NTT Touts Recent Wins, Ambitious Plans To Partner With More Solution Providers On Managed Services Deals

NTT Communications blew past the goals it set in 2014 when it launched a channel program focused on master agents and solution provider partners. Now, the company aiming to expand with the right partners through its managed services and infrastructure offerings.

Rob Westervelt, vice president and general manager of sales and global solutions for NTT America, told CRN in 2015 that his goal for the year was for the channel to contribute 25 percent of NTT Communications' sales. NTT not only hit that target, but Westervelt is upping his target to 35 percent for 2017.

NTT , a global information and communications technology (ICT) provider, set out to sign up 15 master agent partners by 2016 to its Global Solutions Channel Partner Program, a milestone that the company successfully hit. Now, NTT wants to identify and educate the sub-agents looking to make the transition away from exclusively selling connectivity, to selling data center and global MPLS, its two major managed services offerings, Westervelt said.

"We are trying to find the agents that can sell more infrastructure, managed services, and outsourcing," he said.

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NTT is already seeing success with these partners. The Tokyo-based provider landed several significant deals over the past year, including a global managed infrastructure services contract and a data center transformation project.

Tennessee Data Systems (TDS), is a regional data center provider with three facilities, is an example of the kind of companies NTT can help. The provider needed a better way to store and manage the influx of data it was experiencing, as well as address the compliance requirements of new verticals, including health care and finance.

NTT, together with Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Integris Solutions Group, a VAR partner of both HPE and NTT, designed a software-defined cloud storage solution that expanded capacity and boosted reliability and uptime for TDS. The solution combined TDS' three existing data centers with two NTT data centers, and NTT is supplying the connectivity and managing the environment for TDS, Westervelt said.

"This is the perfect example of what we want to do when we talk about outsourcing and IaaS, with managed services a part of that," he said. "It was a really great collaborative effort."

NTT also pitched in on a recent deal with a vCom, a San Ramon, Calif.-based telecom solution provider that NTT connected to through its partnership with master agent Telarus. A small biotech company that spun off from a large pharmaceutical provider had no ICT infrastructure and turned to vCom for consulting, who brought in NTT.

NTT can work with partners to dig deeper into a quote to see if other managed services opportunities exist within a lead for more of a "solution sale" so that partners don't leave money on the table, Westervelt said.

"We did some meetings with the customer to find out their end goal. These spinoff companies have to get off of the parent company's network, so they wanted to know how to get their own MPLS network, but they don't have the IT folks on staff to stand up and manage their own infrastructure," he said.

Rather than build up their own IT staff, the biotech firm decided to outsource its IT needs to its trusted partner and NTT, who could support the infrastructure that the company needs to grow. NTT and vCom gave the company a network that used SD-WAN for load balancing, and the company is now signing a data center deal with NTT, who will also be managing the company's IT security needs.

"This company is outsourcing the entire non-critical core IT infrastructure to us," he said.

Westervelt said that deals like this are helping NTT raise its channel sales. These deals can also help agent partners become the trusted advisor to their customers and sell a complete solution.

"These large managed services deals really move the needle on the revenue side," he said. "There could be a $2 million deal that goes up to $10 million, and we want to educate partners to go beyond the price game to get that much bigger piece that they are missing out on today."