This article originally appeared in the Sept. 2012 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
The channel is in flux as it tries to move away from commodity items like POTS, DSL and T1. As the carriers migrate to cloud, data centers, MPLS and SIP, they are hoping that the channel will shift with it. In that effort, the carriers have been in search of the new partner that will get cloud and sell cloud, without much hand holding. In that effort, everyone in the last 18 months has been chasing VARs.
VARs fear telecom due to uncertainty, like porting and FOC dates. MSPs are directly competing with carriers with their own cloud services. Agents are just trying to survive, while being screamed at to get cloud.
The problem lies in mentality. Many old telecom sales pros are Bell-heads, thinking in terms of TDM. Bell-heads understand telecom in terms of replacing services. Cable companies fill that spot nicely. Cable companies will likely own three-quarters of the broadband market in the U.S. and most of the telecom spend for the SMB space under $750. The ILECs have conceded these areas. Cellular will be their avenue to revenue in the SMB market. The cellcos would like their channel partners to swim in this red ocean. Admittedly, 4G connectivity should be in the ballpark for agents. It’s kind of a safe bet.
Now, M2M solutions are more complex. They mainly involve ways to connect, track and gather data, people and things. This calls for Net-heads, folks who think in IP. The fight in the channel is to find Net-heads.
SIP over MPLS and private cloud offerings are composite answers to the convergence question. The ability to combine IT and telecom points into one reliable solution for the customer is the hallmark of a Net-head. Flexibility, efficiency, mobile, remote and virtual are inherent to Net-head proposals.
With the growing list of IP endpoints from smartphones to trackers to surveillance gear, the ability to combine hardware, software, services, connectivity and management is the holy grail of the new telecom. It is at these edges of what is possible that the channel needs to excel at to thrive.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi