SMB virtualisation: The telco threat

ARN's roundtable on selling virtualisation to SMBs delves into the threat of telcos in an on-demand world

Growing popularity of hosting, cloud and the managed services model are raising questions around whether telcos will again threaten the traditional systems integration channel in the SMB space.

Dell’s Jay Turner claimed more and more telecommunications-oriented resellers were now approaching the vendor, looking for opportunities.

“This whole collision of telecommunications and IT is coming together from a hosting perspective. And we can see this through the bundled offerings coming from Telstra now,” he claimed. “My questions is, are you guys getting more involved in the telco side, or are you starting to partner with telco partners, because they are coming this way and the train has left the station.

“I have been in the channel as well as at Dell and in my time, I have never seen so many telecommunications background, PABX guys getting as interested in storage and that sort of thing, as I am today. They have seen they need to be in this.

“There is going to be a merging of relationships, which is as close as it has ever been.” Spectrumtech’s Amir Antonir said the train had left the station before in different areas, but had gone back in most cases.

“If we, as a frontline when it comes to services provisioning, can maintain the personal relationships, that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day,” he said. “SMBs want to touch a person, and if you can maintain that scheme, they couldn’t care how you deliver the services, as long as they’re stable. The issue is whether you have confidence in your provider to actually deliver the level of service you expect and the services you want. Today, telcos haven’t got that.”

PC Nation’s Adam Nixon agreed IT resellers would be remiss not to be peripherally aware that there needs be an alignment and facilitate that.

“It is a challenge, because it’s another component of the relationship we need to manage. Ultimately, they will be dealing with us,” he said.

“The trust issue isn’t there with your traditional IT integrator because you’re already dealing with them for these services and the risk isn’t as high. But Telstra’s T-Suite offering does touch this market,” IDC’s Jean-Marc Annonier said.