Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The continued convergence of traditional IT and telecom services is creating new business and partnership opportunities for companies in both sectors. But challenges abound for those firms that are ill-prepared. Those messages were shared Tuesday at Breakaway 2012
during a session on the current and future state of telecom agent and IT VAR partnerships.
The topic was covered from two perspectives: joint research from Channel Partners
and CompTIA; and the real world experiences of firms in the IT and telecom space who shared their partnership experiences – good and bad.
Partnerships between IT solution providers and telecom agents are generating significant business, according to a Channel Partners
-CompTIA study published earlier this year. Some companies are generating up to three-quarters of annual revenue from these strategic and tactical collaborations.
“The biggest reasons for partnering include creating more opportunities to sell existing services, to generate new revenue streams, to do so without incurring start-up challenges and to respond to customer demand,” said Khali Henderson, editor in chief, Channel Partners
The study revealed that 43 percent of IT firms garnered between 50 and 74 percent of their total sales in the last 12 months from partnerships with telecom agents. Another 25 percent of IT firms reaped between 25 and 49 percent.
Among telecom agents, one-fourth said partnerships with IT firms accounted for 25-49 percent of revenue in the last 12 months, while about one in five telecom agents said they generated more than 50 percent of revenue from partnerships.
Both groups expect their partnerships to be beneficial in the future, with revenue expected to stay at the same level or increasing in the next 12 months.
But there are challenges to overcome before an agent-VAR partnership can succeed.
“The telecom agent world and the VAR/solution provider world have very little understanding of the other’s business model,” noted Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA. “There’s almost no set of best practices that agents and VARs are using.”
Joe Schurman, founder, chairman and CEO of Evangelyze Communications
, Spring, Texas, told attendees to look for potential partners at events such as Breakaway and the Channel Partners Conference. He also advised them to look to their product and solution vendors and their partner relationships.
“We all are looking for more wallet share from the same customer,” concluded Clark Atwood, principal and president, Concierge Communications
, Tempe, Ariz. There are multiple business models that will work. The question is: Are you going to be able to thrive and grow your business?”