This article originally appeared in the March 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
There has been a plethora of merger activity in the second half of 2010, including in the indirect channel space. MSPs are merging. VARs are merging with telecom agencies. Much of that activity has to do with the cloud movement. As the cloud takes up more oxygen in the room, sectors of our industry have to figure out how to stay relevant.
Managed service providers think that they have to have cloud in their name; hosting companies, too. There's no more hosting; it's now just private, hybrid and public clouds. Everyone is riding the bus.
Value-added resellers used to selling hardware and services have to adjust to the world of cloud and SAAS. Now the hardware sales are diminishing, which affects quota, co-marketing dollars and revenue.
In the World of Cloud, WAN plays a major role. Without connectivity, customers can't reach their data.
Smarter VARs already have jumped into the VoIP pool, selling white label voice services to their client base. Many have also been selling data backup, as a referral partner or affiliate just to be the one-stop shop for all things data/app and keep the gravy train rolling. Multiple streams of income, as Robert Allen wrote.
Apps and connectivity today mean cellular as well. Starting a telecom department, partnering with an agent, or merging with a telecom agency just makes sense as the line between LAN and WAN starts to blur.
There are many moving parts in the World of Cloud. More often it will be a hybrid model that will require planning, provisioning and integration – the value play for the channel. Just as agents get paid by carriers for services they sell, VARs will be collecting revenue for customers that buy the following services: cloud, SaaS (News - Alert), data storage and backup, network monitoring and security, mobility, MPLS, Internet access, VoIP and business continuity. This is the World of Cloud for the VAR 2.0 (or Agent 2.0).
Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi