Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Sep 03

Lumen Tops AT&T, Spectrum Again in Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard

By | Managed Services News

T-Mobile dropped out of the challenger tier.

Lumen continues to lead the U.S. carrier Ethernet market, according to Vertical Systems Group.

VSG on Thursday presented its Mid-2021 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. AT&T trailed in second, followed by Spectrum Enterprise.

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has led this list since acquiring Level 3 Communications in 2017.

Vertical Systems Group 2021 Carrier Mid-Year

Source: Vertical Systems Group

The latest report continues to reflect hampered Ethernet growth in the U.S. market. As you might expect, COVID-19 played a role.

Vertical Systems Group's Rick Malone

Vertical Systems Group’s Rick Malone

“Protracted effects of the pandemic throughout the U.S. continue to suppress expansion of Ethernet service installations. Commercial building workforce levels – a primary driver for bandwidth – remain lower than normal,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group.

But more factors than the coronavirus are at play here. VSG pointed to hybrid SD-WAN solutions that are cutting into Ethernet access to MPLS services. However, many customers are using Ethernet-based dedicated internet access for SD-WAN underlays. VSG noted that Ethernet DIA and Ethernet-based wavelength services.

The leaderboard also features Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Windstream. All of these providers held more than 4% of the U.S. retail Ethernet port market as of June 30. According to VSG, Comcast enjoyed higher port share growth in the first half of 2021 than any other company.

The leaderboard has not changed since year-end 2019, except for Windstream and Cox swapping places. In addition, T-Mobile (Sprint) dropped out of the challenger tier.

VSG also noted that only Lumen and Verizon possess an MEF 3.0 carrier Ethernet certification.

 

Sep 03

Lumen Tops AT&T, Spectrum Again in Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard

By | Managed Services News

T-Mobile dropped out of the challenger tier.

Lumen continues to lead the U.S. carrier Ethernet market, according to Vertical Systems Group.

VSG on Thursday presented its Mid-2021 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. AT&T trailed in second, followed by Spectrum Enterprise.

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has led this list since acquiring Level 3 Communications in 2017.

Vertical Systems Group 2021 Carrier Mid-Year

Source: Vertical Systems Group

The latest report continues to reflect hampered Ethernet growth in the U.S. market. As you might expect, COVID-19 played a role.

Vertical Systems Group's Rick Malone

Vertical Systems Group’s Rick Malone

“Protracted effects of the pandemic throughout the U.S. continue to suppress expansion of Ethernet service installations. Commercial building workforce levels – a primary driver for bandwidth – remain lower than normal,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group.

But more factors than the coronavirus are at play here. VSG pointed to hybrid SD-WAN solutions that are cutting into Ethernet access to MPLS services. However, many customers are using Ethernet-based dedicated internet access for SD-WAN underlays. VSG noted that Ethernet DIA and Ethernet-based wavelength services.

The leaderboard also features Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Windstream. All of these providers held more than 4% of the U.S. retail Ethernet port market as of June 30. According to VSG, Comcast enjoyed higher port share growth in the first half of 2021 than any other company.

The leaderboard has not changed since year-end 2019, except for Windstream and Cox swapping places. In addition, T-Mobile (Sprint) dropped out of the challenger tier.

VSG also noted that only Lumen and Verizon possess an MEF 3.0 carrier Ethernet certification.

 

Sep 03

Lumen Tops AT&T, Spectrum Again in Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard

By | Managed Services News

T-Mobile dropped out of the challenger tier.

Lumen continues to lead the U.S. carrier Ethernet market, according to Vertical Systems Group.

VSG on Thursday presented its Mid-2021 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. AT&T trailed in second, followed by Spectrum Enterprise.

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has led this list since acquiring Level 3 Communications in 2017.

Vertical Systems Group 2021 Carrier Mid-Year

Source: Vertical Systems Group

The latest report continues to reflect hampered Ethernet growth in the U.S. market. As you might expect, COVID-19 played a role.

Vertical Systems Group's Rick Malone

Vertical Systems Group’s Rick Malone

“Protracted effects of the pandemic throughout the U.S. continue to suppress expansion of Ethernet service installations. Commercial building workforce levels – a primary driver for bandwidth – remain lower than normal,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group.

