This article was written by Denis Fouquet, VP EMEA Software and Cloud at Tech Data.
Currently, businesses are shifting their attention to focus on creating more resilience and agility in their operations in order to protect themselves from any future economic shocks. Rapid digital transformation is seen by many as a means to do this, with many moving their operations to the cloud. There is no doubt that this can increase efficiency and support productivity gains now and into the future. Nevertheless, this change is not easy for many businesses – they cannot simply shift to the cloud and continue. This is where channel partners need to work with vendors and systems orchestrators to access the training, funding, and solutions they need to provide support for this move.
However, different partners need varying levels of support in building and growing their cloud business depending on the complementary skills and in house resources they have as they make the transition. Understandably, there is an aura of uncertainty for partners when moving to the cloud. In order to ensure success, partners should keep their customers’ needs at the forefront and deliver reliable support to their customer’s businesses.
Reaching for the cloud
According to research from Gartner, by 2025 over 85% of organisations will be cloud-first. Along with this, it is predicted that businesses will only be able to fully execute their other digital strategies through the cloud. This illustrates the increasing importance of the cloud for business strategy and the widespread transition to the cloud for many businesses.
Moving business to the cloud, using click to run solutions allow partners to consistently meet the needs of their customers. These solutions are focused on reducing costs and improving performance, and ultimately building a secure and reliable IT practice. This gives an opportunity for businesses to continue to grow their portfolio in a more simplified way and offer a broader range of solutions for successful business outcomes. It also means that, having opened up a revenue stream, partners can then work with vendors and systems orchestrators to drive investment into their business and open up training for their employees.
Putting cloud tools on the market
When businesses are moving to the cloud, they will need advanced security practices, data protection, virtual machines, and back-up facilities.
Fortunately, in the market, there are pre-configured, out-of-the-box solutions which partners are able to sell to their customers straight away. These solutions can be tailored to the specific needs of each business, providing an adaptable solution which supports partners as they progress along their cloud journey. Beneficially, this significantly reduces cost, time, and risks for partners as they enter the cloud market.
Understandably many partners are hesitant when entering the market, due to costs, labour, and time required. However, especially for partners who are starting out in their cloud journey, these ready-built cloud solutions allow them to get to market much quicker. As an added benefit, partners can leverage the as-a-service nature of cloud solutions to ensure that both them and their customers are only paying for the computing power that they need at any one time, improving profitability for them and return on investment for their customer.
As well as this, cloud solutions give partners stability and consistency in their service offerings to their customers. If cloud deployments do not work as expected, it puts a strain on customer relationships, needing even more resources and skills to solve the problem. These cloud-based solutions ensure repeatable outcomes, helping to build trust with their customer and unlocking further opportunities.
Pre-built cloud-based solutions can also support more mature partners. These businesses already understand business processes and have the technical knowhow to build their own solutions. However, the common use cases that comprise the commoditised section of the market, for which pre-built solutions exist, are not where they add value. In many instances, a choice is made that their skilled employees are better deployed delivering higher value solutions for their customers. Therefore, these solutions work towards providing increased operational efficiency for businesses.
How to decide on the tool?
Ultimately, choosing the right tool is important. The cloud is awash with an array of different solutions from a multitude of vendors for each business challenge. Here, partners have a role in helping businesses select the tool which is right for them to ensure success in a cloud-enabled market. It is challenging to navigate this alone but at the same time this provides immense value for businesses. Nevertheless, this requires knowledge and expertise across a variety of vendors and technologies.