Qwest’s Backdoor Enterprise Strategy

Qwest , a Denver-based regional telecom carrier, has formed a division to strengthen ties with systems integrators.

The aim is to use specialists that already have relationships with large businesses and government agencies to get Qwest’s voice and high-speed data services before more potential buyers.

Howard Seeger has been named regional vice president of the new division, and he will report directly to Clifford S. Holtz, Qwest’s executive vice president of business markets. The unit will work with its systems integrators through the entire salesprocess — pursuing, bidding, winning and delivering services.

A Qwest spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

In a statement, Holtz said, “”The market for communications services continues to grow and a rising percentage of that business is going to systems integrators, so we have designed our new division around the integrators’ business models.”

In deals won through intergrators, Qwest will be responsible for all voice and data services to their systems integrator partners.

Carrie Lewis, a senior analyst at The Yankee Group, said Qwest’s strategy is a wise one for service providers. It will provide a foot in the door as well as the benefits of a sales approach that considers the entire corporate system.

In a report last fall, the Yankee Group, said too often Qwest salespeople led with Internet protocol services, a tactic that might have worked in the late 1990s, but not after the economy slowed a year later. The National Institute of Health and State of Montana are among Qwest current large customers.

The company also offers virtual private network , Web hosting, call routing and other services for large companies in 14 states in the Midwest and West.

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