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Q&A: CenturyLink and the Modern Telco

By Lynn Haber
May 26, 2017 - Article

Lynn HaberIf it seems like there’s big news coming from CenturyLink every month lately, that’s because there is. It appears to have started with the news of the telecom’s intended $34 billion acquisition of Level 3, announced last October, and confirmation, weeks later, of the sale of its data centers and colocation business to BC Partners for $2.25 billion in cash.

CenturyLink executives have been vocal about the 80-year-old company’s strategic and aggressive transformation. Today, CenturyLink’s message is that the company will continue to be the one-stop solution for the hybrid IT needs for its customers and remains committed to a wide range of IT services, including managed hosting, cloud and network, as well as colocation, through a strategic relationship with BC Partners.

This year, the acquisition of Seal Consulting, a SAP solutions provider for enterprisewide business and technology needs, will add about 4,000 SAP consultants to CenturyLink’s roster. This acquisition, CenturyLink stated, illustrates its commitment to expanding its IT and managed services business; further enhancing its application transformation capabilities and expanding its commitment to the SAP ecosystem and to providing integrated application/infrastructure solutions.

And with that, the company revamped its Alliance program, in February. Expansion of its Alliance program was designed to better serve enterprise customers with advanced communications and IT solutions. It also offers channel partners four routes to partnership: the Channel Alliance; Software Alliance; Systems Integrator Alliance; and Strategic Partner Alliance.

CenturyLink's Gahn LaneWe caught up with Gahn Lane, vice president, software industry at CenturyLink at Dell EMC World 2017, and talked about CenturyLink’s makeover, the channel and where they're going from here.

Channel Partners: Let’s talk about changes at CenturyLink.

Gahn Lane:  Like many of the leaders at CenturyLink, I’ve been here less than a year. Most of us are fairly new because the company is reinventing itself. They recruited a lot of folks with a background in channel, telecom, software, distribution, etc. We’re a great company but a sleepy southern telco and we don’t want to be that anymore.

We have a tremendous amount of intellectual capital that we brought into the company, and it’s not to replace people, it’s to invest and inject enthusiasm – particularly for the channel.

When the deals with Seal and Level 3 close, we’re going to be the biggest B2B player in North America and one of the biggest in the world. So when you think about that – and look at our competitors – they’re...

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