The Special Forces training brought the partner community together with thought leaders and key vendors of next-generation IT offerings.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

October 9, 2018

5 Min Read
Nuclear hot

CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — Partners should be screaming about all the opportunities made available to them through rapidly advancing technology.

That’s according to Drew Lydecker, president and co-founder of Avant, which gave its first Special Forces training session in conjunction with Channel Partners Evolution on Tuesday. It brought the partner community together with thought leaders and key vendors of next-generation IT offerings.

“This is a mini version of our large Special Forces that we did in Chicago,” Lydecker said. “It’s part motivation and part technical, but the goal of these is really to up your game. If you’re one of our partners, one of our customers, you’re in the pros, so you have to train like a pro. So today is all about enhancing what you’re saying in front of a customer, where the market’s going and it’s not your typical training.”


Avant’s Drew Lydecker leads a discussion during the Special Forces Training.

Lydecker gave his latest “mother of all presentations” (MOAP), which will be available to customers rebranded as their own.

“We’re huge on silver bullets and right now this market in particular in all the various areas that we play in is changing so much that it’s about learning a little bit about all of it,” he said. “This is the golden era of the trusted adviser. Never in history has a trusted adviser been so needed for the end customer. And this isn’t just in the small business and this isn’t just in the enterprise. This is in the absolute biggest businesses on the planet today. So you need a platform to plug into because in order to keep up with the rate of change, you have to have a team constantly feeding you all of the new information that’s coming out almost on a minute-by-minute basis.”

There’s massive opportunities in UCaaS and SD-WAN, and cybersecurity is “absolutely nuclear hot,” Lydecker said.  Every time you see a breach, you should “do a little fist pump because that’s an opportunity,” he said.

“Eighty percent of tech revenue is now occurring through indirect channels,” he said. “We need to be screaming this statistic. This is the era that we live in and this is the statistic I love: 90 percent will seek outside assistance with their cloud strategy and implementation.”

Pat Brown, Xtel Communications’ channel manager, said a “lot of good knowledge” was shared during Special Forces, “and Avant seems to be leading the way in the master agent channel.”

“Some of the statistics on how UCaaS is changing the environment and how the growth for UCaaS is, and the opportunities it affords all the partners is interesting,” he said.

Lydecker also said he’s puzzled by the number of trusted advisers not selling more disaster recovery-as-a-service (DraaS.)

“We need to get way ahead of DRaaS as trusted advisers,” he said. “This it not slowing down. This is the easy button. It is something that customers just can’t do on their own.”

During a panel discussion on cloud sales opportunities, including IaaS, DRaaS, colocation, hyperscale and hybrid, William Bell, PhoenixNAP‘s executive vice president of products, said the single greatest opportunity is in services: IaaS, security as-a-service and colocation.

“The amount of things people think are protected and safe would astonish you,” he said. “People just believe Microsoft is taking care of everything there. We know for a fact Microsoft is …

… not taking care of that email for you.”

Avant also announced major enhancements to its channel sales enablement capabilities with the updated release of its BattleApp. Users of BattleApp have grown 82 percent year over year, Lydecker said.

“The BattleApp is continuing to evolve, so what that means pretty much for the trusted adviser, in my opinion, is a superweapon to differentiate yourself when you’re in front of a customer,” he said. “Right now, with the way the market’s going, for a trusted adviser to be able to get in front of a customer to show off their intellectual property, the resources they have, how they can navigate the confusion that the market is giving everyone, the BattleApp just continues to evolve.”

The new feature functionality allows Avant’s agents, VARs, MSPs and SIs to “completely morph into the BattleApp, meaning their colors, their logo, their everything, from research to the branded pages, to any PDF that’s located on it, everything gets rebranded,” Lydecker said.

“And in addition to that, we’ve upgraded our matrices, which is our research that we have found to be a big differentiator for our particular customers today, the customers being our agents, VARs and MSPs,” he said. “And so to be able to go in there and have research that is unlike any research on the planet right now is super important, but to have it rebranded as yours is very, very powerful.”

In terms of cybersecurity, Lydecker said Avant’s new alliance with MSSP TrustWave is a “huge differentiator for Avant’s trusted advisers.”

Steven Baer, TrustWave’s vice president of systems engineers, said what differentiates his company is its ability to deal with multiple types of clients.”

“We are not a one-size-fits-all, that’s it, this-is-our-way-or-the-highway organization,” he said. “Cyberthreats vary from industry to industry, from business to business, and from geography to geography, and we can paint and match, and provide that threat intelligence to those organizations. We’ve got 10 global security operations centers (SOCs) plus a fusion center in Chicago, and over 250 cybersecurity experts who do nothing but cybercrime.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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