AT&T strengthens solution partner bond with new partner exchange features

AT&T (NYSE: T) is roping in a number of new features for its two-year-old Partner Exchange platform, one that currently includes more than 275 solution provider partners.

Specifically, the service provider has introduced four new elements: investment development funds, certification achievement program, innovation ecosystem additions, and a simplified program tier structure.

Solution providers that invest in activities beyond marketing will be able to access investment development funds. Available through an online portal where solution providers can select from a list of third-party vendors, the funding will be provided for sales and operational consulting, contracting support, API development and systems enhancements to platforms like billing and service assurance.

Through the Certification Achievement Program,  AT&T can help solution providers build knowledge of specific product and service offerings in three technology tracks: Network, Cloud/Hosting and Mobility. Initially, the program includes an already-released prerequisite level--Core--and two certification tiers--Professional and Master--will roll out later this year.

The innovation ecosystem brings in third parties to help solution providers evolve using value-added services. This includes Billing-as-a-Service (BaaS). With BaaS, solution providers can access tools from BluLogix, Omniware, OneBill and Profitec to ease the billing process.

Software also plays a key role in this enhanced program. Joining the ecosystem are MasterStream, FPX and ChikPea, all of which are working with solution providers to help them develop software solutions so they can better meet the needs of their businesses and customers.

Finally, AT&T Partner Exchange has developed what it says is a more simplified two-tier structure, which will include Platinum and Platinum Elite levels.

"Two years ago, we launched an innovative business model centered around solution providers, and we're moving fast as we build on our momentum," said Brooks McCorcle, president, AT&T Partner Solutions, in a release. "As we grow AT&T Partner Exchange, we will continue to make bold moves on behalf of our customers."

AT&T may be gaining momentum with its channel platform, but it is hardly alone. Fellow ILECs CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) and Windstream are offering similar channel program platforms for their reseller partners with a particular focus on selling cloud services.

CenturyLink recently added a cloud services estimator to its portfolio, a new feature that will allow its channel partner customers to get a better handle on the cloud service spending that they broker for their business clients.

As it looks to shore up its cloud services momentum the medium-sized business market, Windstream has created a program that will provide training and sales enablement tools to its partners, based on their "cloud ready" or "cloud motivated" status.

For more:
- see the release

Related articles:
AT&T expands its cloud, IP service presence with new reseller program
AT&T battles legacy losses with U-verse gains, but sets focus on profitable customers
CenturyLink serves up cloud cost estimator tool for channel partners
Windstream serves up enhanced cloud partner strategy, enhances SMB reach

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