The updates are comprehensive to say the least.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 16, 2019

6 Min Read
Enhance, Improve

AT&T Partner Solutions (APS) unveiled a sweeping set of new tools and introduced its new leader to the channel last week.

AT&T’s main indirect sales organization announced multiple enhancements to its Partner Exchange, Alliance Channel and ACC Business programs. In the meantime, newly appointed leader Stacey Marx met with channel partners at the recent Channel Partners Conference & Expo, as Zee Hussain bade farewell. Sara Straley, assistant vice president of sales and marketing for AT&T Partner Exchange, was also on hand after accepting the new position earlier this year.

The enhancements and changes range from program-specific to overarching all of AT&T Partner Solutions. Partner Exchange, Alliance Channel and ACC Business will each benefit from AT&T Fiber Fast, a tool partners will use to tell their customers how long it will take to light up a building with fiber, whether that be five, 15 or 50 days.


AT&T’s Kevin Leonard

“We’re investing in fiber more than anyone else, so that lead is expanding,” said Kevin Leonard, AT&T Business’ vice president of alternate channels. “It’s only valuable if you get it to the customers.”

The Alliance Channel, which Leonard leads, has finished its FirstNet first-responders program pilot and made it available to more solution providers. AT&T invited a select number of partners to take part last summer . They’ll support a mobile network for public-safety organizations.

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

Alliance Channel members also got their hands on Vista, a long-demanded tool that helps them keep track of order information.

Leonard’s program, along with ACC Business, got their hands on SD-WAN Now. AT&T’s VeloCloud-powered SD-WAN platform remains the same, but the new service streamlines and expedites the process from sales to deployment. Leonard said the entire process will take 30 days. Zee Hussain told us that partner feedback led to the new tool.


AT&T’s Zee Hussain

“We’ve had an SD-WAN solution in the market for quite some time, but what our partners told us was, ‘It’s cumbersome. It’s slow. What we need from you is to build us something where we can price it quickly, design it quickly, contract it quickly and implement it quickly,'” Hussain said.

ACC, which Hussain said traditionally is known for providing network connectivity, is expanding its portfolio. He said solution providers in the program and their customers have asked for more complete solutions. AT&T has made SD-WAN, voice platform and broadband backup available for ACC. The portfolio additions will be “transformational” for partners when engaging a customer.

“Before, they might just stop at an internet connection,” Hussain said. “Now they can say, ‘We’ll sell you voice over the top; we’ll sell you SD-WAN connectivity; we can sell you broadband backup.”

AT&T Partner Exchange also is expanding its portfolio. The reseller program continues to build its IoT and mobility practices. Solution providers can sell Harman Spark, a connected car device that can assist drivers in a variety of ways, including creating a Wi-Fi hotspot. AT&T also unveiled an Asset Management Operations Center and a cloud-hosted IoT service called DataFlow.

For more comprehensive list of the announcements, see AT&T’s news release.

“The announcement was a testament to say: We are so committed to this that we are making investments across …

… all three of these channels,” Leonard said. “And these are significant investments.”

Straley Speaks

Sara Straley took the keynote stage at last week’s conference as AT&T Partner Exchange’s recently appointed leader. She spoke about three trends that are transforming the channel.


AT&T’s Sara Straley

She began leading the group’s marketing years ago and collaborated “hand-in-hand” with Randall Porter, the former leader of Partner Exchange. She told Channel Partners that marketing and sales are coming together in a natural progression.

She knows the Partner Exchange community well, but she said she’s noticed a positive shift. Partners are more eager to adopt technologies like security, IoT and 5G than ever, she said.

“I feel like the channel is very seriously looking at transformation in a way that I haven’t seen them take to quite so extensively as recently,” she said.

Hello, Goodbye

We wrote last week that Stacey Marx would replace Hussain, who was serving as senior vice president and channel chief of AT&T Partner Solutions. Marx has worked at AT&T in a variety of positions for 20-plus years and is “a friend of the channel,” according to Leonard.

Marx has worked with Hussain and Leonard in the past, especially when she was leading regional units within AT&T Business. Much of her business relied on indirect sales.

“She’s been really close to the channel,” Hussain said. “As a matter of fact, that regional space is a big focus area for us because of the distribution gaps that we have. So now she gets to bring that lens over here — which I think would be crucial.”

Marx assured Channel Partners that apart from Hussain, his APS team remains intact.


AT&T’s Stacey Marx

“Don’t view a change in leadership as anything other than just that. It’s just a change in leadership,” Marx said. “It is not a change in mission. Our mission remains the same … And if anything, we’re looking to do those fine tweaks to expand the growth.”

Hussain is moving to AT&T’s global business unit to serve as vice president of finance, health care and industry solutions. He spearheaded the realignment of APS’ three programs, with the aim of investing, enabling and providing tools. The organization celebrated a 78% year-over-year revenue growth at last year’s partner summit.

The fast growth makes the transition bittersweet for Hussain.

“The good and the bad is that it happened way faster than we expected,” he said. “And when they brought me in, the goal was always, ‘See this transformation through, and then we’re going to bring in a leader that is going to take it to sustained growth.'”

He said he looks forward to reporting to Frank Jules, whom he calls the best sales leader in the industry. It’s the next step in his rise through the ranks.

“I don’t think there’s a bigger privilege than when the executive team calls you (it happened in both of our cases) to say, ‘Great job. You did what we asked you to do. We need you to tackle another big project,'” he said.

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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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