The initiative gives MSPs an opportunity to source more technology offerings for their customers.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

May 5, 2022

3 Min Read

ASCII Group‘s new initiative with Sandler Partners represents the latest act of convergence between the MSP and agent partner channels.

The partnership, announced Thursday, gives ASCII members the ability to sell Sandler’s portfolio of cloud and connectivity solutions. Sandler Partners is a technology solutions brokerage (TSB) that serves as an intermediary between business communication vendors and sales agents. Sandler brings more than 200 technology providers into the line card of ASCII’s MSP, VAR and MSSP members.


The ASCII Group’s Alan Weinberger

“We are pleased to be working with Sandler Partners and recognize the emerging synergies between the telecom and IT industries,” said Alan Weinberger, chairman and CEO of The ASCII Group. “We are delighted to present another benefit to members of the ASCII community that will yield additional revenue opportunities for their businesses.”


ASCII has functioned as an education and networking hub for IT partners since its founding in 1984. Sandler, on the other hand, has existed since 2003. It competes against several other national distributors, such as Intelisys, Telarus and Avant. TSBs like Sandler traditionally assist their sales partners in a commission-based “agent” model, rather than a resale model. However, value-added resellers comprise part of Sandler’s and other TSBs’ partner bases.

According to founding partner Alan Sandler, Redondo Beach, California-based Sandler sets itself apart with its decision to stay away from private equity investors.


Sandler Partners’ Alan Sandler

“Being independent and private, we can work a little differently than most technology distributors. We’re free to concentrate on the relationships we build with our community — educating and empowering technology professionals with impartial solutions, not driven by quota’s or agendas, providing ironclad contracts, and support that allows customer service, everyone’s holy grail, to always be the first and last consideration. We are grateful to welcome The ASCII Group to our community; the Sandler Partners team is ready to help you succeed,” Sandler said.

Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.

Learn more about Sandler Partners from a recent interview with new chief revenue officer Justin Marano.


Much fanfare has been made over the last five years about whether or not MSPs and agents will evolve to adopt more of the other’s business model. Distributors like Pax8 have positioned themselves as a one-stop shop for both models over the years. But whether or not partners are actually converging is another question.

For the traditional telecom agent broker, that would mean adopting more managed services and owning more of the customer life cycle. For the IT MSP, that would mean expanding the number of vendor-managed services they source for customers, including but not limited to carrier services.

Many partners have flat-out disagreed that widespread partner convergence will occur. Many on the agent side have emphasized the costliness of building managed IT services practice. Those on the MSP side point to the fact that many of them are already doing sourcing in addition to management.

“Convergence means you’re bringing something to the table that we don’t have,” Datto channel exec Rob Rae told agents in 2020. “But you’re not bringing anything.”

Nevertheless, many partners, like Marco Technologies, have developed both an agent and an MSP model (in addition to a resale model). And legacy hardware vendors like Cisco report that they are seeing their VAR partners sell both in a resale and commission-based model.  And a recent CompTIA study found that more MSPs are seeking to diversify their business models to include revenue streams beyond managed services.

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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