Comcast Business and Synnex have struck a pivotal distribution agreement to help bring telecom carrier services to the IT channel.
The new partnership makes Synnex the first IT distributor to serve as a major agent under Comcast Business Solutions Provider Program. Under the agreement, Synnex will offer Comcast's range of Ethernet, Internet, voice and cloud services to its VAR customers through Synnex's MobilitySolv practice for mobility, communication and networking services.
"This is a watershed moment for us because it gives us the ability to reach more people in the IT channel," said Craig Schlagbaum, vice president, indirect channels, for Comcast Business Class Services. "We're seeing a sea change out there with IT and telco convergence, where customers are demanding VARs be part of the network connectivity services picture because it's part of the total IT solution."
Schlagbaum said Synnex was chosen as the first distribution partner because Comcast felt the company was more nimble than other potential partners and had the ability to execute the ambitious master agency program.
Under the new partnership, Synnex customers will be able to partner with Comcast Business through telecom agent, referral and white-label service models.
Adnon Dow, vice president of Synnex's global mobility solutions business, said most Synnex VARs will likely engage Comcast as agents or referral partners. The white-label service model is designed to allow managed service providers to co-deliver Comcast connectivity services.
Dow also said the distribution will offer solution bundles that combine Comcast's connectivity services with other Synnex product offerings, from networking gear and servers to mobile devices and security software. But Dow said the margins for Comcast's services will be considerably higher for solution providers, running between 20 percent to 30 percent, compared to only 2 percent to 3 percent for network router and switching gear.
"This is the first time the IT channel has been able to access this rich [telecom services] opportunity with up-front margin," Dow said.
Allen Brooks, executive vice president at ServIT, a Synnex customer in Kennesaw, Ga., said his managed services business has experienced explosive growth and the ability to partner with Comcast will only add to that growth. Brooks said he was already referring customers to Comcast, but now through Synnex ServIT, will be able to form an official partnership with the telecom carrier.
"I can't see anything but an upside to this," Brooks said. "It's exciting not just for the revenue opportunity but also because we now have a relationship with them."
As for Synnex's mobility business, Dow said the telecom services push is expected to drive 30 percent growth over the next year. Dow said Synnex hopes to drive more VAR customers toward telecom services to help them adjust to the shift to off-premises IT services.
"The more stuff that goes up in the cloud, the less hardware there is to sell," Dow said. "We're preempting that with a services-led strategy to allow our VARs to leverage an annuity-based model with better margins."
PUBLISHED AUG. 19, 2013