But more factors than the coronavirus are at play here. VSG pointed to hybrid SD-WAN solutions that are cutting into Ethernet access to MPLS services. However, many customers are using Ethernet-based dedicated internet access for SD-WAN underlays. VSG noted that Ethernet DIA and Ethernet-based wavelength services.

The leaderboard also features Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Windstream. All of these providers held more than 4% of the U.S. retail Ethernet port market as of June 30. According to VSG, Comcast enjoyed higher port share growth in the first half of 2021 than any other company.

The leaderboard has not changed since year-end 2019, except for Windstream and Cox swapping places. In addition, T-Mobile (Sprint) dropped out of the challenger tier.

VSG also noted that only Lumen and Verizon possess an MEF 3.0 carrier Ethernet certification.

 

Sep 03

Xposure to Channel: Replace ‘Master Agents’ with Tech Services Distributors

By | Managed Services News

“Who’s going to understand that as soon as you come out of this little ecosystem?” Dany Bouchedid asked.

One influential group is calling on the channel to come together to rename master agents.

The Xposure Inclusion and Diversity Council is drafting an open letter addressed specifically to the brokerage and sourcing firms we have come to know as master agents. The letter will call upon these companies to refer to themselves as “technology services distributors” immediately.

The channel has been buzzing about nomenclature for months now. Internal conversations at some of the industry’s largest vendors and service distributors (more on that later) bubbled over into a public discussion on the Channel Futures website. Does the term “master agent” carry racially insensitive undertones? Does it inadequately describe the relationships between direct selling agents and the intermediary organizations that hold their supplier contracts and offer sales enablement? Does it fail to represent our industry well to the outside world?

Not everyone marks “yes” on all three questions, but consensus has emerged that many members of the channel no longer feel comfortable with the term. Agents, suppliers and especially the “master agents” themselves have expressed reservations.

“It’s an old, antiquated terminology that doesn’t fit anymore,” said Kelli McMillan, Five9 national partner manager and Xposure founder and CEO.

“The time to end the master/sub titles was 20 years ago,” Eclipse Telecom CEO Dave Dyson wrote. “Each day that goes by where we still use these terms is one too many.”

“I’m never going to use the term,” Intelisys president John DeLozier said last month.

Now What?

Fast forward to September, and nothing has changed. The conversation has gone silent. Brandon Knight, who co-founded Xposure and also leads Telarus‘ contact center practice, said he thought the article series that ran in June would have put the final nail in the coffin.

“We got to this point of, ‘What would we call ourselves?’ and it’s almost like that was too hard of a decision. It was so difficult to end up with a consensus on the name that everyone just dropped it. No one’s even talking about it anymore,” Knight told Channel Futures.

Telarus' Brandon Knight

Telarus’ Brandon Knight

One can also attribute the delay to the question of responsibility. The services distributors may point to the suppliers while the suppliers point to the service distributors as the group that needs to lead the renaming effort. But Knight said many channel partners are coming to the conclusion that the services distributors (“master agents”) need to be the ones leading the charge. For example, he said one supplier recently reached out to Telarus saying it would support whatever descriptor Telarus chose.

“I think we want a collaborative effort,” Knight said. “But the suppliers and the agents are saying, ‘But you guys are the ones that are called master agents. So we shouldn’t change your name; you should change your name.’”

Fortunately, Xposure’s board and committee members run the gamut of various channel backgrounds.

“We’re not all master agents. We’re not all agents. And we’re not all suppliers. We actually have people in leadership positions throughout the whole ecosystem. And I almost think it made it easier for us,” he said.

Understanding the Effect

Knight said he and many peers spent years in the channel without seeing much of problem with “master agent.” Perhaps they felt slight discomfort, but they didn’t see a need to publicly push for a change. But his mind changed earlier this year after a striking conversation.

Knight sat next to an elderly Black woman on a flight. They engaged in a friendly conversation in which he mentioned …

Sep 03

Lumen Tops AT&T, Spectrum Again in Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard

By | Managed Services News

T-Mobile dropped out of the challenger tier.

Lumen continues to lead the U.S. carrier Ethernet market, according to Vertical Systems Group.

VSG on Thursday presented its Mid-2021 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. AT&T trailed in second, followed by Spectrum Enterprise.

