CenturyLink: Cloud, Channel Empowerment Top 2013 Priorities

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In addition to M&A, CenturyLink has also spent a lot of time in the past two years restructuring. Most recently, it combined its network services business sales and operations teams into a single organization, effectively merging its enterprise businesses, including network services and regional markets.

It's also re-jiggered its channel programs. Last March, CenturyLink rolled its Savvis Alliances Master Agent Program into CenturyLink Channel Alliance. And a month later, CenturyLink consolidated its national and international business markets group customers, Savvis customers and federal government customers into what became the Enterprise Markets Group.

More changes are still to come, CenturyLink's Wetzel said, but relative to the channel, they'll be for the better. Wetzel pledged that CenturyLink partners would see both product and services updates, as well as channel program expansion, throughout 2013.

On the product side, CenturyLink is making significant investments in SIP, cloud, colocation/hosting, network-based security, Ethernet and MPLS services. Behind that will come more programs to help partners sell those services, Wetzel said.

SavvisDirect, which CenturyLink announced in October as a new program for distributing cloud services such as virtual servers and SaaS applications, is one example.

Strategically, CenturyLink will deepen its focus on the national and, particularly, local markets, the latter an area Wetzel said CenturyLink has not engaged as effectively as it could.

Partners should also expect a major international expansion, Wetzel said. CenturyLink has 13 data centers worldwide and coming next will be more international products and more international channel expansion.

It's cloud, however, that remains the telco's top priority. Bob Hollander, CenturyLink senior vice president, sales, hosting solutions, said CenturyLink sits at an intersection where customer craving for hosted solutions is growing along with the types of solutions available, he said.

"Cloud has blossomed into a range of services offerings," Hollander said.


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