This article originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
The consolidation resulting from all the M&A this year is probably making agents nervous over whether their commissions are safe or not.
Then there's the news about the T1 dying and the PSTN being turned off. What's an agent to do?
Here are some streams of revenue for 2011:
Agents can sell fat pipes as AboveNet, FiberLight (News - Alert), XO and others put more miles of fiber in the ground.
Or, agents could sell 4G data services from CLEAR – go bigger by working with Sprint on M2M projects for verticals like fleet tracking or e-health monitoring.
Obviously, agents can sell cloud services. It's been the buzz all year. I've done three panels on it this year. To work with the big guys like Amazon, Google (News - Alert) and Salesforce, agents will have to do implementation and project management. Most will not want to morph like that. The simplest cloud service is hosted e-mail, with a myriad of providers including GreenAppX, Hostopia and XO.
Another offering would be data backup, which could become part of a business continuity consultancy. Sticking with that theme, New Edge Networks (News - Alert) and XO have redundant broadband packages for retail shops.
A growth sector is managed services such as desktop support or network security. MegaPath is branding itself as a managed services LEC. Agents might want to partner with an MSP. (They were out in force at MSP World at ITEXPO (News - Alert).) Businesses just want the technology to work in the background. Managed services allow that to occur by outsourcing the technology. Perimeter E-Security has been a premiere vendor for a while.
Converged services for the enterprise are available from Level 3 and XO in the form of MPLS with DIA and SIP trunking. It's basically a network redesign for the business. Certainly, consultative selling skills will be tested here, but then it's time to put on the big boy pants.
Telecom expense management also is finally gaining traction.
2011 will be interesting.
Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi