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Don't Get Stuck in the Transformation Process

Partners face turbulent business environments now compared to any other time in history.

Smart, savvy partners have optimized their businesses by narrowly defining their business models and go-to-market strategies; however, they may have inadvertently cut themselves off from future growth and opportunities.

So how do you solve this conundrum?

During an education session, part of the business strategy track sponsored by Cyxtera at Channel Partners Evolution, Thursday, Oct. 11, in Philadelphia, Craig Schlagbaum, Comcast Business' vice president of indirect channels, will be among members of the Channel Futures Think Tank sharing their research and investigation in partner transformation.

Attendees will learn firsthand about the Channel Partner Transformation Framework, the trigger points of change and more.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Schlagbaum gave a sneak peek of what he plans to share with attendees.

Channel Partners: What are some ways in which partners can position their businesses to be able to take advantage of future growth and opportunities?

Craig Schlagbaum: Partners today face extremely turbulent business environments compared to any other time in history. Mobile, wireless and IoT technologies are significantly impacting every single business, from small business up to the largest Fortune 500 enterprises. It’s incumbent on selling partners to be more selective than ever before in choosing which suppliers they will partner with.

There are literally hundreds of hosted voice suppliers and thousands of cloud and SaaS providers available to partners, but how many of them will be in business in three-to-five years? Partners today – more than ever – need to carefully select and manage a small portfolio of reliable providers that have the breadth and depth of solutions, and the type of channel expertise and programmatic support that helps future-proof the suppliers business. We believe Comcast is a supplier that needs to be on every single partner's short list to fulfill these needs.

CP: Are there potential pitfalls to narrowly defining your business models and go-to-market strategies? What are some examples?

CS: We believe that successful businesses are generally very focused businesses overall. For example, two of our fastest-growing partners have established great success in large part due to their focus mostly on cable and their specialized sales and support models around our SMB and midmarket solutions. We can also point to a number of selling partners that have set themselves apart from the masses by virtue of their focus on Comcast and cable solutions. At the same time, partners that are wedded to a narrowly defined business model and aren’t open to change, e.g., embracing cloud and managed services or leveraging social media, aren’t going to prosper. In fact, they’re likely to see their businesses wither and die quite quickly.

CP: What are some ways in which partners can use their business transformation efforts to help customers in their digital transformation efforts?

CS: We are definitely seeing our partners “eat their own dog food” as it comes to digitally transforming their own business first before they really promote digital transformation services to their customers.  We typically see our top partners become early adopters of cloud technologies, unified communications and the latest security services so they can talk about them firsthand.

In addition, the Comcast Solution Provider Program is helping our partners as well to take advantage of the newest technology.  For example, we are providing them with demo gear to test and trial unified communications solutions such as Business Voice Edge where they can use the portal and learn the digital experience. We also see our partners moving to SDN networks and SD-WAN for their businesses, which is core to quickly enabling new virtual network functions (VNFs) or new applications. We help them with access to the Comcast Business portal and digital experience for our ActiveCore SDN so they can “kick the tires” prior to recommending our SD-WAN to their customers.

CP: What do you hope attendees can gain and make use of from the information you plan to share during this session?

CS: We want attendees to have a better understanding of the breadth and depth of our service offerings. Most partners are probably familiar with our solid connectivity and voice services. However, our suite of SMB solutions provide immediate and significant sales opportunities and our ActiveCore SDN platform is truly a revolutionary game-changer in the SDN space and will enable partners to grow their businesses with Comcast for many years.

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