Blurred Lines: Master Agent, Disty Or CSB?
With IT distributors and master agents both looking to prove their value in the cloud era, each is starting to look more like the other: managing telco and carrier relationships, enabling the VARs and agents they work with, and acting as the all-knowing go-between for channel partners and suppliers that have a hard time getting along. Some observers expect the master agent and distribution worlds to not only align but blend, with more than one distributor said to be sniffing around more than one master agent with eyes on deep partnership -- or even acquisition.
Both types of channel company have to deal with a third model, the cloud services brokerage, which is already emerging as a sort of "two-tier distributor" for cloud services. Many distributors seem to view the CSB model as something to embrace, however; initiatives like Ingram Micro's Cloud Services have taken up that distribution mantle while also looking to serve other CSBs and CSPs.