Solution Providers Consider Agent Model For Cloud Services

Until recently thought of as providers of broadband service and TVs, telecos and cable companies, now offer a variety of cloud services. Comcast Business Class Services, Verizon’s Terremark, and AT&T Cloud Services each offer cloud business services.

Craig Schlagbaum, vice president of Indirect Channel sales at Comcast Business Class, said his company is looking for solution providers to help build out its cloud business.

Speaking to about 20 VARs at a roundtable Tuesday at the Intelisys IT Solution Provider Business Transformation Executive Symposium in Sunnyvale, Calif., he said solution providers can be natural partners with telecos and cable companies.

"We think the notion of solution providers acting ads agents (for telecos and cable companies) will become more standard than selling as a reseller,” he said.

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Channel partners can conduct integration services for their customers and leave infrastructure considerations to the telecos and cable companies.

Following this arrangement, solution providers can receive recurring revenue which in the long run will earn them more money than through traditional IT services, Schlagbaum said.

“Solution providers can do what they do best and provide their services and we provide cloud services,” he said.

Schlagbaum said one model for this type of partnership is the master agent model, in which solution providers can team with one provider who can make arrangements with several telecons and cable companies. Intelisys follows that model, he said. Andrew Pryfogle, Intelisys senior vice president & general manager for Cloud Services & Complex Bids, said solution providers that team with a “master agent” like Intelisys get the “fastest path to market” in the cloud business.

He said solution providers can rely in master agents like Intelisys to add expertise in cloud services they might not have. “My example is, “To get to your destination, do you want to build a plane or get a seat on a plane?’” Pryfogle said.

One solution provider, Chris Gerhardt, president of Denali Advanced Integration, said that although Denali is offering some cloud services, teaming with others to more easily achieve cloud services is a sound idea which the solution provider is considering. “I agree with them. This is where the market is going,” he said.

Jason Kraft, district manager of Telecom Sales at FusionStorm, said his company has partnered with Intelisys for several years, with good results. “Intelisys give you one throat to choke around cloud services,” he said.