Reimagine The New Next Together: The Future

In our “Reimagine the New Next” video series, Michelle Ruyle, Intelisys’ VP of Marketing and Digital Transformation, joins channel industry experts to discuss how the “new next” sparked an industry evolution. In this episode, RingCentrals‘s Jeff Winnett, Spectrum‘s Billy Sokolowski, and Spectrotel‘s Ross Artale join Michelle to discuss which technologies will be the biggest disruptor in 2021 and the future of digital transformation.

Michelle Ruyle: Hi! I’m Michelle Ruyle, Vice President of Marketing and Digital Transformation here at Intelisys. As we “Reimagine The New Next Together,” our conversation today is about the future.
Today, we’re talking with Jeff Winnett, AVP Channel Sales Partner Program at RingCentral; Billy Sokolowski, Senior Director with Spectrum; and Ross Artale, President and COO of Spectrotel.
Hi Billy. Glad you could join us.

Billy Sokolowski: Yes, pleasure to see you today. Looking forward to our conversation.

Michelle Ruyle: Hey Billy, they say the pandemic and working from home has pushed companies over the technology tipping point, essentially transforming businesses forever. What do you think?

Billy Sokolowski: Yeah, I’d have to agree with that. I just think it really accelerated it, to be quite honest with you. I think remote work was kind of in the cards. This kind of just pushed it forward quicker. So yes, I’d have to agree with that.

Michelle Ruyle: Yeah. Ross, what about you?

Ross Artale: No doubt it’s a rapid acceleration toward cloud services and virtualization. That pattern continues.

Michelle Ruyle: Yeah. Jeff, what are your thoughts?

Jeff Winnett: Yeah, I couldn’t agree more, Michelle. I think it’s taken basically 10 years of disruption down into two, and it’s an opportunity for all of us.

Michelle Ruyle: Yeah, I absolutely agree. Speaking of disruption: Jeff, what do you think will be the biggest disruptor in the next year?

Jeff Winnett: Great question, Michelle. I think that the hybrid work model will be a key for Intelisys Partners and their customers. Look, I think the pure work-from-home model inevitably will come to an end. So what’s next? I think it’s the hybrid work model, working from the office and remote. Often it’ll happen at the individual level as well as certainly it will happen at the company-wide level. And so some teams will be remote, some will not. I know here in Atlanta, Georgia, where I work and live, there are companies that are having employees come in on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then another set of employees come in on Tuesday and Thursday. And so I think this hybrid model has already begun in a lot of cases and businesses have realized that some sort of remote work is not only feasible but desirable, and quite frankly much more efficient.

If anything that we’ve learned throughout the last year, it’s how we’ve increased the efficiency and effectiveness of our business by working from home, through video and messaging and phone. So businesses are also concerned about the future-proofing of their technology for the next pandemic too, quite frankly. So, I think technologies that empower the hybrid work model will continue to take off: UCaaS, CCaaS, SD-WAN; security, for sure; 5G, Wi-Fi 6. And so partners need to think, quite frankly, of the entire hybrid work model solution and that stack of technology to set their customers apart from their competition going forward. So really, quite frankly, the pure on-prem play has become obsolete through this pandemic over the last year. And this is where the disruption will continue to happen.

Michelle Ruyle: Well, Jeff, I think we’re all in agreement that the hybrid model is the future, and thanks for sharing that perspective.

Jeff Winnett: Yeah, absolutely.

Michelle Ruyle: So Billy, how’s your company preparing for the future?

Billy Sokolowski: That’s a pretty loaded question right there. It’s multifaceted, for sure. Listen, some key initiatives coming into play this year and beyond. So, we’re paving a new path forward with the partner community. And some of that includes automation, ensuring that we have automation into our ordering tools, making it really easy for the partner base to access our products and portfolio. So just this year we started working on some enhancements to Buyflow, which is an SMB ordering tool. And you’ll see further enhancement into that tool, but the biggest piece of it is that we want to drive down calls into our sales support centers and ensure that our agents can place these orders just as easy as ordering their favorite items on Amazon. So that’s a key initiative on the SMB coax side.

On the enterprise side though, we’ve always utilized Salesforce and we’re going to enhance that community this year with Salesforce communities. So the expectation is that we’ll enable our sub-agent base the ability to place their enterprise orders directly through that portal, but also giving Intelisys that same visibility from the sub-agent community of the agents that use the portal for Intelisys to place their orders. So visibility into the ordering as well as where the order is in its process is probably the biggest key piece of automation, simplifying how we work together in that marketplace.

But in addition to that, we have to ensure that we have cutting-edge products. I mean, just this past year we launched mobile to the channel partner base, which kind of was new in this space. Traditionally mobile is an indirect distributed product, but never in this space. So brand new to the community, mobile phones, wireless backup, all these new cutting-edge products. And just as a teaser to this, the mobile product was launched last year but we just enhanced it as well–increasing the amount of lines from five to ten, but also ensuring too that they can use smartwatch capability as those products continue to thrive out in the workplace. So cutting-edge products is another key piece.

In addition to that, our MDF. So our marketing budget that gets spent with the master agent community, we want to ensure that we’re using that budget correctly; hyper-focused out in the marketplace to deal with the conditions that we have ahead of us. So working with the master agent community to ensure those funds are spent appropriately, to garner new business on a go-forward basis. So overall, I think this all ties together into the partner experience, and we’re committed to winning together out in the marketplace with those partners. Those are probably the three biggest key pieces.

Michelle Ruyle: You know, Billy, I’m so glad that you said it’s all about the partner experience. For so many years, right, it was about the customer experience, and there’s been this big shift lately with the partner experience. And it sounds like there’s a lot of great things on the way for our partners.
Ross, how does your company intend to make your mark in 2021?

Ross Artale: Well, we have some really lofty goals Michelle, and we plan on leveraging the Intelisys ecosystem to achieve them. We build our strategic plan in three- to five-year cycles. A key driver of planning for the future is product development, determining where to play, how to win. Our product roadmap is filled with security-managed services, mobility solutions that help drive innovation and transformation. From our view of the world, 5G and IoT are going to really fuel edge compute. Edge compute is going to handle about 50% of cloud traffic by 2022. Virtualization–and really the supply chain changes due to the pandemic, as we said earlier–have really accelerated adoption for cloud services: UCaaS, SD-WAN, all of these products have a KGR between 20% and 30% the next few years. It’s really an amazing opportunity for everyone in the channel to capitalize on.

And I think, lastly, there’s a lot of excitement just around access. Spectrotel is an aggregator, a broadband across the country, and you look at what the cable companies are doing with DOCSIS 3.1, 5G. The build-out of fiber and 5G is going to blur the lines between traditional footprints, so we’re really excited about what that’s going to bring in the future and we have a lot of great plans and look forward to it.

Michelle Ruyle: Ross, I’ll tell you what–we’ll have to have a whole ‘nother conversation around 5G because that is all of our futures, so thanks so much.

Hey guys, thanks for having this conversation with us today. You can get more information about these Intelisys suppliers on MyIntelisys. Bye for now.