We all are familiar with Windstream. For years, the company entrenched itself in the markets for voice and data network communications, managed and other streaming services. Now, on the Windstream Enterprise side, the value of the channel is about to become truly unlocked. Windstream Enterprise is a premium communications and managed services provider with an ongoing network of 170,000 fiber miles. Its lineup of circuits has given way to an additional method of operation, whereby it helps its multi-location, enterprise customer base reshape their own individual networks – and businesses – in the process. “We’ve transformed the business over time to selling technology and managed services,” said Rob Westervelt, Windstream Enterprise’s SVP and head of channel. “But our really big focus right now is on SD-WAN, secure access service edge (SASE) – which is networking security focused – and our OfficeSuite UC hosted product.” By entering the fray as a channelintegrated company in recent years, Windstream Enterprise has been able to pool its direct and indirect salesforces, alike. Under this model, partners bring about their own opportunity, with the company engaging the direct-sales organization to win those opportunities. Then, in turn, they work with the partners. “There’s a lot of value in those prospects,” added Westervelt. As it moves forward, Windstream Enterprise is attempting to migrate their customers from legacy TDM and other services to a new breed of technologies. This attempt is to answer the call of those looking for a trusted partner to help transform their business. As such, Windstream Enterprise’s greatest potential may come in the integrated design aimed at eliminating conflict, winning customers and better managing their accounts. And that’s where Windstream Enterprise’s recently relaunched WE Connect Partners portal may be a tremendous asset. With this portal, associates gain access to new tiers of support. They can view critical base reporting and client account management aspects, open trouble tickets and locate other custom-crafted Windstream resources. “It’s going to be huge for our channel partners,” said Westervelt. “In the next 30 to 45 days, a partner will be able to go in, price SD-WAN, SASE, OfficeSuite and even circuits for any account, 25 sites and below.” The key, from the company’s view, is to continuously increase partner self sufficiency. “Many of our partners like to do things, themselves,” noted Westervelt. “We give them the ability to go in, get quotes, press a button and watch it become a DocuSign for the customer.” Over time, Windstream Enterprise hopes to present an alternative that is otherwise not available: instant visibility into in- and out-of-term accounts. Then, there are the financial incentives. Customer and partner credits are each unlocked, with the latter having no impact on partner commissions. Similar to many companies, Windstream Enterprise has had to adapt over time in the face of realworld cybersecurity and even SASErelated issues. But why, exactly, is this so important? Most attribute it to critical data no longer just residing on some remote, largely inaccessible data center. With much of today’s workforce being hybrid and remote, employees are often geographically spread. Pair that with bring-your-own-device options, and those security risks become all-themore pressing. “Now, people are accessing the cloud for Office 365 or Salesforce or whatever,” said Westervelt. “It opens up the CIO’s mind to potential security breaches. SD-WAN and SASE are where it’s going – you have to secure all of those endpoints.” From Windstream Enterprise’s perspective, these and many other considerations have become clutch for most organizations. “SASE is securing the edge, because it no longer houses the data center,” he continued. “That’s where we’re going, and that’s where we’re starting to see all of those big deals coming from.” o For more information on Windstream Enterprise, visit www. or call (800) 600-5050. PROFILE Rob Westervelt, Windstream Enterprise By Brady Hicks CHANNEL MANAGEMENT Windstream Enterprise Shifts Perspective with New Focus on the Channel 40 CHANNELV ISION | SEPTEMBER - OCTOBER 2022