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Enterprise CIOs and next-gen vendors increasingly rely on the technology advisory channel.

James Anderson

September 22, 2022

19 Slides

AVANT SPECIAL FORCES SUMMIT — The technology advisor channel continues to drive adoption within next-gen vendors and enterprise customers.

Attendees trained hard and played hard at the Avant Special Forces Summit this week in Austin, Texas. And that combination of effort and celebration is very much connected to the movement partners are making up-market and up the stack.

The agent space has long been associated with SMB and midmarket telecommunications. But declarations from Avant staff and vendors, and anecdotes from partners weave a picture of a partner model that has gained credibility in the eyes of the CIO community.

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Avant’s Chris Werpy

Avant chief innovation officer Chris Werpy said a spotlight has shown on the industry in the last few years.

“It hit at all levels — the [technology services distributors] (TSDs) down to the trusted advisors. And so I think that was a validation for a lot of work that people had done for years,” Werpy told Channel Futures. “We knew how powerful this channel was, in terms of a go-to-market motion. The vendors knew it. It was no secret in our world.”

Huge Partner Sales

Avant CEO Ian Kieninger offered a staggering statistic: Twenty-six percent of the $230 million year-over year growth in CCaaS market revenue in 2021 came through technology advisors.

“This room basically sold 26% of that number,” Kieninger said. “If you add up our competition, that number is going to get even bigger.”

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Avant’s Ian Kieninger

Partners are increasingly tackling technologies like CCaaS and cybersecurity. Moreover, they’re targeting larger and larger customers. Kieninger said 48% of the TSD’s top 50 partners have sold a deal to a $1 billion company. That’s up from 45% last year and just 23% in 2019.

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Avant’s Ted Schuman

That evolution comes as the technology services distributors consolidated into a handful of massive national players. And those TSDs say that they are doing more than they have ever done to meet end customer needs.

“Back then it was pretty simple. We pushed papers, we babysat accounts, and we sent out checks,” Avant chief experience officer Ted Schuman said. “It has certainly evolved today to engineering, pricing, picking vendors, finding the right architecture and solving problems for our customers. We’ve literally invested millions of dollars to do that.”

Avant acquired Schuman’s PlanetOne earlier this year with the aim of expanding its Pathfinder tool, bolstering its back office and bringing in a complementary culture.

Channel Futures spoke to Avant leadership, vendors and partners about the evolution of the channel and what TSDs need to be providing moving forward.

Scroll through slideshow gallery to see industry commentary as well as a visual recap of the last day of the conference.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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