Fusion Connect Outlines Post-Bankruptcy Channel Plans

Inactive or less active partners need to step up to stay in Fusion's fold.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

October 14, 2019

4 Min Read

Fusion Connect, which filed chapter 11 bankruptcy this summer, wants to continue doing business with all of its partners and has offered them new agreements.

The company plans to emerge from chapter 11 before the end of the year. Kevin Brand, most recently Fusion’s senior vice president of customer experience, has been named interim CEO, succeeding Matthew Rosen, who has resigned from the position.

Fusion filed chapter 11 after its acquisitions of MegaPath and Birch Communications’ cloud and business-services business failed to meet performance projections. Its lenders will own the business when it emerges from bankruptcy.

Michael Fair, Fusion’s senior vice president of channels and alliances, tells Channel Partners a top priority in developing the company’s plans for emerging from chapter 11 has been to conduct a comprehensive review of its channel program with a “clear focus on making it easier and more profitable to do business with us.”


Fusion Connect’s Michael Fair

“We’re excited to announce that we’re planning to launch our new program in early January following our expected emergence before the end of the year,” he said. “To prepare for that launch and initiate the first of many planned advances in our program, we’ve offered all of our partners the opportunity to enter into a single agreement that consolidates the various agreements many partners had in place following the integration of our three legacy companies — Fusion, Birch and MegaPath. We’re confident that this will make it far easier to work with us by standardizing terms, commissions and commitments for new sales, as well as to provide consistent support across all services and regions. The new agreements will help lead to even stronger, more enduring and successful relationships with our loyal partners.”

Master agent contracts will be slightly different to reflect their size and scope, Fair said.


Fusion Connect’s Kevin Brand

“We are consolidating the multiple contracts partners currently have, standardizing payment dates, and providing the opportunity for increased commissions that incent sales of our strategic products, including UCaaS, SD-WAN and security,” he said. “Other basic terms and conditions will not change. Additionally, we’re offering new agreements to a number of partners representing less than 5% of our commissionable revenue, who have been inactive with us or who have produced very little new business over a long period. We’re asking them to re-engage with us by selling a minimal amount of recurring new revenue. This will allow them to continue receiving commission payments and remain as direct partners in our new program. Those partners who fall in this category and are active with master agents will also be able to roll their bases to the master of their choice on a case-by-case basis.”

Fusion’s goal is to have all new amendments and agreements signed by the end of October, Fair said.

“We’re also are implementing very reasonable objectives for incremental sales and customer retention consistent with industry best practices for channel management,” he said.

Brand tells Channel Partners “all of us at Fusion are looking forward to 2020 to pursue our strategic vision to find even more ways to build and grow with our partners, who are so critical to our continued success.”

“The actions we’ve taken throughout this process will provide …

… a solid financial foundation and position us well to accelerate our long-term growth,” he said. “We’ll have the financial strength and flexibility needed to innovate and adapt in ways that allow us to better serve our partners and customers in the future. Specifically, we will increase and improve capabilities across the organization, with a focus on enhancing both our partner and customer experience.”

Fusion will maintain its strategic focus on delivering a full and integrated suite of single source cloud solutions, Brand said.

“Our portfolio of UCaaS, legacy voice (POTS), bandwidth aggregation, SD-WAN and security provides both partners and customers with a single source to manage the complexities of a multiservice environment with one relationship, one contract and one invoice,” he said. “This eliminates the finger-pointing and resource-draining project management that is so challenging to partners and their customers in a multivendor environment. We will continue to invest in and differentiate our own UCaaS platform while enabling partners to bring all voice services to us, including legacy analog phone lines (POTS) that Fusion can seamlessly migrate to UCaaS when the time is right and the customer is ready. The future is close, and we’re ready to take our partners and mutual customers to new heights in service, innovation and support as we prepare to emerge.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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