NTT Communications To Solution Providers: We're Open For Business

NTT Communications Corp. spent the past year going after master agent partners. Now, the IT and communications solutions giant is turning its attention to the sub-agent or sales partner community.

NTT set a goal of signing 15 master agents by 2016 to its Channel Partner Program, launched in 2014. Now that the Tokyo-based provider has exceeded its own expectations for its master agent focus, NTT is ready to show solution providers what it can do: NTT plans to put resources in place to address the needs of the sub-agent community.

"We're no longer in the recruitment mode -- we are in the enablement side, and want to show agents where we play well and why NTT is a fit for their businesses heading into the future," said Rob Westervelt, vice president and general manager of sales and global solutions for New York-based NTT America.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Intelisys, NTT America Open The Doors To Global Connectivity For Partners]

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The provider is also unveiling enhancements to its Enterprise Cloud offering, and making the product available for resale for the first time in the U.S., NTT told CRN.

NTT doesn’t have plans to target the sub-agent community directly. The provider said it will continue to build relationships with these partners through master agencies. By partnering with master agents, Westervelt said, he believes NTT has access to about 95 percent of the agent partner community.

NTT's push into the channel includes initiating partnerships with U.S.-based master agents such as Petaluma, Calif.-based Intelisys; Malibu, Calif.-based World Telecom Group (WTG); and Seattle-based Stratacore.

Stratacore believes that NTT's range of global private and public cloud solutions will help give its cloud sales a boost this year, said Lee Pallet, director of cloud strategy for Stratacore.

"As [our] clients push their sales and service delivery efforts into areas where they have no on-site support staff, the cloud offers a pathway to rapid, maintainable deployment of necessary infrastructure," Pallet said. "The breadth of offerings from NTT enables us to advise on services that can be supported [globally] under a single provider."

Stratacore has aggressive plans to grow its cloud revenue by 20 percent this year. Its relationship with NTT will be key in working toward that effort, Pallet said.

"[NTT's] geographic reach, array of cloud services and managed security are a good match for the needs of our clients," he said.

NTT's global assets include 140 interconnected data centers and a private network in 196 countries. The provider will be on the lookout for sub-agents that have international customers -- specifically, partners with an expertise in cloud and data center services will be a good fit, Westervelt said.

"If a partner has a customer that wants to go into multiple data centers around the globe, for example, that would be a great kind of partner. We want to work with sub-agents that are the trusted advisers to those kinds of organizations," he said.

NTT first rolled out its OpenStack-based Enterprise Cloud private cloud offering in Japan. Enterprise Cloud -- which recently has been enhanced -- includes free and low-cost global cloud data-center connectivity and a new unified cloud management platform, according to the provider.

Enterprise Cloud will be made available to the U.S. and channel partners later in 2016, Westervelt said.

As NTT focuses on partner enablement during 2016, the provider has aggressive goals for the channel. NTT currently has three regional channel directors, and Westervelt would like each manager working with 30-plus sub-agents this year.

"Along with more sub-agent partners, my goal is to start to increase the number of channel managers, too. Ultimately, I'd like to get so busy we need channel managers under those directors so we can really start to scale it out," he said.

Many master agents have cloud education programs as part of their offerings. NTT plans on working with master agents to help extend training to interested sub-agent partners, Westervelt said.

But even though some sub-agents might be new to selling cloud, NTT is already seeing deals closing with the help of its master agent partners, Westervelt said.

"I’m extremely excited about the funnel of opportunities, and I think it's just going to continue from there as we start to get our name out there more," he said.