A Tale of Two Different Channels

By Howard M. Cohen  |  Print this article Print
two channels

ANALYSIS: You've stepped into a channel not of servers and switches, but of lines.  At the signpost up ahead, it reads "The Telecom Channel Zone."

Friendly Faces

For the IT channel partner attending this Cloud Partner Conference, there were some friendly faces in the crowd. Mozy was there representing EMC. Autotask, Datto and Rackspace were exhibiting and participating in the panel discussions. CompTIA's Carolyn April provided insights from her research.

Perhaps the most interesting visitors from the IT world didn't show up on the sponsor lists but did appear in panel discussions. Both Ingram Micro and Tech Data are sticking their toes in the water here in the telecom world. They have a lot to say about the cloud, and hope that these channel partners are listening more closely than the IT channel partners they usually serve. Perhaps there's an opportunity here for them to achieve that elusive relevance in the cloud.

But then you have to wonder how that will sort out with their large, well-entrenched telecom counterparts, the master agents.

Convergence Ahead

It is inevitable that these two worlds will collide. In the IT channel, the value proposition for infrastructure is rapidly being eroded by the transition to infrastructure as a service, or IaaS. The day of the hardware salesperson is all but over. In the telecom channel, those who sell well are coveted resources who are proud to be driven by incentives. The IT channel has the services the telecom channel sub-agents need to complete the cloud sales that drive more bandwidth sales.

The overlap between these two worlds is receding, replaced by complementary interests that create a need on the part of each for the other.

Stay tuned to Channel Insider for more insights inside this increasingly integrated environment.

Howard M. Cohen is a 30-plus-year IT industry veteran who continues his commitment to the channel as a columnist and consultant.