Cloud Partners Chicago 2013

As the Cloud Partners Chicago 2013 show winds down today, one can not help but notice that change is in the air in our industry. That change has been accelerating, particularly when it comes to the impact of the cloud. Yesterday, it felt like there were two different shows going on in the same hall space, and the beer was provided to help break between the ice between the pure cloud providers, the traditional telecom providers, and the agent community. The changes that the cloud presents to the agent community and telecom business in general are considerable, and some see this disruption as a threat to our traditional business model.

A recently released study titled “The natural fit of Cloud with Telecommunications” put out by the IBM Institute for Business Value. The study did a good job outlining why the Telecom and Agent Channel should view the growth of the cloud as much more of an opportunity than a threat. Borrowed from that study, here are 6 reasons why traditional Telecom Companies and the Agent community (that has traditionally sold telecom services) are uniquely positioned to be successful selling cloud services to SMB and Enterprise clients:

1) End-to-end Quality-of-Service (QoS)
Telecom providers have considerable expertise in managing access networks, and they have control over the QoS levels provided and can price different tiers of service according to the needs of customers

2) Reliability,security, and trust
Telecom providers are more closely associated with reliability, security, and trust than other cloud providers. According to the same IBM study, lack of trust is the #1 concern and obstacle to cloud adoption by businesses. Telecom providers have a good reputation of managing large-scale secure infrastructures, dealing with sensitive and confidential info, and doing so in a manner that is legally compliant.

3) Customer insight
Telecom providers are in a unique position by having access to valuable and exclusive information about their customers. They can use this information, like customer location, presence, device used, to provide a greatly enhanced end user experience.

4) Aggregation expertise
Telecom providers can group their own and third party services, depending on the needs of their customers. They can act as a distribution channel for third-party cloud services, and leverage their in-house billing capabilities.

5) Existing customer relationships
Telecom providers (and their Agents) are in close proximity to their customer, giving them a powerful selling position. They can leverage these existing relationships to sell, refine, and enhance their cloud offerings.

6) Local presence
Telecom businesses are well versed in regulatory issues, having navigated these waters for years. Cloud providers have not had the focus on regulatory and legal issues, particularly those that are important to SMB and Enterprise customers.

Telecom Providers (and the Agent Community) are going through some business challenges related to the growth of cloud services, but with the size of this opportunity it would be unwise for anyone looking to grow in this business not to embrace it and adapt your business plans accordingly.