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IBM-AT&T Alliance a Big Differentiator for the Channel

The carrier will utilize Red Hat's open source platform to manage workloads and applications.

Edward Gately

July 17, 2019

3 Min Read
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IT services and consulting firm NexusTek (No. 33 on the 2018 Channel Futures MSP 501) has completed three more acquisitions this year — Cal Net Technology Group, Syndeo Technologies and Decision Consultants (DCI). The purchases in Southern California, Arizona and New England, respectively, mark five for NexusTek this year and eight in four years, each of which "directly benefits customers by augmenting the company’s core competencies and ability to execute best practices." NexusTek is backed by Abry Partners, a private-equity firm with more than $77 billion of leveraged transactions under its belt.Shutterstock

IBM and AT&T have formed a multiyear strategic alliance enabling the carrier to host its business applications on the IBM Cloud.

AT&T Business will utilize Red Hat’s open source platform to manage workloads and applications. IBM completed its acquisition of Red Hat last week. The improvements will allow AT&T Business to better serve enterprise customers, according to IBM.

IBM also will make AT&T Business its primary provider of software defined networking. AT&T Business will help transform IBM’s networking solutions with their latest technologies including 5G, edge compute and IoT, as well as multicloud capabilities using Red Hat.

IBM and AT&T already were partners, with AT&T Business serving as IBM’s strategic global networking provider.

AT&T and IBM have a 20-year history of working together, and “we believe this strategic alliance will transform how both companies serve business customers,” an AT&T spokesperson told Channel Futures.

In terms of how it will benefit AT&T partners, the spokesperson said “large customers have complex business requirements. It’s complicated to design and deliver communications and networking solutions for them. Solutions often take months to implement.

“By upgrading our sales, order and billing systems, we’ll streamline key processes and provide these valuable customers a better experience,” AT&T said.

Vince Bradley, WTG‘s CEO, tells us a “good relationship just got great!”

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WTG’s Vince Bradley

“As a top-level master agent for both AT&T and IBM, [we’re] excited to see them further strengthen their 20-year strategic partnership,” he said. “IBM will significantly benefit from AT&T’s 5G as well as their huge global network. AT&T will benefit having one of the top cloud providers in the world backing them up.”

This alliance creates “big opportunities” for the channel, Bradley said.

“Agent and MSP partners will now be able to do more with less via bundling,” he said. “This will also organically help further the convergence of agent and MSP worlds as MSPs who would have traditionally only tapped IBM will be able to tap AT&T. Likewise, agents who previously were tapping AT&T for more can now have access to IBM in a bundled fashion.”

Telarus CEO Adam Edwards tells us if IBM can improve service delivery it’s a win for AT&T partners and for customers.

“The key to success in technology services is delivering an excellent customer experience and those organizations that invest in their customer experience will attract and retain more customers and consequently more partners,” he said.

Alan Sandler, Sandler Partners‘ managing partner, tells us his master agency has strong relationships with both IBM and AT&T, as well as respect for their communications and computing products and services.

“Together, these companies are a powerful combination, offering customers comprehensive solutions – from security to 5G, and edge computing to IoT,” he said. “We look forward to seeing how this collaboration will leverage the channel to deliver their combined solutions to enterprise customers.”

IBM will be the primary developer and cloud provider for AT&T Business‘ operational applications and will help manage the AT&T Communications’ IT infrastructure, on and off-premises and across different clouds — private and public.

AT&T Business will have even greater access to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and OpenShift platforms as the foundation for workload portability and interoperability across any vendor’s cloud, on or off premises, according to IBM.

“Building on IBM’s 20-year relationship with AT&T, today’s agreement is another major step forward in delivering flexibility to AT&T Business so it can provide IBM and its customers with innovative services at a faster pace than ever before,” said Arvind Krishna, IBM’s senior vice president of cloud and cognitive software. “We are proud to collaborate with AT&T Business, provide the scale and performance of our global footprint of cloud data centers, and deliver a common environment on which they can build once and deploy in any one of the appropriate footprints to be faster and more agile.”

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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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