Windstream Channel Partners: Are Your Customers’ Ready For AI?

by Mike Brennan
May 16, 2018

OK gang, AI is here. Time to embrace it.

According to technology author and speaker Bernard Marr, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most transformative forces of our times.”

By this time, I’d think most people in our business (especially those in the channel) know this. However, if you’re trapped in a perverse Alfred Hitchcock-like dystopian future, there is no cause for alarm. AI isn’t about replacing humans. AI, rather, is about augmenting humans, making us more insightful and efficient, able to do more for less, all while getting continuously better through successive learning.

Remember this thought for later (there may be a test!).

So, should Channel Partners be talking AI?

If you do find yourself asking if AI is relevant to your customer engagement story, consider this. Last year a study by BCG published with the MIT Sloan Management Review reported “three-quarters of executives believe that AI will enable their companies to move into new businesses. And almost 85% believe AI will allow their companies to obtain or sustain a competitive advantage.”

In other words, your customers are already using or considering leveraging AI, making the answer to my question quite simple: YES, It’s extremely relevant!

The bigger question you should be asking, and understanding, is “Why it is relevant?”

I’ll address that by saying, AI implementations are not without dependencies, most critically so, the pathways through which AI communicates. That’s right: the network. Being that AI is enabled by big data, as data consumption needs grow, the needs for reliable infrastructure and bandwidth increases along with it.

And not just any network. AI requires one that provides:

  • Performance and cost optimized connectivity to increase operational efficiency, with high value at lower total cost of ownership (TCO) than traditional networks
  • High availability, redundancy, and flexible bandwidth with unparalleled performance through more granular levels of visibility and control
  • Greater business agility and responsiveness – doing business at the speed of business

So while AI makes businesses more efficient, it is highly dependent on data (and lots of it), which in turn requires a responsive, stable, reliable and agile network infrastructure. Therein lies an essential message for everyone in the channel today…

SD-WAN enables AI

Like AI, SD-WAN frees your network from limitations, gets more efficient and intelligent over time, and puts the power of knowledge in your hands to make better decisions.

But also like AI, SD-WAN is not plug and play since there are no current standards. It can be far more complex than creating and managing traditional private networks (especially at the start) as you have to integrate your private network securely and redundantly in the hybrid environment. It also takes a certain level of skill to design, deliver, implement and manage an innovative cloud driven network solution.

#WEenabletheNetwork

WE implore a critical skill that is often lost in today’s selling world; listening. We listen not only to our customers, but to you, our trusted channel partner advisors. We understand that the network paradigm has shifted and that your customers now require a different kind of network. Which in turn requires a different kind of provider and partner.

And as your Partner in the Channel, we are here to help you succeed in transforming the network conversations you have with your customers, and to guide you, as well as your customers, through the ever evolving landscape. Such as utilizing a fully-managed SD-WAN solution like our own, access agnostic (over the top) Windstream Enterprise SD-WAN Concierge, which includes an unprecedented, one of a kind proprietary management portal/Orchestrator experience with exclusive features such as Customized Naming and Tagging.

In short: the advent of AI adds further emphasis to the fact that the network revolution is upon us WE are here to serve as a pathfinder to help lead our partners and their customers through it. So, my friends, shift your focus, elevate your horizon line, and embrace the new day, because when it comes to networks to power AI, we’ve got your back!

Now get out there and ask your customers – Is your network AI ready?

Then contact your Windstream Enterprise Channel Manager or Channel.Development@windstream.com to learn how #WEwinTogether!

Happy hunting!