By Dan Baldwin, Editor
Does it make sense to fire the people who know how your business critical technology solutions work in a multi-vendor environment?
You’re right, it doesn’t, so file this this news story under “How-does-that-help-your-customers?”
In getting ready to attend the Managed and Hosted Video Summit, I’ve been researching the electronic security industry to find other telecom agents, IT consultants, business phone systems vendors or equipment VARs who provide video surveillance or other sorts of loss prevention, security or asset protection solutions to their business customers.
That’s when I ran across this news story published in Security Systems News that discusses how AT&T purchased a security monitoring technology company named Xanboo and then decided to discontinue Xanboo’s reseller program.
Security Systems News quotes a March 31 letter from AT&T general attorney Meredith Mays as follows. (I added the bold red emphasis for dramatic flair).
“AT&T is currently in the process of integrating Xanboo into AT&T’s portfolio of services and affiliated companies. At this time, AT&T anticipates modifying or eliminating current Xanboo products and services and winding down its existing processes. The purpose of this letter is to notify you that your agreement shall be terminated effective as of midnight, July 4, 2011.” The letter tells dealers “you should not market or sell Xanboo service after July 5, 2011.”
Happy Independence Day!
I don’t know what percentage of Xanboo’s sales success can be attributed to Xanboo’s value added resellers (VARs), telecom agents and integrator dealers, but but I can’t imagine that the Xanboo’s dealers are all that excited about AT&T’s decision to cut them off from an important component to their packaged security solutions.
As well, I can’t imagine future Xanboo/AT&T customers are going to be inspired with confidence when the integrators with all the experience installing the Xanboo solutions are no longer available to consult with.
Why Should Business Customers Care About AT&T Firing Systems Integrators?
It’s my humble opinion that this action shows that AT&T continues to embrace the old ”Ma Bell” philosophy that states, “If we don’t make it – our customers don’t need it”. That attitude certainly works for AT&T shareholders – but most AT&T customers I know use their AT&T services and systems in a way that interconnects with non-AT&T telecom and technology vendor’s systems.
Is AT&T helping their current and future customers by firing the experts that know how to integrate AT&T’s newly purchased systems to other vendor’s systems? I don’t think so.
Maybe AT&T is developing a new “Ma Bell” philosophy that states, “If we don’t understand what we’re selling our customers – that’s our customer’s problem, not ours!”
Call a Telecom Agent Before Contracting for an AT&T Service or System
If the AT&T service or system you’re thinking about contracting for is your best choice, a professional telecom agent will be the first person to agree with you and support your vision.
Before signing on the dotted line with AT&T though you need to have an objective telecom industry systems integrator share with you the pros and cons of how that AT&T solution integrates with the other non-AT&T vendor services and equipment systems your envisioned solution requires.
A professional telecom agent will help you envision and work through the challenges before your solution stops working half way through your implementation.
Some of the bigger “Ma Bell” type phone companies are happy to suggest, “You don’t need no stinkin’ consultant – we’re the phone company – we know what’s best for you!”
And then after the solution fails to work - that same phone company will say, “Pay us now – you signed a contract – the contract doesn’t say our service works with other vendors – it just says you have to pay us or we’ll sue you!”
It’s best to work with phone companies and technology vendors who like to work with independent telecom agents and integrators because multi-vendor technology solutions like managed services, physical security, monitoring, fire, intrusion, CCTV, closed circuit television or access control require multi-vendor technology experts like telecom agents and telecom systems integrators.
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