MSP-Telecom Convergence: Partners Take Sides

There are some pretty strong opinions from partners on both sides of the proverbial aisle.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

September 18, 2020

8 Slides

Will the MSP community adopt telecom services? Will telecom agents sell managed services?

Four channel experts debated industry convergence last week at Channel Partners Virtual.

Andrew Pryfogle, Pax8‘s chief market development officer, took the “yes” side because, simply put, he sees convergence occurring.


Pax8’s Andrew Pryfogle

“We are absolutely seeing agents that are being drawn more into the managed services conversation. We’re seeing MSPs being drawn more and more into the telco conversation,” Pryfogle said.


TPx’s Jared Martin

Jared Martin, vice president of MSx managed services for TPx Communications, said “yes” because agents need to evolve. His own company “saw the writing on the wall” and pivoted to managed services.

“The future really is managed services,” Martin said.

But MSP expert Rob Rae voiced strong objections. Rae, Datto’s senior vice president of business development, argued that the convergence question does not carry the same weight for IT services providers. And that’s because the MSP channel is growing. He said the average MSP grew more than 20% in 2019.


Datto’s Rob Rae

“You guys are talking about the channel in trouble,” Rae said. “We’re actually seeing the exact opposite.”

But it’s not just the IT people who doubt the convergence. Agent Alliance CEO Bill Power said agents need to heavily invest in IT education if they want to do managed IT services.


The Alliance’s Bill Power

“Legacy telco agents are very reluctant. And it’s not enough to just have a portfolio of suppliers that you can reach into and bring somebody into the conversation. I’ve got to get the prospect interested in the first place. It’s a tough, tough battle,” Power said.

The Audience Speaks

Approximately 60% of attendees voted for the pro-convergence side at the end of the debate. However, many weighed in their opinions.

Vince Tinnirello, managing director of Colorado-based MSP Anchor Network Solutions, sided with the naysayers. He agreed with Rae, that while the telecom industry may be suffering, the same does not go for MSPs.

“The channel experts wouldn’t have anything to talk about if they didn’t have the subject of the demise of what we [MSPs] do, and usually the experts are people who’ve never done what we do. It’s laughable,” Tinnirello said.

Several other MSP and telecom agent partners weighed in on the debate in the online comment section. We noted eight of the best comments in the gallery below. You can also read our full write-up of the debate.

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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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