Opex, C3, Upstack Named Top Avant Partners

Opex's Randy Friedberg shared some of the secrets to the technology advisor's success.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

October 4, 2023

4 Min Read
Gold trophy
Ink Drop/Shutterstock

AVANT SPECIAL FORCES SUMMIT — Top Avant partners took home honors for their sales achievements from the tech services distributor (TSD) on Tuesday.

Opex Technologies maintained a familiar spot at the top of Avant’s list of overall top-performing partners. Avant recognized the Raleigh, North Carolina-based technology advisor and consultancy as its top overall partner in its “trusted advisor” category. In addition, Opex led its peers in colocation and landed the largest deal across the board.

In the meantime, C3 Technology Advisors continued its growth. The Michigan-based partner was the second overall advisor partner for Avant. It also led the way in the cloud category.

M2, which sold to Upstack in 2021 and now operates under that brand, placed third. M2’s historical distribution partners included PlanetOne (which Avant acquired last year) and Bridgepointe.

In Avant’s “strategic partner” category geared toward value-added resellers (VARs) and systems integrators (SIs), CDW claimed the top spot.

The Mindset of Top Avant Partners

How does Opex Technologies continue to grow? Randy Friedberg, who joined Opex in 2022 as chief operating officer, gave a simple answer: working closely with customers as a team.


Opex’s Randy Friedberg

“It’s just maintaining a laser focus on our building and maintain the relationships we have with our customers. And it’s a collective effort from our entire team,” Friedberg told Channel Futures. “We focus on enabling the success of our customers and making sure that we can act as an extension of their teams and help them achieve their goals in every project.”

Technology advisor (agent) partners have often needed to decide whether they will be hunting (seeking new logos) or farming (retaining and widening their existing customer base) organizations. Friedberg said it can tempting for a partner to source a solution for a customer and then walk away. Opex aims to maintain that relationship, Friedberg said.

“It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day activities as you’re selling to new customers,” Friedberg said. “… We have invested in bringing in additional resources to focus on being proactive with our customers and going deeper and wider in understanding their needs and how those needs are changing, and helping them every step of the way. It takes a concerted effort to be proactive, not just reactive.”

Eyeing the Future

Matthew Toth, founder and president of C3 Technology Advisors, told Channel Futures that he’s excited about the trajectory of the AI-driven contact center market. Many partners, like C3, have already established contact center consultancies. And that makes for a very natural landing spot for artificial intelligence capabilities.

“I think for [other partner types], it’s kind of going to be the trough of disillusionment for a while. But I think in our business, it’s going to get used a lot. I think it’s going to ramp up pretty quick. There’s so much money that’s gotten invested in some of these contact center AI offshoots,” he said.


C3’s Matthew Toth

Toth added that he anticipates sellers in the technology advisor channel to adopt AI much faster than previous technologies. Consider the efforts TSDs and vendors made about a decade ago to convince agents expand beyond network sales into cloud.

“Every place you went was saying, ‘You’ve got to sell cloud; you’ve got to sell cloud.’ And then a lot of folks didn’t jump on that train, and they really couldn’t, because AWS and Azure just ate it up. Everyone’s left fighting for tables. And then the next thing is security. And that is a good transition, but it’s still as hard or probably harder than the cloud transition,” Toth told Channel Futures. “For this AI transition, you have a lot more people that are ready to go, that are ready to sell this. That’s why I think the the effect will be higher, because you have a lot of people right now that are feeling pretty good about selling decent contact center deals.”

Here’s the full list of top Avant partners.

Top Overall Trusted (Technology) Advisors

1st: Opex Technologies
2nd: C3 Technology Advisors
3rd: Upstack (formerly M2)

Top Category Sales for Trusted Advisors

Colo: Opex Technologies
Cloud: C3 Technology Advisors
Connectivity: Sedexis
UCaaS: Packet Fusion
CCaaS: Alamo Cloud
Security: Cloud Latitude
SD-WAN: TechChoice

Trusted Advisor Disruptors

Fastest Growing: MirisGroup
Biggest Deal: Opex Technologies (with Flexential)
Top Newcomer: Kairos Data Communications

Top Overall Strategic Partners

1st: CDW
2nd: ePlus
3rd: SHI

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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