handshakeCloud computing and ongoing convergence of information technology (IT) and telecommunications technologies, along with customers’ desire for single-source, cross-platform equipment and services, are leading to closer ties being forged between IT solutions providers and telecom service agents, according to a new study from Channel Partners and CompTIA.

Relationships between telecom service agents and IT solution providers are “maturing beyond opportunistic, handshake deals to a more formalized, accountable approach,” according to a joint press release.

Joint marketing more than doubled, from 4% to 10% year-over-year in 2012, according to IT solution providers surveyed. According to telecom agent respondents, joint selling nearly doubled, from 10% to 18%.

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“Firms have figured out that for these pairings to succeed long term, the rules of engagement and responsibilities must elevate beyond a handshake agreement,” CompTIA director, industry analysis Carolyn April was quoted as saying. “Setting sales strategy together, determining revenue goals and targets and establishing account ownership are all critical factors that contribute to success.”

Two in five IT firms responding to a survey said that half to ¾ of their annual revenue results from partnerships with telecom agents. Forty-two percent of telecom agents said that 1/4 to 1/2 of their annual revenue came as a result of partnerships.

Two-thirds of telecom agents and 61% of IT companies said emerging technologies, such as cloud computing, have led them to form a greater number of, as well as more substantive, strategic partnerships. Such alliances have resulted in the winning of more deals and generation of additional revenue.

“An IT solution provider may consider cloud-based alternatives to their core offerings so as not to lose a sale,” Channel Partners’ editor-in-chief Khali Henderson elaborated. “They may work in tandem with a telecom agent partner to deliver cloud services through a third-party provider; or they may be the managed services or cloud provider that the agent recommends.”

Able to deliver “these solutions effectively and directly to consumers,” telecom carriers are competing against these alliances for customers, according to Channel Partners and CompTIA. By joining forces “to offer more well-rounded solutions to customers, encompassing a variety of technologies and delivery types,” IT solution providers and telecom agents can better compete, Henderson commented.

Channel Partners-CompTIA’s “Partnering Trends between Telecom and IT Channels” report is available online.

 

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