–By Stephen Hackett
The telecoms and IT industry is currently experiencing the most dramatic revolution since privatisation enabled the start of the competitive market. The market, in turn, instigated the introduction of the most innovative services the industry has seen since the invention of the telephone itself. It seems that as more services migrate to the cloud, a service supplier is no longer judged solely by its balance sheet and inventory. The supplier’s approach to services innovation and customer service, as well as the relevance and depth of the actual services offered, are the more likely criteria.
The move to the cloud for services that previously required on-premises hardware and management has provided the catalyst for further innovation and the entrance to the market of service providers that, until recently, were either:
- Known for something else completely (as in the case of Amazon and Google), or
- Have had to totally reinvent themselves in order to continue to be a competitor (as in the case of Microsoft).
That’s not forgetting the brands that are relatively new on the scene, but are now part of everyday language, such as Salesforce and Facebook (to name only two).
Cloud Blurs the Lines Between Supplier Capability
In the meantime, this paradigm shift occurred under the watchful gaze of the telecommunications, network and colo providers. Until relatively recent times, providers addressed the SME and enterprise markets by selling services to the managed service providers (MSPs). MSPs built enterprise-facing services to provide their own customers with as much of their IT communications requirements as possible; building product, delivery, support and billing processes to enable them to do so.
As the lines were blurred between supplier capability, with the telecoms, colo and network providers building the ability to operate and deliver cloud services themselves, even their product portfolio has expanded. The race to be all things to business has led to extensive customer offerings by all but the most stubborn of providers.
So that’s the history dealt with. Now let’s look at what this actual means to the market . . .
Today, there are two groups of service providers addressing the market:
- The telecom/network, colo and cloud providers, and
- The managed service provider.
The difference between the two is the first have built inventory, and the second buy inventory from the first. Yet both in many cases serve, or would like to serve, the same markets.
And they both need customers.
So, imagine this. If you are a MSP and you have acquired services to build and sell to your intended market, you need to be on the street building relationships in a determined, focused manner, addressing a certain market level. If you are a telecom/network, colo and cloud provider, your two main channels to market are obviously your direct sales force, who will address the top 1000 companies by size and region, and the MSPs–who, it could be argued, provide you with revenues from the SME and enterprise market.
But here’s the clever bit: why stop there? If, as a result of competitive development and expansion of service offerings, telecom/network, colo and cloud providers now can address the SME and enterprise market, how do they?
The Future of the Channel
In April 2016, less than 12 months ago, Intelisys Global became the first Pan European-focused two-tier Technology Service Distributor to open doors in London, specifically to help the telecom/network, colo and cloud providers address markets where they did not plan to build sales teams. Today, Intelisys Global works with 14 national and international Supplier Partners and has access to more than one hundred in the US market. Already having recruited and working with more than 40 agents (or as we call them, Sales Partners) in Europe, Intelisys Global has become the defacto means for organisations and individual technology services advisors to address their target market with an agnostic set of suppliers and technologies.
Is your business is involved in advising business users about the relevance, viability and commercial suitability of technology services? For example, network services, internet access, security, VoIP? Intelisys Global provides access to the service suppliers that enable you to perform the role of an independent and agnostic technology advisor, giving your customers choice and a non-sales means of supplier engagement.
Intelisys Global Sales Partners are able to offer this service at no cost to their customers, with their commercial reward for helping their customer select the eventual service made by the supplier to the agent direct and for the life of the contract.
The Rise of the Agnostic Technology Advisor
The opportunity and timing for the Intelisys Global Sales Partners to build their business and act as advisors, without having to acquire inventory, deliver service, provide customer support or produce a single bill, has come at a time when customers are looking for best-of-class service in an ever-changing, dynamic market. In fact, many of our Partners quite correctly position themselves as the reason why their customers can be confident they will be able to research, compare and acquire the technology services they need–all by making a single phone call.
With everything that the independent agnostic technology advisor needs to build their business–including marketing support, technology education and training–Intelisys Global and our Sales Partners are plugging the gap in today’s exciting IT service market.
About the Author
Stephen Hackett, Managing Director for Intelisys Global, is a 15-year telecoms industry veteran with extensive experience crafting and implementing compelling partner-facing strategies for development of industry programs via indirect sales channels.