Atul Damani, Chief Technology Strategist, explains how our insight, experience and innovation create real value in the channel for both vendors and partners.
My role is to look at opportunities within our industry and align with our go to market strategy, and to look at technology trends. For example, in security, data centres, or networking. Also we ask: who are the vendors we should align with, and which vendors can we up-sell with? What are different routes to market, what are the merger and acquisitions opportunities and, finally, what are the data analytics that we can use to help the channel grow and expand their businesses?
From CAPEX to OPEX
In terms of market pressures, we are seeing a huge shift towards a recurring revenue model. Sales used to be predominately CAPEX based, but we are now seeing a move towards OPEX-based sales – slowly but surely we are moving to a subscription-centric world, whether that’s hardware, software or cloud. In turn, this means that our role in the chain requires us to do a lot more back-office operations on behalf of our partners, so we now offer a broad range of services from education, software services or even financial enablement.
More and more end users now put cloud first. Particularly in the UCC business, where all vendors are refocusing on a much different sales approach. Vendors used to sell boxes and services around them, but the reality is that they may no longer have the services that true cloud vendors offer, and they cannot sell boxes on a recurring revenue basis.
On the technical side, we are seeing continued innovation across the board. For example, in security we track 140 security categories to ensure that we are ahead of the curve. Security is becoming mature, but now we have the issue of ‘zero trust’ entering the frame. SD-WAN, meanwhile, is replacing the use of hard routers, while collaboration is moving to the cloud, along with lots of other technologies.
So for our partners that don’t have significant scale, they help them keep up with the evolving market. Our role is to advise which vendors can help, so we do a lot of research there. These changes offer both challenges and opportunities for our partners.
Challenges to opportunities
Our partners are facing challenges on the technology, go-to-market and operational fronts – our role is to help them overcome those challenges.
On the transactional side, our platform is optimised to help our partners and allow them to have cash flow to keep their business moving, regardless of the payment model and solution. The single transactional engine delivers a smooth operational experience, whether buying physical or in the cloud, or a hybrid product. It’s is a key advantage we have over competitors.
It’s important to note that we are a hybrid distributor, not just cloud. A lot of our competitors have siloed their cloud business, which we believe is not necessarily the best route for our partners. We integrate it all into our central solutions business, so that we can provide the best possible solution, regardless of the delivery model.
Also, it’s difficult when revenue becomes recurring. How do you pay your sales guys, for example, or how does the customer pay you? We provide a three-minute snapshot of the questions our partners should be asking their customers. Our platform provides all these back-office functions for our partners, which allows them to a keep their business moving, whether buying upfront or cloud-based sales basis.
A platform built for success
We are continually expanding our platform, and investing in building a successful go to market strategy for our partners that will allow them to sell a plethora of cloud products within an agency model – which is the predominant model moving across from the US to Europe in 2019, which will help them pivot to the hybrid world better.
On the technical side, we help our partners to keep up with technology trends in a fast-moving market. Our partners may not have enough people or enough access to information, which prevents them from having intelligent conversations with their end users. We analyse and share the trends that we are seeing, and inform our partners of the questions they should be asking their customers. Essentially, positioning the right technologies and solutions to our partners.