Build, Buy, or Broker? Partners tackle changing technological demands


Two partners, two different approaches to growth.

How do partners provide a single “choke throat” in an era of expanding and increasingly complex business technology needs? Or is it even possible?

Computing, telecommunications, and printing have existed as separate industries for half a century, but their boundaries have blurred in recent decades. And although the partners have fiercely debated the desirability of convergence, the answer is clear.

Mike Onystok from TBI

“It’s converged; it happened, ”said Mike Onystok, senior vice president of operations at TBI. Onystok, who comes from the traditional side of telecom services brokerage, said traditionally, IT-focused partners have been selling through TBI for a long time. But he sees an influx of these partners adding carrier services and connectivity-oriented technology to their portfolios.

“VARs and MSPs are coming more than ever to our part of the channel and taking advantage of operator services, unified communications, security and other technologies to better provide their customers with the right solutions,” he said. he declares.

But how does a partner evolve his practice to offer offers that he has never offered before? Channel Futures interviewed two partners on their journey towards convergence.

Partner 1: Investments pay off

Marco Technologies is on the 2021 MSP 501 list as one of the world’s most successful Managed IT Service Providers. However, the company offers more than managed computing and has not always offered managed computing. Matt Kanaskie, vice president of sales for Marco, said his company has been a part of convergence for a long time. Since the 1970s, in fact.

Kanaskie, Matt_Marco

Matt Kanaskie of Marco Technologies

Marco’s founders actually started it as a typewriter company in the 1970s. The company sold furniture and office supplies in retail stores. Then the world of technology evolved, and Marco evolved alongside it. First, typewriters went digital, and then copiers began to connect to networks. As a result, Marco started a practice of networking and data infrastructure.

The evolution continued. Marco adopted VoIP and expanded into the audiovisual industry. The company has implemented an IT service management practice. She acquired a technology consulting company and entered the traditional channel of connectivity agents. Kanaskie joined the company six years ago to launch the company’s cloud voice practice. More recently, the company has invested in its safety game.

Throw in a partner nickname, and Marco probably fits the description. MSP, MSSP, VAR, system integrator, telecom agent, copier reseller; Marco does.

“Once something got connected to IP and became a challenge for the IT department, we extended the services to this practice,” Kanaskie said.


Kanaskie said Marco has grown not only to provide new technology, but to provide different ways for customers to consume technology. Some customers just want the partner to sell them the solution. Others want it to be designed. Others want implementation or management. Consider Marco was already negotiating voice services when Kanaskie launched the company’s cloud voice practice.

“Instead of saying, ‘Hey, let’s go negotiate,’ we built it. But we also do brokerage, ”Kanaskie said. “There are so many options and niches that if you want to be a consultant to the end user customer, you have to represent what is available to them in the market, not just what you are trying to get them to swallow. . “

While Marco has built new practices to seize new market opportunities, changes often stem from customer demands. For example, the company bought a telecommunications agent after customers asked them for connectivity advice.

“Customers were like, ‘Hey, can you take care of this telecom business? You already make my phone system. You already make my firewall. Can you help me with the Comcast stuff? ‘ Kanaskie said.

But what is the ultimate goal of adopting new practices? Is it just to stay loyal to existing customers?

Kanaskie said the opportunity encompasses much more than that.

“This opened up a cross-selling opportunity for our part of the expanding portfolio. The momentum inevitably grew. There was no reason not to do it other than the pressure on the finances, ”he said.

The challenge

And it was really a tension. Kanaskie said Marco’s IT division has taken years to break even.

“It took an unwavering commitment, knowing the market would come,” he said.

He said Marco had the hardest time …

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