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AT&T Channel Chief: 'Now, We are Challenging Our Solution Providers'

‘With growth comes investment. Now, we are challenging our solution providers to three things: Look for opportunities to diversify, continue to invest in growth, and stay on top of technology trends,’ AT&T's Channel Chief Zee Hussain tells CRN.

AT&T wants its partners to know that the carrier is deeply dedicated to investing more resources into its channel organization, and in turn, the carrier expects partners to invest in AT&T, the company’s channel chief told CRN.

This week at Fusion, a brand-new AT&T partner event, the carrier brought together its previously two separate partner events -- AT&T's Partner Exchange (APEX) event for its solution provider partners, as well as its Alliance Channel event for agent partners -- for the first time. AT&T last year began its channel unification efforts, which included Alliance Channel, ACC Business and Partner Exchange, under AT&T channel chief and senior vice president Zee Hussain, who succeeded Brooks McCorcle.

The new, all-inclusive channel organization called AT&T Partner Solutions, is bringing more to the table for the channel. Specifically, AT&T has spent the last year bringing together the best resources from its separate indirect channel programs to give all partners access to AT&T's full portfolio of solutions. However, the carrier is asking its partners for something in return.

[Related: AT&T Focused On Next-Gen Networking, 5G As Carrier Stands 'Ready To Close' Time Warner Deal ]

"With growth comes investment. And we have invested in our channel programs this past year. Now, we are challenging our solution providers to three things: Look for opportunities to diversify, continue to invest in growth, and stay on top of technology trends," Hussain said as a call to action for partners.

One way that the channel can diversify, and grow is by selling AlienVault solutions, AT&T's open-source threat intelligence technology it acquired in August.

Both Partner Exchange and Alliance Channel partners can access AlienVault’s portfolio of security solutions, specially, the firm's security management platform. While AlienVault still has its own channel program that includes MSPs and resellers, AT&T wants to ease into the integration process and hasn't said it will disband the firm's own channel program.

"AlienVault has taken the complex problem of end to end security, more specifically threat detection and response and simplifying it and making it accessible to the majority of the market. With the acquisition of AlienVault, we now have a security offer that fits well into the SMB market," Hussian said.

The Dallas-based carrier took to its event to fill partners in on several new tools and services that will be available to both Partner Exchange and Alliance Channel partners that each group may not have had access to before.

Alliance Channel will now have access to the cloud-based portal for finding AT&T resources and services that was previously exclusive to Partner Exchange members. The Alliance Channel also now has access to AT&T's Marketing as a Service that lets partners receive reimbursement when working with specific vendors. APIs that were only available to Partner Exchange are now available to the Alliance Channel, including the carrier's qualifying and quoting service for AT&T's Dedicated Internet solution.

Partner Exchange solution providers, on the other hand, now have access to a GM Connected Car Wi-Fi solution that was previously only available through the Alliance Channel.

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