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At this year's Channel Partners Conference & Expo, there was a clear energy, attitude and mood difference over the 2009 show. I sensed much more enthusiasm and optimism overall. At the same time though, I think with so much transformation and things evolving so quickly in the channel, the anxiety level is still high.

Channel Partners

March 3, 2010

4 Min Read
Do You See YOUR Opportunity Within the Telecom Channel Transformation?

By Dan Vidal, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Telecom Advisors Inc.

I just attended the annual 2010 Channel Partners Expo in Las Vegas and there was a clear energy, attitude and “mood” difference over the 2009 show. I sensed much more enthusiasm and optimism overall. At the same time though, I think with so much transformation and things evolving so quickly in the channel, the anxiety level is still high.

Tiffani Bova’s keynote speech seemed to me to be very insightful – it articulated (quite clearly and accurately) the direction the channel is taking and what many agents are thinking about, discussing with their peers, partners and customers, and rolling out in their businesses these days and beyond.

Perhaps more so than any time in the last decade, there is a real opportunity and almost inevitable need for many agents to “re-create” our businesses at least to some extent.

So the big question then is “What is YOUR opportunity in all this?” Or, “What do you want your business to look like in order to grow and thrive in this ‘new era’ and ever-evolving channel?” There are so many different approaches an agent could take. The one thing that seems clear though is that “business as usual” doesn’t look like a winner. If you are a traditional wireline telecom agent selling pipe (voice and data circuits) and that is all you continue to do, then you run a very dangerous risk that the solutions provider – who provides value added services over your network to your customer – will inevitably be in the better position to take over that network as well. You would be a commodity player going up against a solution player that will be higher up the “value stack.”

If you are with me so far and agree with this, then one of two emotions (probably both) kick in – anxiety and/or excitement. As an optimist, I’ll take excitement please. Sure, there is some anxiety, but one needs to manage/control it into a healthy sense of asking the right questions in order to then make better strategic decisions. So let’s move to the exciting part…

We have a real unprecedented opportunity in front of us to innovate, grow and thrive. More so, we have an opportunity to redesign our businesses around what we are really good at and what we actually enjoy. Think about that one. Think about what your core strengths are, about what you are passionate about within your business, and what gives you energy (I bet it’s not paperwork). And then start to determine how you can couple that into business solutions for your customers.

This is a process and will take some time, reflection, dialogue, coaching/guidance, trial and error, lots of courage, etc. And I would say that the ecosystem in the channel in particular – this real community of partners, peers, and experts that we have – is an extremely important resource that will assist us in our discernment process. I for one am smack in the middle of my own “figuring it out” process. I don’t have all the answers yet, but they are coming in bit by bit (no pun intended).

So let’s continue the constructive conversations, and utilize the great collaborative resources we have in each other.

We have never lived in such a time and place in human history where anyone can practically create (or transform) a business into whatever they want it to be. We are very blessed for that. And it is very exciting and right in front of us! We have the chance to rethink “what we want to be when we grow up” (because if you feel you ever missed that boat, there is another one right here and right now), and enjoy the process of finding YOUR unique and called-upon opportunity in this great business you have.

Thanks for listening and I hope to hear from you…

Dan Vidal is the co-founder and managing director of Telecom Advisors Inc., an independent firm that specializes in advising companies on the procurement of voice and data services. He is also a member of the 2009-2010 Phone+ Advisory Board and can be reached at [email protected].

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