Getting Carried Away in the Channel

July 29, 2011 at 9:17 am 1 comment

Kevin Rhone – Director, Client Services

I’ve been both engrossed and aghast over the past weeks by the posturing and just plain politicking going on in Washington over the financial future of our country. In a recent article by Maureen Dowd in the NY Times, she argued that we can never go back to the past, and cited as proof a study from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in which their research showed that since “a single photon or unit of light cannot exceed the speed of light”… so Einstein was right – the concept of time travel “back to a more civilized era” is just that, a whimsical concept best reserved for science fiction or the movies.

So if our politicians need to accept that we live in a new world and make plans for the future, it got me to thinking about how that applies to the ecosystem in the Channel, and specifically about the role of Service Providers/Carriers in the era of the Cloud. How will they evolve their relationships with Solution Providers and build out the channel? What does it mean for their partner programs and relationships with technology vendors?

Service Providers and Carriers are very good at managing huge data centers, assets and technology. They also provide services to large numbers of customers and excel at automating the management and delivery of processes such as provisioning, billing and metering. Today they are aggressively building a set of offerings around the Cloud “Holy Trinity” of Infrastructure, Platform and Software as a Service (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS).

But to complete the play, broad skills in understanding customer needs, effective prospecting and selling, and maintaining close customer relationships never go out of style. In fact, our research shows that consulting skills for pre-sales assessment, design and architecture rank highest in terms of creating value for partner relationships with Service Providers/Carriers. Since these are exactly the capabilities that have driven success for the top Solution Providers, it is no wonder that the Carriers are courting them as strategic partners. We see Service Providers such as Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon actively stepping up their partnering programs to engage, empower, and evaluate this new partner ecosystem.

So if we accept that we all live in a new world (which I think is an exciting one) and we can’t go “Back to the Future”; then the next great thing for us all to work on will be topics like: How will Carriers establish and manage top-level partner programs? What will they look like, and how does everyone make money? How will the relationships and priorities between Vendors, Carriers and Solution Providers change?

No-one knows where this will end up, but here’s betting that even in uncertain times, the huge Cloud opportunity (and mutual interest) will pave the way forward for the evolution and continued success of the Channel.

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Entry filed under: Industry Perspective. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Beth Vani  |  July 29, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    Like it, Kevin! There’s a lot of discussion about whether the big telecom/SPs will build, buy or partner for their downstream professional services capabilities. It’s a great opportunity for larger SI’s (or even specialized boutique SI’s with national scale) to team with them or become important parts of their downstream ecosystem. Vendors should come see our panel at the CompTIA Breakway Exchange event next week in Washington D.C. where we’ll have a panel discussion with Terremark and CIsco on this issue.

    Reply

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