Quite the announcement: "CompTIA: 70% of VARs Concerned About Agents 'Encroaching' on Their Space".
For at least three years CompTIA has been working on partnering VARs with Agents to bring about this converged business that could manage the WAN/LAN/IT of the SME space. Does this figure mean that it failed?
My thinking is that Agents are selling more managed services than before because carriers are pushing them down the throats of their partners. So whereas a VAR would have gotten to manage the router or the firewall, now the carrier is doing that. WIth 3G/4G routers, the carriers are handling redundancy (and the router, the box that makes the VAR its money).
VARs used to make money on hosted email and small business servers that are now being sold by the carriers (through agents and VARs).
My one take away is that Agents must be transitioning at least a little to selling managed services and some cloud services.
Feedback from service providers is that the Agents aren't selling these services. What they must mean is that not enough agents are selling these services and not enough deals are coming in - especially when compared to network deals.
One thing for SP's to understand is that it took a long time to get the channel selling as much network as it is. It took about ten years to move it from minutes to T1's. It's taken less time to move it to bigger pipes. However, it has taken more than 10 years to get the channel to sell Hosted VoIP (which rolled out around 2003). So just keep that 10 year cycle in mind.