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has led this list since acquiring Level 3 Communications in 2017.

Vertical Systems Group 2021 Carrier Mid-Year

Source: Vertical Systems Group

The latest report continues to reflect hampered Ethernet growth in the U.S. market. As you might expect, COVID-19 played a role.

Vertical Systems Group's Rick Malone

Vertical Systems Group’s Rick Malone

“Protracted effects of the pandemic throughout the U.S. continue to suppress expansion of Ethernet service installations. Commercial building workforce levels – a primary driver for bandwidth – remain lower than normal,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group.

But more factors than the coronavirus are at play here. VSG pointed to hybrid SD-WAN solutions that are cutting into Ethernet access to MPLS services. However, many customers are using Ethernet-based dedicated internet access for SD-WAN underlays. VSG noted that Ethernet DIA and Ethernet-based wavelength services.

The leaderboard also features Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Windstream. All of these providers held more than 4% of the U.S. retail Ethernet port market as of June 30. According to VSG, Comcast enjoyed higher port share growth in the first half of 2021 than any other company.

The leaderboard has not changed since year-end 2019, except for Windstream and Cox swapping places. In addition, T-Mobile (Sprint) dropped out of the challenger tier.

VSG also noted that only Lumen and Verizon possess an MEF 3.0 carrier Ethernet certification.

 

Sep 03

Forrester’s McBain Honors Channel Futures Among Top IT Channel Media Outlets

By | Managed Services News

The influential analyst names Channel Futures among the best of the best.

Top channel industry analyst Jay McBain has just recognized Channel Futures in his list of Top 59 Global IT Channel Media Outlets.

Forrester's Jay McBain

Forrester’s Jay McBain

Forrester’s principal analyst – channels, partnerships and ecosystems – is bullish on the continuing impact publications like Channel Futures have on the market.

“If you were to ask the millions of global VARs, MSPs, MSSPs, systems integrators, consultants, agencies, dealers, ISVs and emerging tech companies [what they read, where they go and who they follow], you would learn that the 50 channel-facing magazines around the world – and their related communities, events and social channels – carry an outsized level of influence on vendor selection, business model evolution and skills development,” said McBain.

Furthermore, McBain says Forrester research shows that media articles and publications remain a significant influence on the channel.

“We are extremely pleased to be recognized by Jay McBain and Forrester,” said Bobby DeMarzo, Channel Futures’ vice president of content. “Our dramatic online growth and our daily presentation of news, analysis and top industry lists such as the MSP 501 set us up to be the leader in channel media for the foreseeable future.”

McBain’s report also notes the influence that events such as the upcoming Channel Partners Conference & Expo have on the industry.

“In the end, these media outlets provide a critical role in the future of our industry,” McBain notes. “They give channel professionals relevant and timely information and push partner businesses to innovate and create value for customers. They orchestrate collaboration opportunities, skill building, relationship nurturing, hiring, and provide an important platform for influencers and superconnectors to reach large numbers of people.”

Sep 03

Lumen Tops AT&T, Spectrum Again in Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard

By | Managed Services News

T-Mobile dropped out of the challenger tier.

Lumen continues to lead the U.S. carrier Ethernet market, according to Vertical Systems Group.

VSG on Thursday presented its Mid-2021 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. AT&T trailed in second, followed by Spectrum Enterprise.

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has led this list since acquiring Level 3 Communications in 2017.

Vertical Systems Group 2021 Carrier Mid-Year

Source: Vertical Systems Group

The latest report continues to reflect hampered Ethernet growth in the U.S. market. As you might expect, COVID-19 played a role.

Vertical Systems Group's Rick Malone

Vertical Systems Group’s Rick Malone

“Protracted effects of the pandemic throughout the U.S. continue to suppress expansion of Ethernet service installations. Commercial building workforce levels – a primary driver for bandwidth – remain lower than normal,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group.

But more factors than the coronavirus are at play here. VSG pointed to hybrid SD-WAN solutions that are cutting into Ethernet access to MPLS services. However, many customers are using Ethernet-based dedicated internet access for SD-WAN underlays. VSG noted that Ethernet DIA and Ethernet-based wavelength services.

The leaderboard also features Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Windstream. All of these providers held more than 4% of the U.S. retail Ethernet port market as of June 30. According to VSG, Comcast enjoyed higher port share growth in the first half of 2021 than any other company.

