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Can the channel ride the second cloud wave?

James Henderson | July 3, 2017
This ARN roundtable outlined the new technologies coming to play and the strategies required for ongoing success.

“But some parts of the channel are pushing hard on hardware, when it might not be relevant anymore. Likewise however, born-in-the-cloud providers are pushing hard on public cloud sales when that equally might not be relevant.

“There’s a balancing act required. Today, customers are less bothered by the technology or the brand under the covers.”

As the forces of cloud, social, mobile and information reconfigure how people work and live, the channel is now aligning with vendors capable of capitalising on such change, addressing the fluctuating demands of the customer in the process.

“If you think about the cloud conversations taking place today, it’s about solutions,” Westcon-Comstor director of cloud and service solutions A/NZ Rhys Shannon added. “The beauty of cloud is in its simplicity but traditional vendors still approach cloud in a complex manner, through the way it is ordered, processed, measured and tracked.

“It’s a complex undertaking and the industry as a whole hasn’t figured out how to make things simple.”

Selling cloud

To create value in the cloud, partners are required to understand business opportunities in new ways, with a need to step away from traditional methods in favour of an outcome- focused approach.

Cornelius Mare (Fortinet) and James King (Fujitsu)
Cornelius Mare (Fortinet) and James King (Fujitsu)

“If customers understand the reason why they are moving to the cloud, then it presents an opportunity to discuss the security aspect of the migration,” Mare advised. “But the channel must be able to articulate the benefit of cloud because customers must understand the growth potential and build a suitable strategy around that.”

As a vendor, Mare said technology manufacturers must work with channel partners to help demonstrate the value of cloud, detailing the pros and cons from an outcome perspective to trigger end- user adoption.

“How can partners help?” he asked. “They can show the compelling reason for businesses to change and adopt cloud because being aware of the risks is key from an education standpoint.”

While cloud uptake is accelerating across all aspects of the market, selling differs from small and medium businesses (SMB) to the enterprise, with business owners seeking advice and guidance along the way.

“As an MSP focusing on the SMB market, ultimately you don’t have a product,” eNerds CEO, Jamie Warner, said. “You’re a service provider that has multiple vendor products that formulate a solution.”

Primarily, Warner said MSPs are selling “piece of mind” in the cloud, rather than pursuing archaic sales processes.

“When you knock on the door and say to the customer that I’m better than the other provider, you’re relying on relationships,” he explained. “Alternatively, you can come in and say that you understand their business and that you can see they are operating in the old way.


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