Telecom and IT
59% of IT VARs believe a large degree of IT telecom convergence is happening while 34% see it happening to some degree. For telecom agents, 23% said the roles of IT VARs and telecom agents were “converging significantly” while the majority (55%) said the convergence was less complete.
46% of IT VARs said the primary reason for entering the telecom market is the desire to sell voice services. They also want to add a new line of business (41%) and to win new business (40%).
Roughly one-third of IT VARs offer one or more telecom services including conferencing and collaboration (video and audio), broadband, WiFi access and IP/PBX and WAN services.
45% of respondents said insufficient staffing is a big challenge entering the telecom market, followed by a lack of telecom-specific skills (40%) and lack of sales experience (37%).
68% of traditional IT channel companies said they are concerned about telcos moving into the traditional IT services space, including cloud computing, managed services and security.
85% of IT VARs report they are satisfied with their telecom agent partnerships while 70% of telecom agents said they were satisfied or highly satisfied with their VAR partnerships over the past 12 months.
IT VARs and telecom agents differ significantly when it comes to how important telecom services are to IT VARs. While 87% of agents believe IT VARs view telecom services as an “opportunistic component” of their portfolio, IT VARs said it is a “core component.”
61% of IT VARs are passing on telecom services because telecom is not a core competency while 30% are passing on it because it diverts from their core competency and 17% because they have insufficient resources.
Over the past year, 50% of IT VARs report having partnership talks with telecom master agents and/or sub- or independent agents while 46% broached the topic with a telecom carrier. They also had conversations with cable companies (26%) or IT distributors (26%).
Half of IT VAR respondents are partnering with carriers, and a similar percentage are working with telecom resellers, aggregators or agents (master and sub); 57% of IT VARs also report working with cable companies in the past year.
25% of IT channel companies not involved in telecom today said they plan to pursue partnerships for these services in the next year while 35% said they had no intention of pursuing partnerships and 17% said they would offer telecom on their own.
To help IT VARs improve their telecom service sales, nearly three-fourths of agents or master agent respondents have assigned dedicated pre-sales staff to their VAR partners and nearly half have added up-front commissions to attract and retain VAR partners.