The leaderboard has not changed since year-end 2019, except for Windstream and Cox swapping places. In addition, T-Mobile (Sprint) dropped out of the challenger tier.

VSG also noted that only Lumen and Verizon possess an MEF 3.0 carrier Ethernet certification.

 

Sep 03

Think Long Term to Supercharge MSP Growth

By | Managed Services News

Simply adding more customers, seats and endpoints under management does not guarantee MSP growth.

With no shortage of demand and a broad array of services to offer, it’s a great time to be an MSP. Small to midsize businesses struggling to manage the complexity and scope of core business functions rely on IT services more than ever before. In such a hot market, there’s no excuse for MSPs to not only survive, but also to thrive and grow. But simply adding more customers, seats and endpoints under management doesn’t guarantee MSP growth. MSPs need realistic, actionable business plans aligned with their capabilities and their owner’s own personal goals.

Working Backward from a Vision

Before beginning any journey, you should have a final destination in mind. MSP leaders need a vision for themselves and their business 10 years out into the future–encompassing both objectives for the business and themselves–since attaining personal financial, lifestyle and retirement goals depends on how the business performs.

Owners should start with why they got into the MSP business to begin with, assessing if those expectations have changed. With this picture in mind, it’s time to put a price tag on it: How much money is needed to turn that vision into a reality?

Visions can be quantified in terms of after-tax dollars in your personal bank account. How much to buy that boat or vacation home, or send the kids to college, or retire at 55? This math first requires calculating current personal net worth and then determining how much more personal income you need to reach that goal.

With that objective in mind, a little more math identifies how much additional monthly recurring revenue the business must generate to have enough in the bank 10 years from now to realize that vision. Essentially, two major levers influence the increased profitability needed for that financial goal: boosting revenue and increasing efficiency.

Adding Top-Line Revenue and Boosting Efficiency

Raising an MSP’s monthly recurring revenue (MRR) ultimately boils down to adding new customers or increasing revenue per seat. MSPs drive this by increasing sales activity and expanding the portfolio of products and service offered.

Landing enough new customers to reach the MRR needed for that vision may seem daunting, but it won’t seem as out of reach when broken down into more immediate actions. Get a good handle on close rate–top performers typically close about 20% of potential deals. That rate can get much higher if they’re only working off referrals, but that also limits the overall funnel of potential business.

As long as you’re consistently calling on new prospects and steadily adding new customers, you can get there in a reasonable amount of time. Viewing it by how many new deals or sales calls must be closed or made each week or month turns it into an actionable reality.

The other side of the coin is increasing efficiency and profitability. Examining seat-to-support staff ratios is an excellent starting point. This should be at a minimum of 400 seats per staff member–ideally reaching 500–which gets things to a monthly support cost of around $10 per seat.

When MSPs aren’t seeing ratios in this range, it’s time to explore opportunities for optimization. The first part is looking at employees themselves. You don’t need all “A” players, but you do need lots of “B” players equipped with the right processes, training and tools to deliver A-level quality.

Automating routine processes, consolidating management into fewer tools with more robust capabilities, and creating consistent offerings can all boost productivity and support more seats with fewer staff.

But the other weapon in an MSP’s arsenal is upping average seat price. Even minor increases create a huge ripple effect as the MSP makes more money with the same number of clients while seeing even bigger returns on newly closed business. Make sure you’re getting paid for the value you deliver, and make it a climb to the top versus a race to the bottom.  Click on Page 2 to continue reading…

Sep 03

Xposure to Master Agents: Call Yourselves Tech Services Distributors

By | Managed Services News

“Who’s going to understand that as soon as you come out of this little ecosystem?” Dany Bouchedid asked.

One influential group is calling on the channel to come together to rename master agents.

The Xposure Inclusion and Diversity Council is drafting an open letter addressed specifically to the brokerage and sourcing firms we have come to know as master agents. The letter will call upon these companies to refer to themselves as “technology services distributors” immediately.

The channel has been buzzing about nomenclature for months now. Internal conversations at some of the industry’s largest vendors and service distributors (more on that later) bubbled over into a public discussion on the Channel Futures website. Does the term “master agent” carry racially insensitive undertones? Does it inadequately describe the relationships between direct selling agents and the intermediary organizations that hold their supplier contracts and offer sales enablement? Does it fail to represent our industry well to the outside world?

