February 7, 2020
Our top stories emerged from conferences this week. We were onsite at shows in Phoenix and Dallas, covering product launches, partner program updates and fascinating market analysis.
We also covered partner awards, personnel changes and a new channel program. Scroll through the mini-stories below to see the latest and greatest stories in the world of channel.
7. Vonage Turns Heads with New Partner Program
The cloud communications provider has a new program for VARs and distributors.
Matt Alexander, a former Cato Networks regional sales director, will lead the new program as director of national distributors. He explained that his group will focus on “educating national VAR partners on the Vonage offering and how we are making communications more flexible, intelligent and personal.”
Alexander participated in a Q&A with us.
6. AT&T Alliance Channel Honors Top Partners
One of AT&T’s indirect programs honored 58 of its top partners.
The AT&T Alliance Channel recognized nine companies in its platinum elite category, including master agent Telarus. The 2020 “Solution Provider Champions” list provided a solid opportunity to compare how top masters performed relative to one another and to their performance in previous years.
We covered the awards.
5. Channel People on the Move: Vonage, Telarus, Star2Star
Some of the industry’s biggest companies announced new hires in January.
Telarus announced a whopping four appointments last month. The master agent joined a diverse list of vendors in IT and telecommunications. Our fearless executive editor Craig Galbraith compiled 16 of the channel’s most recent personnel changes.
Take a look at Galbraith’s gallery.
Can’t get enough Channel People on the Move! @Vonage @MosaicNetworX @TPx_Partners @anexinet @Star2Star @JuniperPartners @broadvoice @Everbridge @CloudJumperWaaS @BitTitan @telarus @Telesystemus @AttackIQ @FireMon https://t.co/KN6Vkk7IDT
— Craig Galbraith (@Craig_Galbraith) February 3, 2020
4. Avaya Partners ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ About Cloud Office
Our own Edward Gately visited the Avaya Engage 2020 conference in Phoenix, where the vendor teased the upcoming launch of its new unified communications offering.
Executives said Avaya Cloud Office, which Avaya is offering as part of a strategic partnership with RingCentral, presents an opportunity for partners to add opex models.
“There’s huge opportunity, so I’m excited,” Avaya’s president and CEO said. “We need to figure out how to grow overall channel revenue and your companies. One way is Avaya Cloud Office.”
Check out Gately’s scoop.
3. Avaya Pursues Masters, Agents with Cloud Office
Avaya continued to make headlines at its annual conference.
The vendor said it was certifying “hundreds of partners” at the Engage conference and was tapping more deeply into the agent community than ever. Avaya’s vice president of North America channel sales said it will target strategic master agents and work to recruit non-Avaya agents.
“We’re all in on reaching agents with Avaya Cloud Office,” he said.
— Edward Gately (@EdwardGately) February 5, 2020
2. Jay McBain: Direct Sales to Outpace Channel for the Next Decade
One of the channel’s top minds offered a mixed forecast to partners.
Forrester’s Jay McBain said e-commerce and marketplaces will …
… contribute to the rise of direct B2B technology sales. He said one also ought to consider how many of the growing indirect players will not look at all like the traditional channel partner.
The aging channel and the changing purchaser profile were also subjects of the speech.
Read more about McBain’s talk, which he gave at the Wildix UC&C Summit.
McBain: The data shows that more and more C-level execs and departments other than the CIO and the IT are making tech purchasing decisions:
“Shadow IT turned into the new normal.”#UCCSummit pic.twitter.com/f6aS6TweL7
— James Anderson (@JamesAndersonCP) February 4, 2020
1. Wildix Exec Blasts RingCentral, 8×8 as ‘Vampire Vendors’
Wildix‘s general manager of North America absolutely laid into his company’s rivals this week.
Robert Cooper delivered a scathing critique of four categories of UCaaS providers. While he dismissed three categories as posing an immaterial threat to the Wildix, he warned partners of providers that use globally recognized brand names to attract customers. Customers may buy the household name from you for the time being, but it’s an untenable position for partners if the vendor doesn’t put them at the center of its go-to-market strategy, Cooper said.
People are still talking about the fiery speech.
Tough talk or bitter talk? Wasn’t there but sounded like a bad competitor who can’t win without bashing someone to win to my ears – ps I’m keeping the tough talk going
— Janet Schijns (@channelsmart) February 7, 2020
Read more of Cooper’s comments.
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