performing members of the agent channel. And one master agent announced awards of its own.

Industry experts once again raised the question of convergence between the MSP and telecom agent channel ecosystems.

We’ve curated 15 articles below from the last three months that pertain to the agent channel. Take a look at them to stay abreast of what’s happening in the industry.

Looking for more? Check out our Q2 agent channel recap.

Datapipe's Robb Allen

Telarus

The Utah-based master agency expanded two of its supplier partnerships late this summer.

A deepened agreement with 8x8 gives Telarus agents the greenlight to sell the Open Communications Platform in the United Kingdom. And Telarus' expansion with critical event management provider Everbridge also opened up the U.K. — plus two other countries.

Telarus also unveiled is 2019 partner awards. CenturyLink led suppliers in overall sales.

Read about Telarus' awards and expanded supplier agreements.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Awards, Part 1

Software-defined networking vendor Masergy gave a nod to its top-performing agent and master agent partners.

Intelisys took a big victory, beating its peers in overall sales. It also triumphed in the UCaaS and SD-WAN categories. However, Avant Communications earned top honors for security, and Masergy recognized three other companies for their improvement.

Check out Masergy's awards.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Awards, Part 2

Chalk up another win for Intelisys, this time at the Cable Awards.

A consortium of cable providers recognized various members of the agent channel in September. Intelisys earned the most total cable sales, but several master agents made the list.

Read our recap of the Cable Awards.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Awards, Part 3

Two big UCaaS providers bestowed platinum status on master agents.

RingCentral handed platinum status to Intelisys, which joined seven other partners. Intelisys moreover earned the most 2019 customer billings.

Not to be outdone, 8x8 announced two new platinum partners. TBI and Avant joined Intelisys in the elite group.

Read about RingCentral's platinum partner and 8x8's platinum partners.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Intelisys

Not all of the Intelisys news was positive. Its owner, ScanSource, announced a large round of layoffs.

The distributor chopped its workforce, in particular those working in support roles or in the communications unit. Intelisys, however, managed to avoid cuts, earning praise from ScanSource.

Read about the ScanSource layoffs.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

PlanetOne

The Arizona-based company added to its C-suite.

Chris Werpy, a long-time Masergy veteran, joined PlanetOne as chief operating officer. His hire signaled the master agent's goal of furthering its investments, even amid a pandemic. 

"Our numbers are growing and our forecast is full speed ahead," CEO Ted Schuman said. 

Check out our profile of Werpy.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

TCG

Telecom Consulting Group is also upping its investments.

The Florida-based company announced a slew of new suppliers, including Sky Data Vault. TCG also appointed a couple of new employees, including a national channel manager.

Read the update on TCG.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Global Competition

The agent channel is testing its wings outside of the U.S.

We wrote about how Telarus is competing against distributor Synnex to sell more Avaya Cloud Office in Canada. We also observed how vendors are expanding launching master agent partnerships in Europe.

Read about the agent channel landscape in Europe and Canada.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

iTelecom

California-based iTelecom launched a new portal.

The company brands the new iAgent as a social media environment where agents can interact with suppliers at their own convenience. Portal customization keeps agents from getting a barrage of unwanted vendor emails, according to CEO Micah Bevitz.

Check out our interview with Bevitz, who also discussed the work-from-home landscape.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

P2

P2 Business Solutions expanded its supplier portfolio.

Agents can now sell from Net2Phone, which provides collaborations and communications solutions. They'll also utilize Net2Phone's reputed quoting and onboarding processes.

Learn more about P2.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

MicroCorp

MicroCorp also announced a high-profile hire.

Shubert, Christopher_MicroCorp

MicroCorp's Christopher Shubert

Charismatic sales leader Christopher Shubert joined the company as senior vice president of sales. It's Shubert's first time leading a sales organization. He spoke to us about hot technologies, MicroCorp's rebrand and his positive outlook for the channel.

“Don’t lose hope. The channel is alive. The products are there. You can find a way to thrive, even in a downturn economy,” he said.

See what Shubert told Channel Partners.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Inc. 5000

Telarus, Sandler Partners, and Innovative Business Solutions all cracked the 2020 Inc. 5000 list.

The leaderboard shows the fastest-growing private U.S. companies. The aforementioned companies have graced the list in consecutive years, demonstrating our industry's continued growth potential.

Pax8, which blends the line between cloud distributor and master agent, slotted into the top 150.

See which master agents made the list.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

Avant

Avant Communications unveiled its latest analytics report, this time focusing on UCaaS.

As one might expect, UCaaS sales ticked up significantly in 2020, as the pandemic drove businesses to replace their legacy systems. According to Avant, 67% of businesses want to replace their legacy telephone systems over the next year.

In other news, Avant announced partnerships with PacketFabric and AireSpring.

Read about Avant's new suppliers and analytics report.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

TBI

Telecom Brokerage Inc. added Net2Phone to its supplier list. As a result, agents can sell a cloud communications portfolio, which include Microsoft Teams direct routing.

The Chicago-based firm also hosted its annual Big Event conference. TBI normally hosts the event in May in Chicago, but this time moved the conference to an online format.

Read about the supplier agreement and the virtual conference.
Datapipe's Robb Allen

AppSmart

The channel-focused B2B marketplace provider should have new funds coming down the pipe.

AppDirect, which owns AppSmart, secured $185 million in funds. It upped its total equity to $465 million.

Also, AppSmart took home honors at the aforementioned Cable Awards event. Cable vendors recognized AppSmart for industry disruption.

Read AppDirect's funding announcement.

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