Industry Trends Q&A With Bill Whitmore - Senior Channel Manager, AT&T
We recently sat down with AT&T’s Bill Whitmore to get his insight on the latest IT industry trends and thoughts on where things are headed as we wrap up 2021. He shares some interesting views on network security, cloud computing, virtual reality, and more. Read the following passages for our questions and his enlightening answers.
Hot Topics and What Industry Leaders Are Focusing on for 2022
NXTSYS: What trends have you noticed most often for top selling technology solutions?
Whitmore: Definitely security solutions. But you can also drill down further to networks, network testing for compliance, and/or putting in a security practice. Organizations are afraid of security breaches – and because of that, we’re seeing a lot of consideration given to new solutions for network protections, implementation, and consulting. Those are the hot topics right now that agents and customers want to talk about because it’s such a concern.
NXTSYS: Do you have any market trend projections for evolving solutions?
Whitmore: Specifically at AT&T, we have a fantastic switched Ethernet on demand solution that pairs very well with security. It’s a layer 2 private network that enables you to manage your network and security from a single pane of glass. That’s what we’re working towards right now, and we’re excited about its capabilities. As far as the industry goes overall, I’d say cloud computing will continue to be adopted. Companies are looking at cloud computing, which has some great potential for next year as long as latency under five milliseconds is achieved.
NXTSYS: Can you give us some highlights of your channel program?
Whitmore: We’re one of the only programs that gives you two ways to sell AT&T. You can partner up with the direct team and do a co-sell where we pay the direct team as well as the agent. You can partner with them and collaborate with them which is a win-win for the customer. NXTSYS has a fantastic co-selling practice where their channel managers and agents will go in with the direct team, target them, and come up with a good AT&T solution. And everyone gets paid once it’s implemented. Or another way is to pivot by doing solo path selling. You can do it all: come up with a solution, sell it by yourself, and get paid for it. We’re one of the only companies that will let a company do that as far as carrier services. With Lumen, Verizon, and some other big carriers out there, it’s either win or lose. With us, you get to pick and choose how you’d like to sell AT&T.
NXTSYS: Of course, NXTSYS knows how it has benefited from partnering with AT&T. From your perspective, what do master agents like us get out of partnering with you?
Whitmore: Well it's funny, I read a blog the other day that said the industry is changing the
terminology and is now rebranding and calling master agents “technology services distributors”...just a heads up about this change. Partnering with AT&T gives them access to everything, including mobility, cloud computing, carrier services, etc. So you can sell SD-WAN, security, or whatever product out there you like, because we’re not just a carrier, we’re everything.
NXTSYS: What makes NXTSYS different from other technology services distributors (master agents)?
Whitmore: NXTSYS’ approach is very unique as it’s a co-sell, so they offer different ways of partnering with their agents. Agents can decide how they want to engage NXTSYS: solo path where they do it all and make the most money, or bring in NXTSYS experts to help sell the opportunity. It’s unique because there are only a handful of those type relationships in the industry that will do that. Plus, the NXTSYS back office is one of the best. You do everything after the fact from quoting, contracting, follow up, escalation of tickets, etc. Many back offices out there don’t go the extra mile. NXTSYS is such a boutique style model. You give agents a regional feel but with a national presence. You don’t see that a whole lot out there. Your team is super intelligent. You can help tackle a big $30,000 per month global opportunity by rolling up your sleeves and helping sell it or giving the same dedication on a simple ABF sale worth $120 per month. You’re equally able and willing to do both, and that’s why I like working with you.
NXTSYS: We’re flattered! What are your views on VR or augmented reality? Do you think they’ll become part of normal, day-to-day business?
Whitmore: That’s an interesting dynamic. Facebook is pushing hard on that. I think if you can get better or more comfortable VR headsets and use VR for training, I can see that as a possibility. Cloud computing might be a natural progression for it as you can have techs doing virtual installs, so you don’t have to spend a fortune getting your teams out there to go through a training class. It’s definitely something for the future. AT&T is pushing it big time with our 5G rollouts. Not sure if it's going to work for a sales environment, because many times we all get video conference fatigue and we want to be face to face. But I guess you can say the verdict is still out on that.
Bill wrapped up the interview by saying he enjoys working with NXTSYS because we have a great practice. He called out Jared, Dave, and the back office teams, saying they are all just fantastic and leaders that do the technology services distributor models justice. He’s excited to see how we continue to grow and utilize our AppSmart partnership to get more services out to our agents and what 2022 has in store for us all.