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IT Channel Firms Expand Telecom Play, Research from CompTIA and Channel Partners Reveals

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IT-telecom convergence driven by customers, competition and new technology models

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill., May 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Information technology (IT) channel companies are increasing their  involvement in telecom by offering customers new services and expanding their engagement with partners, according to a study by CompTIA, the ICT Industry Trade Association, and Channel Partners, a leader in news and analysis for the telecommunications industry.

CompTIA is the voice of the world's information technology industry.

The IT VAR Telecom Services Trends study suggests several factors are responsible for IT channel firms' growing involvement in telecom.

"Cloud computing, new routes to market, increasing customer leverage and the adoption of managed services are all impacting the industry, forcing players to take a look at where they fit in the market and more importantly, with whom to partner and compete," said Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA.

A majority of survey respondents (59 percent) believe a significant degree of IT-telecom convergence is happening. Another 34 percent see convergence to some degree.

The ongoing convergence of the information and communications sectors was a significant factor in CompTIA's acquisition this week of Tech America. (See "CompTIA Acquires TechAmerica" for details.) The acquisition unites complementary segments of information technology and communications (ICT) under one umbrella to enhance voice, reach and influence.

Telecom a 'Natural Fit'

Much of the zest among channel companies in exploring telecom is driven by customers' needs and preferences, as well as their own aim to win new business and grow revenue. They view telecom services as a competitive play and a way to differentiate their brand. Four in 10 companies cited the desire to add a new line of business and to win new business as their main reasons for entering the telecom market.

Among channel firms that resell, implement and manage traditional IT products and services, a majority consider telecom services to be a natural fit to their current portfolios. Topping the list of services and solutions they're offering directly to customers are conferencing and collaboration (video and audio), broadband, Wi-Fi access, and IP/PBX and WAN services.

Manpower, Skills, Competition Top List of Challenges

Entering the telecom market is not without its challenges for IT channel companies. Three of the top four challenges they identified relate to staffing and skills:

  • Insufficient staffing (45 percent)
  • Lack of telecom-specific tech skills (40 percent)
  • Lack of sales experience (37 percent)

There's also concern about large telcos moving into traditional IT services, such as cloud computing, managed services and security. A net 68 percent of respondents cited this as a concern.

The IT VAR Telecom Services Trends study is the result of separate online surveys of executives at 200 U.S. IT channel firms and 47 telecom agents, carriers and cable firms. Surveys were conducted in January and February. The full report is available at no cost to CompTIA premier members. Visit or contact for details.

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