Arrow Electronics has entered the networking space for the first time with an agreement Tuesday to offer network, Internet and voice services through master agent Advoda.
The Englewood, Colo.-based distributor has added Advoda's services portfolio, which includes vendors such as Verizon, Comcast Business and CenturyLink, to its ArrowSphere online cloud marketplace.
The deal will allow solution providers to use one central marketplace to build a turnkey solution with network and cloud services, and compete more effectively against network-ready resellers.
The offering is expected to appeal most to employers with multiple locations and at least 500 workers looking for more bandwidth to support their data centers, said Dee Dee Lear, Arrow's vice president of cloud and business development.
Roughly half of the 500 solution providers participating in ArrowSphere are already having conversations with their customers about networking, Lear said. Of those Arrow channel partners,125 currently deal with a master agent and 125 work directly with a regional telecom provider, Lear said.
Getting networking services through ArrowSphere is expected to streamline billing and operations for those channel partners, Lear said, and allow them to strengthen their customer relationships.
"To me, it's just a natural fit," she said.
"They're accustomed to looking to Arrow to recommend a market solution for them," she said. "The more they can do in one place, the easier their lives are."
Other high-volume distributors also either have built their own networking offerings or partnered with a master agent, Lear said. But she said Arrow's arrangement with Advoda stands out due to the high-end product mix and significant amount of support offered.
Advoda has seen the most traction for its offerings in the medical, finance, retail and e-rate verticals, according to company President and Chief Operating Officer Hillary Fox. Advoda's network and Internet services also can power cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service offerings.
Arrow evaluated master agents in the networking space for just over a year before opting for Advoda based on its pre- and post-sales support, and alignment with best-of-breed vendors, Lear said.
The deal is Advoda's first agreement with a national distributor, Fox said, which will allow the Greenwood Village, Colo.-based master agent to get a large audience very quickly.
Up until this point, Fox said Advoda has worked solely with VARs to defend them against direct-sales competition from the telecom companies. Telcos are buying business in the network, Internet and voice spaces, working directly with end users rather than going through the channel, Fox said.
"The telcos, to some extent, are still buying business in that space," he said.
Fox and Lear declined to give margins for solution providers on Advoda sales, but indicated the majority of revenue would be recurring. MSPs can boost value and margins, Lear said, by carrying out the installation and providing ongoing monitoring and maintenance.
Advoda will provide solution providers with technical architects, life-cycle management and assistance across the entire sales process if they desire. Fox said most solution providers aren't interested in, or capable of, providing those services themselves due to the level of expertise required.
One solution provider that has, however, is Network Solutions Provider of Long Beach, Calif., an Arrow partner with both an MSP business and a master agent offerings from AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink.
Although Network Solutions Provider doesn't plan to use the Advoda bundle, CEO Phillip Walker said networking and routing capabilities are vital for solution providers looking to enter the cloud.
"It [Arrow's network offering] is definitely helpful to other solution providers," Walker said, "because starting in that world is difficult."
PUBLISHED NOV. 4, 2014