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March 29, 2022
Let’s face it: Even though “cloud” has been around for more than a decade, some channel partners still haven’t gotten into the game. Most of these folks come from the traditional telecom world, where phone equipment and plan sales continue to reign supreme. Those days are fading fast.
It’s time for agents, consultants and any other partners with a legacy bent to start offering cloud services and platforms. One fairly easy way to do this – unified communication as a service (UCaaS) – ties right into these partners’ knowledge base. UCaaS bridges the gap between telephony and cloud, making the most of partners’ expertise while also bringing them into a new practice area.
That’s why the Channel Partners Conference & Expo, April 11-14, in Las Vegas, will feature the session, “Keeping Customers and Growing Your Business with Cloud Migration.” UCaaS adoption is happening at double-digit rates, faster than traditional telecom, and arguably provides channel partners their best opportunity to migrate customers to the cloud. While most businesses are ready for the cloud, channel partners need to move them beyond phone systems and show the value of collaboration platforms, not just to save money, but to make the business more competitive. Led by independent research analyst Jon Arnold, this panel will show attendees what the road map for success needs to look like.
We’ll feature more than 100 top speakers at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo/MSP Summit. Register now to join 6,500 fellow attendees, April 11-14. You can also interact with more than 300 key suppliers and technology service distributors.
J Arnold & Associates’ Jon Arnold
“Selling cloud communications services – UCaaS – is different from what you’ve been selling – phone systems and telecom calling plans,” Arnold, head of J. Arnold and Associates, says. “First, the SaaS model is about recurring revenue, so there’s not much hardware, but you get an ongoing revenue stream. More importantly, UCaaS is a platform from which you can now sell other cloud-based services, and get beyond the commodity business of selling lines and minutes.”
What’s important to come to the panel knowing is that UCaaS encompasses far more than just offering telephony.
“With one platform you can also sell video, conferencing, mobility and even contact center,” Arnold says. “Bigger picture? Your customers are moving to the cloud and you need to move with them. UCaaS is a pretty low-risk way to do that.”
Frank Lauria, senior vice president of business development at IntelePeer, agrees. (Lauria will join the session alongside Arnold and Mark Sher, senior vice president of product marketing for Intermedia.) Moving from on-premises UC or PBX to cloud alternatives improves not only the customer experience, but also bulks up channel partners’ wallets.
IntelePeer’s Frank Lauria
“This transformation involves both the selection of a UCaaS platform, and the selection of a communications platform … that needs to do more than just voice and messaging,” Lauria says.
Such platforms also should feature collaboration, automation and integrations that give customers and partners “additional options for innovating in the cloud,” Lauria says.
Arnold, for his part, sees UCaaS as a sound starting point for channel partners dipping their toes into cloud. However, he adds, don’t consider UCaaS as a cloud end game.
“UCaaS will eventually be a commodity just like POTS, but at least with cloud, you have more options to add customized services and white-label,” he says. “You need to think along these lines to differentiate from your competitors, who are also selling UCaaS. You should also be thinking about UCaaS [vendors] in terms of providing a turnkey solution, so you can quickly go to market and do what you do best – sell and build relationships – and let the [vendor] do what they do best: provide technology solutions that bring new value to your customers and sustainable margins for your business.”
“We would like sales/channel partners to know that by giving their customers … flexibility, they are better engaged with their customers at a business level, and are positioned to provide additional applications, integrations and automation in the future as a long-term trusted adviser.”
Find out more from Arnold, Lauria and Sher at CP Expo on Wednesday, April 13, at 10:45 a.m.
Read more about:
AgentsContributing Editor, Channel Futures
Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.
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