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There’s never been much love lost between traditional resellers and providers of telecommunications services. As part of an effort to secure telecommunications services, the latter group has been accused of selling network infrastructure equipment in a way that undercuts traditional resellers just to secure the contract.

However, with the rise of the cloud, the relationship between these two segments of the channel is starting to fundamentally change. Verizon, for example, is making a concerted effort to recruit channel partners to resell its cloud services. Under the terms of a recently expanded channel program, Verizon Enterprise Services is now making available options not only to be rewarded for being an agent, but also opportunities to resell and collaboratively deliver cloud and telecommunications services.

Verizon’s goal is to increase its market penetration by leveraging channel partners to resell its cloud services, said Janet Schijns, vice president of medium business and channel for Verizon Enterprise Services. To that end, Verizon Enterprise Services has also significantly upgraded the portal through which it engages its partners.

“We want to expand the ecosystem that helps solve customer problems,” Schijns said. “As a corporate culture, we’re making a choice to not try and be everywhere.”

Many traditional channel partners can’t afford to make the capital investments required to build out their own cloud. By leveraging the Verizon cloud, channel partners can tap into recurring services revenues opportunities that over the long haul are going to be more profitable than simply reselling networking equipment, Schijns said.

The way telecommunications and cloud computing services are being consumed is fundamentally changing. Not only are these services being increasingly bundled together, more sophisticated organizations are leveraging application programming interfaces to access those services via portals that give them more control over how much of those resources are consumed.

As networking and cloud computing evolve, every entity in the channel is going to be providing services to one degree or another. The challenge going forward is finding the lines that delineate those services in a way that is transparent to the customer but still profitable for IT service providers, large and small.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.