Master Mania: Intelisys, TBI, Telarus, Avant Go Big in Q1


Big News

**Editor’s Note: Read our list of 20 top UCaaS providers offering products and services via channel partners or click here for our list of 20 top SD-WAN providers.**

The evolution of telecom master agents into distributors of myriad technologies is one of the channel’s most significant stories over the past several years. In fact, many now refer to themselves more often as technology distributors than master agents. The importance they play as a conduit between vendors and the individual agent – or VAR or MSP, for that matter – can’t be overstated.

For that reason, there’s an abundance of news coming from these channel players on a quarterly, monthly — even weekly basis. You see it right here on Channel Partners Online. It might be partnerships with suppliers that provide partners with new services to sell, new hires in key channel-facing roles, acquisitions of other distributors, or national and international expansions. It’s hard to keep up with it all.

That’s why we’ve compiled this one-stop shop of the biggest master-agent news from the first quarter of 2018. Here you’ll find the major players – think Intelisys, TBI, Avant, Telarus and WTG – but also some of the smaller masters that are making big strides with their businesses.

Click through our gallery below to get caught up.

Datapipe's Robb Allen

Intelisys introduced ROI Communications as its 15th platinum partner, recognition given to companies generating $1 million in monthly recurring revenue with the master. ROI is Intelisys' first platinum partner from New England.

The company also formed a partnership with Talkdesk, the contact-center solutions provider, meaning that Intelisys sales partners get a new portfolio of contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS) products. Talkdesk expands its market reach in the process.

“Talkdesk offers an exciting platform to customers in the market for cloud-based contact center solutions,” said Andrew Pryfogle, senior vice president of cloud transformation for Intelisys.

Last but not least, signing vMox to its supplier program gives Intelisys' partners access to vMox's mobility cost-optimization and life-cycle management services.
Cato Networks SD-WAN

Telarus has had a really busy quarter. For one, the company signed an agreement with Adtran so its partners can sell the networking company's ProCloud UC and NG Firewall services. Adtran calls these two services "two of the highest growth markets in IT."

A week later, Alibaba Cloud, the dominant cloud provider in China, tapped the Utah-based company as its first U.S. master-agent partner.

“A lot of our partners are dealing with customers who have AWS and Azure, and they’re not getting compensated for those today,” said Scott Forbush, SVP of sales for Telarus. “Whereas, with Alibaba Cloud, they have a fantastic technical alternative that also will compensate them handsomely for all services that are contracted with Alibaba.”

Telarus kicked off the year with a rebranding that reflects its acquisition of fellow master agent CarrierSales. The marriage boosts Telarus' portfolio and supplier contracts.

“CarrierSales brought over a great group of people that were specialists in contact center and specialists in mobility. They had a whole CenturyLink specialty practice,” said Amy Bailey, VP of marketing. “So those things added to our UC practice and the VXSuite practice really complement each other nicely. We’re really looking to be that mobility, cloud, UC, forward-thinking expert.”
Nuage Networks logo
Avant Communications

Avant made a big move to increase resources in the U.K. and Canada. Its sales were $6 million in channel sales in the U.K. last year, so an expansion is a worthwhile move. Avant has an official channel program in Canada and recently signed 12 technology partners.

“While the U.S. is the most mature in this space, the U.K. and Canada are experiencing the exact same thing. Avant recognizing that early on is why we’re going so aggressively after this market,” said Shane McNamara, Avant’s executive vice president of West channel sales.

The company also announced the hiring of Rick Reed, formerly of AT&T and Channel Partners, as senior director of channel sales for the South Central region.
Cato Talari logos

TBI was among a handful of masters who joined the Telesystem partner program as "elite agents." These companies enjoy the highest residual payouts and bonuses in the Telesystem program. Telarus was another of the recent signees.

TBI also added personnel, including two new channel managers — part of its new regional-based channel strategy. Bob Mellor takes the reins in the eastern U.S., while Ashley Klein gets a number of Midwestern states, and Van Wender is responsible for the Southeast. Also new to TBI are Keith Connolly, VP of sales for the East; Stephen Stillson, VP, West; and Steve Roos, VP of engineering.
Bigleaf CloudGenix logos

WTG says a partnership with BCN adds new "multi-product aggregation solutions" to its lineup. BCN, based in New Jersey, works with 75 network partners.

“WTG’s longstanding reputation for exceptional partner support complements BCN’s partner value proposition and positions our teams to succeed in delivering unique, high-quality technology solutions for customers,” said Michael Ginsburg, BCN vice president of sales.

That announcement came just ahead of WTG's annual Tee & Sea, held this year in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event featured a panel of telco vendor execs – CenturyLink, AT&T and Verizon – talking digital transformation.

Click here to see our image gallery from sunny Scottsdale.
Bigleaf CloudGenix logos

MicroCorp introduced a new partner portal designed to oversee a channel partner's back office.

Dubbed "Nautilus 2.0," the portal's dashboard got a facelift — and the company added new reports and analytics. It's designed to assist with multi-site, multi-vendor and multi-product deals.

MicroCorp also hired Chris Donlan, a 12-year Windstream veteran, as a technical sales engineer. He'll be a "key architect" for SD-WAN.
Windstream logo
Sandler Partners

Sandler Partners topped the list of TPx Communications' top-performing partners for 2017 based on new billed revenue. Reps from Sandler and six other top partners won a weekend getaway to Park City, Utah, for being President's Club honorees.
PlanetOne Communications

PlanetOne added Windstream to its portfolio as a preferred provider, giving its partners access to the Arkansas-based communications giant's voice, cloud, collaboration, networking and data-center services.

The agreement, Windstream says, fits with its recent move to rebrand its enterprise and wholesale units. The company declared PlanetOne to be helping partners bring technologies and managed services to end users.
Versa Networks logo
Bridgepointe Technologies

Rolling out a new slogan, "Your Signal in the Noise," Bridgepointe Technologies, the Northern California-based master agent, welcomed its partners to a first-of-its-kind event in San Francisco last month.

Also debuting a new logo, the company said it will strive to keep its clients informed with unbiased expertise on technologies and services. The mantra for this is “the trusted IT strategist.”

Scroll through our image gallery for a recap of the event.
Versa Networks logo

CNSG joined the TPx parnter program, giving its partners access to the unified communications, managed IT, and connectivity and continuity services that TPx offers.

CNSG President Matthew Harty is now on the TPx National Channel Advisory Board as a result of the new partnership. Jim Delis, senior vice president of national channel development for TPx, says CNSG is “expanding fast” and entering a new phase of growth.

Avaya named Jenne, the tech distributor and cloud master agent, as the first member of its new master-agent program focused on cloud sales to SMBs.

Resellers and MSPs can sign up as sales agents through Jenne and offer cloud services to their customers with support – including delivery, pricing and billing – provided by Avaya.

“As a value-added distribution partner with Avaya and a cloud master agent, Jenne is pleased to be launching the new Cloud Master Agent program for Avaya IP Office, which leverages Avaya’s award-winning IP Office platform,” said Travis Frilling, director of Avaya Solutions for Jenne.
Ecessa logo

BCM One partnered with Ecessa in a move that will beef up its SD-WAN portfolio.

Ecessa's solution integrates MPLS networks and managed firewalls with SD-WAN architecture. As a result, BCM One's agents can give customers increased control over internet traffic while using an all-in-one network to handle multiple locations.

“Together we offer a reliable managed SD-WAN solution for existing MPLS clients wanting to move to SD-WAN or to offer a hybrid approach to companies of all sizes,” said John Cunningham, BCM One's founder and co-CEO.

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