More ways to the market: Partnerships are the wave of the future


Partnerships have always been a strong tactic for businesses to expand the reach of their services. During the pandemic, partnerships were vital to extend reach to target customers, particularly since we were unable to do so in-person. Now with conferences and events once again picking up, and the pandemic’s global shut-downs easing substantially, it’s time we revisit an old model to revive and strengthen relationships and reach more customers with excellent  services.


Since the pandemic struck, the digital infrastructure industry – from subsea, to data centers and ISPs – has seen a surge in interest and requests. The need for broadband Internet connectivity to enable Work From Home requires a more distributed network architecture. Furthermore, providers are challenged to improve performance to cloud services such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, and applications such as Salesforce, Netflix, and more. To do so, service providers are pressured to revisit and redesign their own infrastructure to extend reach and access to and from ‘the edge.’


So, how does the future of partnerships play into this challenge?  Simply put, we can’t do it alone. New Infrastructure builds cost money, and a lot of it. While there are many flush communications companies, and investors chomping at the bit to grow and expand, with skyrocketing costs for construction, and competitive pricing required for end-users, the return on traditional investments could be across a longer time frame than many could sustain. That’s where the Government comes in.


Just recently, the Biden administration passed the $1.2 Trillion Infrastructure Bill. In this Bill tens of millions of dollars are allocated to State sponsored digital infrastructure programs, targeted at bridging the digital divide to bring broadband to underserved and underappreciated markets. While money is the cure to enablement, resources, knowledge, and equipment are required to fulfill the promises, and these are all being sought after at once.


At the November 2021 Channel Partners Conference and Expo it was so exciting to reunite and reconnect with many people, however, the same challenges were heard. There are not as many people with the knowledge and capabilities to fulfill the Government’s promises as are required, so we must leverage the strengths of one another to implement and deliver the digital infrastructure necessary to enable it all.


The truth is, not all data centers are created equal, nor are networks, services, access and  anything else that is needed. In order to bring top-class capabilities to tertiary markets, we need to identify those companies that have local knowledge, access to buyers, and capabilities to implement solutions. From my perspective, this is where the boom in partnerships comes in.


More than ever the telecommunications industry is motivated and inspired to make a difference. The pace of hiring network and system engineers, data center operations experts, specialty  architects and construction companies is increasing faster than we can train a newer workforce to implement. This means that expanding into new markets and reaching new customers requires a different approach, one that leverages equal parts of strength in services to another’s equal parts of strength in solutions. By focusing on what companies do well, they can fill gaps of specialty support services with partners who can do what they do well. Smart partnerships that  fulfill more than a single entity can deliver is the way of the future. If we are to not only survive this fourth industrial revolution, but thrive, we have to work smarter – not harder – and do it together.