AVANT Communications doesn’t sell equipment. Everything the company does is OpEx. As a result, AVANT has thousands of Trusted Advisors – VARs, MSPs, and other IT provider organizations that aide end users in setting up and managing their IT infrastructures. An AVANT Trusted Advisor plugs into AVANT as the enablement platform giving them intellectual properties, tools for access to navigate the differences between providers, resources to better understand solutions on the market, training, and, now, the AVANT Analytics research initiative announced in early June 2019.
Empowering End Users Through Trusted Advisors
The benefit of working with an IT provider is clear enough – they’re vendor agnostic (or should be). Instead of buying direct from an organization that will always recommend its own products, an IT provider will offer the solutions that best fits your organization’s needs.
The benefit of an AVANT Trusted Advisor, according to the company, is that they have the resources from AVANT to help sift through the myriad solutions and find the best product at the best price for their customers.
AVANT Analytics represents an entirely new benefit to the company’s Trusted Advisor program. AVANT Analytics will aid Trusted Advisors and their business customers in understanding industry trends around emerging new technologies in cloud, colocation, connectivity, SD-WAN, security, UCaaS and more.
AVANT will analyze real-world insights from thousands of annual IT business purchasing decisions and conduct primary research to deliver regular reports on the state of disruption in the industry in the form of studies, papers, blogs, podcasts and briefings.
“AVANT Analytics and research will be funneled through the Trusted Advisors,” says Drew Lydecker, President and Co-Founder of AVANT Communications. “AVANT can help end users find the right Trusted Advisors as we represent hundreds and hundreds of firms.”
Disrupting the Traditional Research Model
AVANT pulls from an impressive database that will be difficult for any other survey provider to pull from. The company represents almost one hundred carriers around the world, from enterprises companies like CenturyLink and Masergy to the disruptors and SMBs providing similar services.
In the data center market they represent Equinix, CoreSite, Telehouse, and over 1,600 other facilities around the world.
Over one hundred cloud companies providing every acronym you can imagine – IaaS, DRaaS, UCaaS, CCaaS, BaaS, and so on. Cybersecurity companies like Trustwave and Alert Logic, and many more.
“When you represent the whole industry and study the ins and outs of all these different service providers – they’re vastly different from each other,” says Lydecker. “We’ve challenged traditional research. We’re looking at it completely different.”
AVANT has hired Ken Presti, a veteran industry analyst previously associated with IDC, his own agency, and other prominent channel consultancies, to spearhead the initiative.
Presti specializes in combining empirical data, his own experience, and the perspectives of industry leaders in a way that fully illustrates technology trends, business model evolution, likely
outcomes, and strategies for success. Presti and AVANT plan to disrupt the way typical research is done around IT implementation patterns – focusing on real-time information.
“Traditional research has been around for a long time. Analysts take a talk about verticals, industries, providers, and it takes a long time [gather information] in the way they always have,” says Lydecker. “AVANT has thousands of sellers around the world that are constantly talking to enterprises. We see deals in real time.
For example, a recent real-life organization signed a deal with RingCentral through an AVANT Trusted Advisor for 30,000 seats. AVANT will monitor why they chose that particular provider, how the seats are deployed, how satisfied the customer is, and more.
AVANT then harvests that data in real-time to provide analysis of the success of the project.
Now multiply that by every deal done through AVANT trusted advisors, for every service that AVANT represents – you’ll see that AVANT is pulling from a huge data set with valuable information in real time.
They can then deliver that information to Trusted Advisors in a manner more timely than traditional research allows, because AVANT has access to the data as it is created.
“We’re seeing more next-generation opportunities than anyone else We’re harvesting all that big data. We have a whole research team, our engineering team, that are constantly writing reports, grading providers, talking about strengths and weaknesses,” says Lydecker.
“We’re going to turn around and hand that to the Trusted Advisor Movement, so that they’re in front of the customer giving them every bit of information that exists.
“If they’re big fans of Gartner, IDC, Forrester – that’s great! I would highly advise to look at AVANT Analytics as well, which is real-time where the market is going.”
How do end users benefit from this program? Hold Trusted Advisors accountable for the information you know they have, and make them prove their knowledge and business intelligence before signing on the dotted line.
A rising tide raises all ships, and the more information your provider has, the better you’ll be for it.
The Research That Started It All
In many ways, the inspiration for AVANT Analytics came from AVANT’s 2019 State of Disruption Report. The report surveyed 300 enterprise technology leaders at the manager level and above who lead tech purchasing decisions.
It reveals the state of digital transformation efforts, the role that Trusted Advisors and other third-parties play in the process, and the rate at which disruptive technologies are replacing legacy tools. This is the same type of information that AVANT Analytics will deliver to Trusted Advisors in real-time as it continues to grow.
Let’s take a look at some of the findings:
Digital Research is a Matter of Business Policy
- 85% of tech leaders polled have a plan in place
- Manufacturing (93%), Financial Services (95%), and Ecommerce (78%) are the industries that most have digital transformation plans in place
- While companies with revenues of $100M-$1B (93%), $10M-$100M (85%), and $1M-$10M (65%) have plans in place, extreme confidence in that plan is relatively lower (47%, 40%, and 20% respectively)
Trusted Advisors Utilized by Companies More Often
- 71% of organizations polled use Trusted Advisors for Cloud-Based Computing Services
- 59% use them for Cybersecurity
- 55% use Trusted Advisors for Data Network Infrastructure
- 51% use Trusted Advisors for SaaS Applications
Talent and Budget Drive Fear of Transformation
- 32% of leaders are not confident in digital transformation initiatives due to lack of internal IT resources
- 24% are not confident due to lack of internal IT expertise
- 24% are not confident due to lack of transformation-specific budget
Adoption of New IT Technology Varies in Growth*
- SD-WAN adoption is experiencing more growth with $1-$10M organizations (16%) than with organizations >$1B (8%)
- MPLS Expansion sees large growth with organizations >$1B (53%), and steady growth with $1M-$10M (26%), $10M-$100M and $100M-$1B (35% each)
- Cloud Adoption highest among organizations with revenue $10M-$100M (12%)
- Physical Servers most popular among organizations with revenue $100M-$1B (26%)
- UCaaS Adoption most popular among organizations with revenue $10M-$100M (14%)
* Note: Percentages in this category measured in RDI, which represents year-over-year shifts
The End User Angle
Clearly AVANT Analytics will give Trusted Advisors a leg-up on competition. Providing real-time insight into which services are working best for organizations of all sizes is a resource that could very well prove invaluable to the market. The question is how that benefits end users and tech managers.
The simple answer is that the benefit lies in partnering with these Trusted Advisors. We’ve written plenty of articles at TechDecisions about choosing the right partner for your technology needs.
More and more organizations are utilizing IT providers to aide and assist in setting up and managing the IT infrastructure. What an AVANT Trusted Advisor now has is more data to better suit those goals.
I’m not saying that our audience should only go with AVANT Trusted Advisors. What I’m saying is that our audience should hold those Trusted Advisors accountable as the program continues to evolve.
When vetting a potential partner, if they are an AVANT Trusted Advisor, you can now ask them for actionable data insights that back up whatever technology they recommend for your organization.
If your partner has that information at their disposal, then you have every right to ask them to present that information to help make their business case.
Remember, IT providers work for your organization. You pay them to provide the best service for your organizational needs. I’m personally very excited about the AVANT Analytics program – if it works the way they say, it provides an incredible amount of business intelligence.
However, I’m excited only as far as that intelligence is used to further the needs of the end user organizations that partner with Trusted Advisors.