Partner Advisory Council: Roundtable Discussions with Some of our Top Partners

Last Thursday and Friday, October 23rd and 24th, TBI held its inaugural Partner Advisory Council at our new company offices in Chicago. The goal of the Council is to drive conversation around the state of the industry and technology trends – all while learning of ways TBI can better serve our partner community.

Following a kickoff dinner Thursday evening, the formal Council meeting started in earnest Friday morning with a primary focus on technology convergence and cloud services. Included were presentations by Comcast Business Vice President of Indirect Channels Craig Schlagbaum, Navisite Director of Channels and Alliances Dick O’Hara, and JMARK Senior Vice President of Sales Doug Deetz.

Silhouette of Business MeetingConvergence
The convergence discussion focused on the evolution of technology acquisition and consumption, with a nod to the historical way technology has been purchased and utilized.

Previously, technology was sold via hardened silos of hardware, software, and services. Increasingly, the silos are merging, allowing businesses to acquire technology from a single source who offers bundled solutions that better meet strategic business considerations. The opportunity for TBI’s distribution partners, it was noted at the Council meeting, is for them to learn about, and benefit from, burgeoning recurring revenue stream opportunities inherent in selling converged solutions that include connectivity products and services.

Cloud
The Council discussed the impact of cloud solutions and there were a variety of viewpoints. Most agreed that cloud technologies were “confusing,” and that the industry has generally done a poor job defining what cloud services actually mean.

According to one Council member, the biggest impediment to his selling cloud services is that many of his customers remain very comfortable with their current premises infrastructures and reluctant to move these systems off-site. Another suggested that if he were better able to outline a cloud technology roadmap, his customers would better understand how such services are delivered.

Even with these challenges, most Council members agreed that the benefits of cloud services are undeniable. In addition to being cost effective, said one, cloud services often improve efficiency in internal and external processes. Plus, such services become an operating expense instead of a significant capital outlay, meaning the cost of service is predictable every month. In addition, cloud solutions alleviate the cost of upgrading software and hardware every time a new product or capability is introduced to the market. And finally, cloud services can relieve a company’s IT department of help-desk tickets and fix-it requests so they can focus on broader and more strategic areas of the business.

One of the greatest aspects of cloud? Its flexibility, said Council members, with one noting, “Cloud services are scalable for any size business in any vertical.”

Overall, our first advisory council was a huge success. We gained valuable insight into what our partners need to be successful in a constantly changing industry. And our partners appreciated the opportunity to give face-to-face feedback on the support they need to keep developing prosperous relationships with their customers. As always, we appreciate the effort our partners put into our relationship and we are committed to delivering on the support and services to grow their success.

 

About the Author
Caitlin Birck is a Social Media and Events Manager at TBI. She coordinates various events to enhance partner and service provider relationships and oversees TBI’s social media. You can contact Caitlin at cbirck@tbicom.com or connect with her on LinkedIn.