Richard O’Brien – Technical director, Triangle Computer Services
VENDORS & THE CLOUD
The most difficult thing from a traditional business partner perspective is that most cloud vendors have a publicly published price list, so you have a defined percentage margin that increases with the larger volume of cloud you sell. In the past vendors sold you the hardware, storage and software, now they sell it as a service and expect you to build a service on top of that.
We see the consulting process in front of migration to cloud as an opportunity, along with the ongoing management. Most vendors support the partner staying between them and the customer. The partner stays engaged because of its local knowledge but has to find somewhere else to get the margin. The base offering is very clearly defined so there’s a lot less flexibility, which means it’s in the partner’s interest to add and wrap services around it.
For example, there are a unique set of requirements around DR (disaster recovery). A vendor can come up with a generic solution but it still needs local engagement with the customer to deliver the full stack.
Fairness in terms of arbitrating when dealing with a cloud provider is important. Recently I was at an event where a small customer asked ‘’what clout do I have with the provider?’’.
A business partner has a consolidated view of customers, so you have a bit more leverage, especially if you know how easy it is to move your customers between clouds. Partners can provide a multi-cloud portfolio with the tools to help customers move quickly.
Distributors are being proactive in this space in offering portals and configurations tools. They’re taking on a consolidating role with a one stop shop to what a cloud solution might look like that covers all the moving parts from a pricing perspective.
When it comes to managing cloud business, some distributors have been quite proactive in supporting partners. They give you a drop down menu where you can see four or five different providers, look at the price per virtual machine, location, bandwidth and I will give you a bottom line price.
But it’s not about the initial cloud footprint, it’s about growing that and adding extra capacity and solutions.