Not everyone marks “yes” on all three questions, but consensus has emerged that many members of the channel no longer feel comfortable with the term. Agents, suppliers and especially the “master agents” themselves have expressed reservations.

“It’s an old, antiquated terminology that doesn’t fit anymore,” said Kelli McMillan, Five9 national partner manager and Xposure founder and CEO.

“The time to end the master/sub titles was 20 years ago,” Eclipse Telecom CEO Dave Dyson wrote. “Each day that goes by where we still use these terms is one too many.”

“I’m never going to use the term,” Intelisys president John DeLozier said last month.

Now What?

Fast forward to September, and nothing has changed. The conversation has gone silent. Brandon Knight, who co-founded Xposure and also leads Telarus‘ contact center practice, said he thought the article series that ran in June would have put the final nail in the coffin.

“We got to this point of, ‘What would we call ourselves?’ and it’s almost like that was too hard of a decision. It was so difficult to end up with a consensus on the name that everyone just dropped it. No one’s even talking about it anymore,” Knight told Channel Futures.

Telarus' Brandon Knight

Telarus’ Brandon Knight

One can also attribute the delay to the question of responsibility. The services distributors may point to the suppliers while the suppliers point to the service distributors as the group that needs to lead the renaming effort. But Knight said many channel partners are coming to the conclusion that the services distributors (“master agents”) need to be the ones leading the charge. For example, he said one supplier recently reached out to Telarus saying it would support whatever descriptor Telarus chose.

“I think we want a collaborative effort,” Knight said. “But the suppliers and the agents are saying, ‘But you guys are the ones that are called master agents. So we shouldn’t change your name; you should change your name.’”

Fortunately, Xposure’s board and committee members run the gamut of various channel backgrounds.

“We’re not all master agents. We’re not all agents. And we’re not all suppliers. We actually have people in leadership positions throughout the whole ecosystem. And I almost think it made it easier for us,” he said.

Understanding the Effect

Knight said he and many peers spent years in the channel without seeing much of problem with “master agent.” Perhaps they felt slight discomfort, but they didn’t see a need to publicly push for a change. But his mind changed earlier this year after a striking conversation.

Knight sat next to an elderly Black woman on a flight. They engaged in a friendly conversation in which he mentioned …

Sep 03

Lumen Tops AT&T, Spectrum Again in Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard

By | Managed Services News

T-Mobile dropped out of the challenger tier.

Lumen continues to lead the U.S. carrier Ethernet market, according to Vertical Systems Group.

VSG on Thursday presented its Mid-2021 U.S. Carrier Ethernet Leaderboard. AT&T trailed in second, followed by Spectrum Enterprise.

Lumen (formerly known as CenturyLink) has led this list since acquiring Level 3 Communications in 2017.

Vertical Systems Group 2021 Carrier Mid-Year

Source: Vertical Systems Group

The latest report continues to reflect hampered Ethernet growth in the U.S. market. As you might expect, COVID-19 played a role.

Vertical Systems Group's Rick Malone

Vertical Systems Group’s Rick Malone

“Protracted effects of the pandemic throughout the U.S. continue to suppress expansion of Ethernet service installations. Commercial building workforce levels – a primary driver for bandwidth – remain lower than normal,” said Rick Malone, principal of Vertical Systems Group.

But more factors than the coronavirus are at play here. VSG pointed to hybrid SD-WAN solutions that are cutting into Ethernet access to MPLS services. However, many customers are using Ethernet-based dedicated internet access for SD-WAN underlays. VSG noted that Ethernet DIA and Ethernet-based wavelength services.

The leaderboard also features Verizon, Comcast, Cox and Windstream. All of these providers held more than 4% of the U.S. retail Ethernet port market as of June 30. According to VSG, Comcast enjoyed higher port share growth in the first half of 2021 than any other company.

The leaderboard has not changed since year-end 2019, except for Windstream and Cox swapping places. In addition, T-Mobile (Sprint) dropped out of the challenger tier.

VSG also noted that only Lumen and Verizon possess an MEF 3.0 carrier Ethernet certification.

 

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