Talkin Cloud Blog

No Opportunity Left Behind

Today’s MSPs and solution providers are challenged daily to stay ahead of the technologies that can improve their customers’ business. That expertise must span across technologies, and sometimes must spill outside the traditional realm of solution providers.

One constant challenge to solution providers immersed in today’s rapidly shifting IT landscape, where innovation and convergence continuously crash together, is remaining relevant to customers.

Gone are the days where an IT shop might specialize in only one corner of the industry. Today’s MSPs and solution providers are challenged daily to stay ahead of the technologies that can improve their customers’ business. That expertise must span across technologies, and sometimes must spill outside the traditional realm of solution providers.

Such is the case with cloud computing and telecom carriers. In years past, an MSP might know who their customer’s carrier was, but rarely did the two find themselves occupying the same space. Today, all of that is changing. As telecom agents feel the same squeeze as VARs once did, with competition breathing down their necks, they’ve started to consider how they can turn their small piece of the pie into something more concrete and more lucrative.

MSPs need to play closer attention to their local telecom agents and weigh the options to partner with an agent, manage your customer’s carrier relationships yourself or find a business partner who can help you do both. MSPs overlooking this opportunity are likely leaving money on the table, but more importantly, they are opening the door to increased competition.

Successful MSP businesses are built on managing as many pieces of the customer’s pie as possible, and that means the carrier relationship as well. If you’re not ready to do it on your own, partnering is another option that allows you to offer deep expertise without investing in training and staffing around telecom.

It’s not a decision you’re going to make overnight, but adding carrier services to your portfolio is a move you can’t ignore. Cloud and telecom are inextricably linked. To remain a true trusted adviser, MSPs and CSPs must cover everything that connects to the network and that includes mobile devices, cloud and telecom services.

Renee Bergeron is Vice President, Managed Services & Cloud Computing at Ingram Micro. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly, and are part of Talkin' Cloud's annual platinum sponsorship.

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

John Procida (not verified)
on Mar 16, 2013

Renee,

I agree that cloud and telecom are "inextricably linked." Hosted PBX services and VoIP in the cloud are two areas our company is watching closely. But as an MSP why do I need to partner with a telecom agent when I can go right to a telco or directly to a cloud service provider that offers Hosted PBX?

Renee Bergeron (not verified)
on Mar 25, 2013

Thanks for the reply John. Absolutely, as with nearly any channel offering, there is an option to go direct. However, by going direct, you have to take on all the onus of the solution. You have to determine who is best to work with, negotiate the terms and conditions of working together (including your cut of the deal) and manage the relationship on an ongoing basis. Some of our partners find this difficult to do themselves. And they find that many vendors don’t relate to them as well (given their limited size) as they do to Ingram Micro.

With Telcos, it gets even more complex. Again, you can set yourself up as a master agent, but doing so has many requirements for managing billing and provisioning of services. This may not be cost effective for the average reseller.

Often our partners find that they want to focus on what they are good at, their core business and leave the peripheral activities of managing 3rd party solutions to a trusted partner like Ingram Micro.

on Mar 29, 2013

Hey Renee: Thanks for looping back with our readers. Looking forward to hearing more at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit.
-jp

on Mar 17, 2013

John,

I will ping Renee and Ingram Micro to make sure they saw your inquiry. Also, I am attending Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in a few weeks. I'll be sure to more closely study the connection between telco agent and cloud services at that event, while blogging live from the conference.

Joe Panettieri
Editorial Director, Talkin' Cloud

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