We will be sharing the top 10 Channel and Alliances 2014 predictions throughout February. This blog post looks at the fourth of those predictions: that Telcos Will Become the New Jedi Masters.
Telcos are already forging relationships within the partner ecosystem and can be an excellent conduit for distributing applications and providing an integration platform. For example, in 2013, AT&T launched its first partner program to build deeper relationships with ISVs, and Verizon introduced a significantly revamped version of its program, focusing on letting partners be very flexible in the type of relationship they choose to engage with. Telcos are also becoming more active in wholesale relationships with ISVs and in providing development platforms and APIs for innovative applications.
This is the year to watch for telcos to assert themselves as important players in the software marketplace. They are obviously lynchpins in mobile but are also a big presence in cloud. They have an enviable customer base and billing relationships. IT solutions are the next major play to round out telcos' revenue portfolio, and many have stated publicly that they are looking for ways to diversify their revenue streams. Telcos are already playing a lot of roles: they are your partner one day, your vendor the next day, and your strategic alliance another day. They are truly a force to be reckoned with, and vendors will need to determine how best to figure out how to bring telcos into the fold, sooner rather than later.