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Master Agents Need to Work with Cloud Resellers

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Master Agents Need to Work with Cloud Resellers

May 04, 2012

  By Erin Harrison, Executive Editor, Cloud Computing

With cloud-based services on the rise, resellers and master agents are challenged with figuring out how to best leverage their approach when it comes to selling cloud computing and cloud services.

In a recent blog post, Kelly Teal examined this burgeoning opportunity based on her experiences at distributor Jenne Inc.’s “Powering Partners” event in Tucson, Ariz., observing that the reseller and master agent approaches to the cloud is that agents are more willing to partner with service providers. Such a strategy, according to Teal, unnecessarily complicates the situation.

“Wouldn’t it make more sense for resellers to work with solid cloud service providers? Why reinvent the wheel, especially when the wheel continues to evolve?,” Teal asks.

However, the answer most likely lies in customer ownership and requirements, according to Teal.

“There's a perception that service providers try to sell to resellers’ clients; resellers want to own their clients and provide critical care. My rebuttal is that channel-centric providers won't try to edge out the partner, and do offer the necessary support levels,” Teal said. “Plus, there are a number of white-label options out there, allowing partners to brand products and services. Providers, maybe you need to get that word out more clearly to the data and networking community?”

While master agents and resellers may approach technology from different perspectives, those differences are fading as the network services and data sides collide, Teal noted.  Master agents would be better off collaborating and using their diverse backgrounds to profit from change, and eventually we may see a progression of master agents and value-added distributors beginning to work as partners.

In related master agent news, back in February of this year, Alpheus began serving the enterprise market and thus far has seen incredible responses to its indirect sales channel driven by master agents, TMCnet reported.

The sentiment among companies with regards to the channel has been “phenomenal,” Layne Levine, senior vice president of enterprise and channel sales stated. “We just signed a very large auto group a week ago. We just signed a deal with a Chinese delegation in Houston ... the reception has been phenomenal.”

Long known in the industry as a provider of fiber-optic and networking solutions, some of Alpheus’ biggest customers are AT&T (News - Alert), Verizon and Level 3. "We have the largest network in Texas outside of AT&T,” Levine added."Nobody can claim that. We are Texans based in Texas doing business with Texans."

Last year, The Gores Group, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm inked an agreement to gain control Alpheus from El Paso Corp. and Genesis Park L.P.  This move was made to better get in touch with the enterprise market as the group powers Ethernet, data, voice and colocation services.

Edited by Jamie Epstein
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