Rhys Shannon (Westcon-Comstor) and Richard Tomkinson (Cloudten Industries)
“We’re opening millions every year on our infrastructure and platforms just to keep up,” he said. “Distribution as a whole wasn’t doing that 5-10 years ago but now the industry is investing millions to stay at the leading edge of the market.
“We’re moving past the conversation of whether distribution is relevant in the cloud, it clearly is but we understand that we face an ongoing process to remain relevant to our partners.”
The emergence of cloud has transformed distribution, with the role of the vendor also evolving as new players enter the market.
“Vendor selection is a crucial part of our decision making process in the cloud,” Ormesher said. “We examine what vendors are doing in the market and crucially, what they are offering that is different in cloud.
“We have a mix of traditional vendors and an emerging, new breed of vendors. We categorise vendors on technology, billing methods, consumption models and whether they fit in how we deal with our customers.”
Echoing Ormesher’s observations, Kates said billing remains a key part of any vendor offering for the channel in the context of cloud.
“It’s crucial to be able to provide and deliver elastic cost models,” he said. “Partners don’t want vendor lock-in and they want flexible billing which are key deliverables in the cloud.”
In looking ahead, Australian businesses continue to embrace cloud offerings at pace, and while usage maturity levels are low, the hybrid model is seen as the best route to gaining the full benefits of cloud.
On paper, the market opportunity is widening for partners keen to capitalise on the potential of cloud. But as the channel edges towards the skies, they should do so with caution.
“IT is becoming harder,” Steiner observed. “But things getting harder shouldn’t be perceived as a threat, it offers opportunities for the channel. It’s a very competitive landscape and if you look at the world’s largest public cloud provider, they were born selling books.
“And from a customer perspective, cloud has disrupted decision making processes. Businesses have a cloud- first strategy but what does that mean? Does that mean a half, a quarter or all in? Partners that can make sense of this and advise customers along the way will succeed.”
This roundtable was sponsored by Exclusive Networks, Fortinet, StorageCraft, Westcon-Comstor, Veeam and Zerto. Photos by Maria Stefina.
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