Channel Partners

January 25, 2008

3 Min Read
AT&Ts 2008 Channel Conference

By Ian Kieninger, CDW

AT&T’s theme this year’s event was DRIVE. The company’s overall 2008 strategy is “To help enterprises achieve velocity by delivering intelligent and secure networking, application enabling platforms, and business solutions expertise”.

The conference, held Jan. 9 and 10 in Atlanta, was kicked off by Anne Chow, the vice president of select markets and the indirect channel. AT&T’s channel chief, Celine Azizkhan, was unable to attend due to illness.

Chow reinforced the company’s commitment to its channel, which many of the channel members found to be both comforting and optimistic. Following her presentation, AT&T’s vice president of finance brought more good news and continued to keep the members’ attention. She emphasized AT&T’s last five quarters of significant revenue growth and shared their strong cash flow position that competes with some of the top companies worldwide. 

At least they shouldn’t have a problem paying out our commissions! This financial success has allowed AT&T to reinvest back into the channel. In 2007, AT&T increased their channel support by 20 percent in the areas of local services support, post sales support, technical resources, territory AM’s and, my favorite, a dedicated marketing team. This team, lead by Claire Terrell (who has already had a positive impact on the channel), is developing some very strategic and unique initiatives to help channel partners grow their individual businesses in 2008.

Presenter highlights:

The celebrity speaker this year was Michael Treacy, an MIT professor, author and well-recognized authority on corporate strategy and business process transformation. While I am pretty confident this guy has never made a cold call in his life, he did present an interesting theory on the five sources for revenue growth.

I found that these principles related well to the agency business and thought I would share them with you: 1) Manage the churn rate, 2) Share Gain – to win someone must lose, 3) Show up where the growth is going to happen and find the new growth segments first, 4) Get into different lines of business and new markets, 5) Make acquisitions in unrelated markets.   

My favorite presenter of the day was Dale McHenry, vice president of product management. After a hysterical 20 minute presentation on how to build the world’s best potato gun, he gave an outlook on some of the new AT&T products and services coming down the pipe. I must say, AT&T has always had some of the most rock-solid, high performing products in the business and their portfolio only looks to get stronger.

Ahead in 2008:

AT&T told its channel to expect stability in 2008, and this is exactly what everyone wanted to hear. There is always a fear in the back of everyone’s minds that a company as big as AT&T may completely change directions. I am happy to say that I have seen nothing but stability and consistency over the last three years. Each year I have seen the same executive management team show up for this event and support their partners. AT&T wireless even made an appearance this year. Wireless will no doubt be a strategic play for their channel as the two companies complete their integration.

If AT&T is a part of your strategy, you will want to know how this integration between wireline and wireless is going to play out. There is a lot of growth and money to be made within this space!

Check in at the AT&T channel conference.

From left, Scott Kalata of AT&T, Shane McNamara of CDW, Dave Sanchez of WANCOM, Rick Papala of AT&T and Joe Warren of Infolink.

Jeff Quinn, western region channel vice president for AT&T and blog writter and CDW’s Ian Kieninger.

Anne Chow, vice president of select markets and the indirect channel, gives her presentation at the event.

From left, Douglas Lee, Frank Cheng, Charles Cheng and Edward Cheng of ATC.

TBI’s Ken Mercer and CDW’s Shane McNamara at the event.

Scott Kalata of AT&T, Clair Terrell of AT&T and CDW’s McNamara.

Ian Kieninger oversees the voice and data specialty businesses at CDW and manages the company’s business relationships with carriers, manufacturers and other service providers.

The postings on this site are my own and don’t necessarily represent CDW’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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