XChange Telecom Panel Plays Up Recurring Revenue For VARs

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The telecommunications session, moderated by Jennifer Follett, managing editor, Everything Channel, featured master agents such as Vince Bradley of World Telecom Group and Quy Nguyen of Allyance Communications, and carrier representatives such as Tom Gorey of XO Communications and Craig Schlagbaum of Level 3 Communications.

The once very different worlds of commission-based telecom agents and technology VARs are rapidly converging, according to Level 3's Schlagbaum, as the North American market for total IT solutions -- including a $120 billion total market for telecom services in the U.S. -- grows along with telecom-reliant business technologies such as voice and cloud computing.

"As solutions become more evolved into total managed offerings, that's where the channel really starts to get involved. He who controls the solution also gets to decide which carrier and provider gets the business," Schlagbaum said. "But keep in mind that this is less about reselling something than being an agent."

Recurring revenue was a theme the panelists returned to often. How nice can a regular check from a customer be? Nguyen said one Allyance Communications social media customer delivers about a quarter of a million dollars to the master agent per month.

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The customer "only has about 40 or so employees, but with bandwidth, hosting co-location, disaster recovery and other services, we can bill between $200,000 and $300,000 in recurring revenue per month," he said.