NTT Communications Touts Focus On ‘Upstream, Transformational’ Services For Sub-Agent Partners, Unwraps New Security Spif

NTT Communications is marking the two-year anniversary of its Global Solutions Channel Partner Program by sharpening its focus on sub-agent partners with strategic services, as well as unveiling a new sales incentive around its security services for partners, the provider said.

Global Solutions gives master and sub-agent partners access to a range of global private and public cloud and data center solutions, as well as managed security services. This year, the provider has been tweaking its approach to the channel by moving away from commodity-based product sales, NTT America’s director of indirect channel sales, Jordan Whyard, told CRN.

’We believe it’s really key for partners to continue to go upstream and sell international and transformational technology services. We are getting into more of the end-to-end infrastructure and managed services that will enable partners to change their conversations with their end customers [so that those conversations] will be more abstract, as opposed to [focusing on] a specific product offer,’ Whyard said.

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

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Rather than focus on selling intellectual property, solution providers are better able to consult customers through their IT transformations as they adopt new kinds of technologies. Solution providers with consulting practices are an attractive partner to NTT, Whyard said.

Tokyo-based NTT kicked off its channel program two years ago in the U.S. by tapping the master agent community for help in getting on the radar of the sub-agent partner community, which includes telecom agents and solution providers. NTT has been working with several large U.S.-based master agents, including Petaluma, Calif.-based Intelisys; Malibu, Calif.-based World Telecom Group (WTG); and Seattle-based Stratacore.

Intelisys’ sub-agent community has shown a lot of interest in NTT’s services since the big-name brand joined the master agent’s portfolio, said J.R. Cook, senior vice president of business development at Intelisys.

’NTT has one of the most robust offerings out there, but they struggled a little bit with their story,’ Cook said. ’NTT has really worked to transform their message over the last couple of months to tell [partners] that they want to be the global end-to-end infrastructure provider with professional services over the top, and the connectivity will come behind it.’

As a result, NTT has been targeting the partners that best understand their model – those that are acting more as consultants. The provider has also offered to help educate master agent sales partners on how to have ’solution selling’ conversations with customers, Cook said.

International expansion is also on the radar for many larger solution providers today, an area of expertise for NTT Communications, Cook said.

The provider’s global assets include 140 interconnected data centers, a private network in 196 countries, and 14 data centers that also serve as cloud computing delivery centers, according to NTT.

NTT has added more than 100 sub-agent partners to its channel program since last year. These partners have boosted the number of NTT contracts by more than 30 percent since August 2015, according to NTT.

NTT on Monday also unveiled a security services award from now until the end of the year for master and sub-agent partners. Called the Second Half Spif, or sales performance incentive fund, it's split into two components, one around professional services and the other, managed services. Partners can scoop up spif payouts of up to $25,000, depending on the deal size, Whyard said.

Security and compliance in the international arena are among the most important factors to take into account when deploying new kinds of technologies, he added.

’[The spif] is a great way to get partners to sit down and understand NTT’s security offerings, and how they compare to other security offerings,’ Intelisys’ Cook said.