Thursday, June 19, 2008

How the Telecom/IT Space is Changing

I'm certain that I will bring this up at the CLEC Workshop next week in ATL. In Gary Kim's article in IP Business, he discusses a survey Level3 did about the telecom agent channel. Now before you switch off, it concerns YOUR business direction or focus, too!

There are about 8000 telecom agents, but about 200K VARs (value added resellers loosely defined as System Integrators, IT resellers, and IT consultants).

The line between IT and Telecom is getting blurry.

"Solutions simply are more entangled with data services these days. "Customers are wanting VAR partners to recommend the connectivity piece and provide a complete solution," Schlagbaum says. ... The solutions business customers now require—and which require carrier services—include security (81 percent), WAN migration (66 percent), storage (64 percent), as well as data center and disaster recovery, he notes." [ipbusiness]

Traditional telecom agents sell dial-tone, long distance, broadband (DSL), and T1. They are like a lot of ISP's -- the tool box has just one tool. That won't work much longer. Technology is out-pacing people. Businesses will need to hire / out-source specialized skills, like web design, SEO, blogging, software, etc. And you don't have to do this all in-house. You can partner or out-source too. But you need to start making your brand about technology, not just internet access.

Think about it this way: In the days of BBS, you were selling server access. In dial-up, you were selling email access. In broadband, you are selling information access. Next, comes Apps and IT access. Email is still the killer app, it is still the same way it was in 1994, just about. (Or at least most people sell it that way!)

As IT and Telecom merge, the key will be Maintenance and Security.

Bundling is everywhere. The main reasons: (A) One throat to choke, one bill; (B) the more services, the more you own the account. Your ARPU goes up and churn goes down (in theory).

Just like your website (untouched since 2001), it is time to survey your market and re-vamp your business. (While you are at it, re-vamp your website. Go to or and find someone to do it for you).

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