Channel partner programs, CSPs, Enterprise, MSP, Networking, Software defined, Virtualization

AT&T Partner Triple Play: IBM Cloud, Amazon AWS and Solutions Providers

AT&T is partnering up with Amazon Web Services and IBM Cloud, while also opening its arms wider to solutions providers. The key takeaway: Like many telecom companies, AT&T is focusing more on the network layer and then plugging into an ecosystem of large cloud services providers (CSPs) and smaller IT solutions providers.

On the cloud front, the company has inked a multi-year, strategic alliance agreement with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The agreement calls for joint work across the AWS Cloud with the AT&T network. focus areas include cloud networking, mobility, Internet of Things (IoT), security and analytics.

Keep a close eye on AT&T services like:

  • NetBond, which allows customers to establish high-speed, secure network connections to AWS Cloud.
  • IoT-connected sensors and devices linked to AWS IoT, a managed cloud platform. An IoT Starter Kit will support AWS IoT.
  • Threat Intellect, which will work with AWS to provide end-to-end customer security.

IBM Cloud Partnership

AT&T inked a similar relationship with IBM. Through an expansion of their existing strategic relationship, IBM support AT&T FlexWare -- which allows customers to manage virtual network functions (VNFs) on a single device. AT&T FlexWare, formerly called AT&T Network Functions on Demand, is available globally through the company's Network on Demand platform. The solution features both software-defined networking and network function virtualization technologies.

AT&T will also run applications on IBM's cloud, cognitive, analytics and security infrastructure. In addition to making this available to clients, IBM has begun to roll out AT&T FlexWare in many of its own sites.

Solutions Providers

Meanwhile, the company also continues to work more closely with resellers. The company's Partner Exchange effort, for instance, now supports 500 solutions providers. And the company is introducing more Wireless Wide Area Network (WAN) solutions for those resellers.

The efforts include:

  • Updated rate plans: Business Connect, which may be used for wireless backup, lets solution providers pool data with other plans of the same type, the company says.
  • Access to more customized mobile connections: AT&T Private Mobile Connection (formerly known as AT&T Commercial Connectivity Services) lets solution providers establish mobile connections that align with customers’ wireline and security needs, the company claims
  • Tools to maximize productivity: AccessMyLAN from AT&T lets solution providers’ customers wirelessly connect to remote machines and devices, the company asserts.

Additional certifications have also surfaced. They include:

  • Technical Sales & Design: These virtual instructor-led courses teach solution providers how to better identify their customers’ strategic needs and technical requirements, the company says.
  •  Operations: Solution providers will increase their knowledge in service delivery, billing operations and service assurance, the company says.

Collaboration Solutions

The cloud and IT solutions provider efforts build upon AT&T partner moves from August 2016. At the time, the company extended AT&T Collaborate (a hosted voice and collaboration offering) to channel partners.

In an August 2016 interview with ChannelE2E, AT&T VP's Kevin Leonard and Rick Shaw vowed that the company's various partner programs would continue to accelerate.

AT&T, like many of its rivals, needs to work with highly engaged partners amid multiple shifts in the IT and telecom markets. Amid falling demand for traditional telecom services, AT&T is cutting an undisclosed number of managers this year. Earlier, the company punted its managed hosting business to IBM.

Meanwhile, rivals like CenturyLink and Verizon are working to sell off their various cloud data centers. Some reports suggest Verizon is set to sell its data centers to Equinix for about $3.5 billion. Also, CenturyLink is expected to finalize potential data center sale discussions before 2017.

Back at AT&T, the path forward seems clear: Double down on network services, partner with public cloud providers, and work more closely with solutions providers.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.