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Telecom and IT

1 - Reality CheckReality Check

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.

2 - Driving FactorsDriving Factors

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%).

3 - A 'Natural Fit'A ‘Natural Fit’

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.

4 - Market Entry RoadblocksMarket Entry Roadblocks

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%).

5 - Telco TroublesTelco Troubles

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.

6 - Satisfied PartnersSatisfied Partners

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.

7 - A DisconnectA Disconnect

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.”

8 - Taking a PassTaking a Pass

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.

9 - Talk Is CheapTalk Is Cheap

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%).

10 - A Flurry of ActivityA Flurry of Activity

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.

11 - Never Say NeverNever Say Never

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.

12 - True PartnersTrue Partners

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.