Cloud is the new normal – and it’s a new normal that offers huge opportunities for resellers, system integrators and service providers.
That’s the message from rhipe’s Stephen Parker, who says while many channel partners have concerns about their ability to differentiate when selling generic vendor cloud products, that’s far from the reality.
It’s an issue Parker knows well. rhipe itself was ‘born in the cloud’ or as Parker likes to say ‘our DNA is cloud’.
The cloud channel company was appointed a Tier 2 Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider wholesaler earlier this year, enabling it to offer Microsoft’s online solutions via public cloud, on top of its existing portfolio of partner hosted and private cloud licensing programs.
rhipe also offers a range of other cloud services, including IBM SoftLayer infrastructure and solutions from VMware, RedHat, Intel Security, Citrix, Veeam, Trend Micro, DataCore and Zimbra.
“The cloud, far from creating a vanilla world where we all look the same, actually opens up massive opportunities for small and medium businesses and for organisations delivering to much larger customers,” Parker says.
He says cloud is making it possible for the channel to provide technology to small and medium companies – the bulk of the Australian market – that they could previously only dream about, as they were out of reach financially.
But, Parker says, cloud does require a major mindshift for resellers.
“In the new world, you don’t buy a product. You buy a tool that helps you deliver a service.”
For rhipe, one of those tools is the Microsoft CSP program. “While we are focusing heavily this year on CSP, it is just one part of the rounded offering we can provide.
“You may need other services, you may need to do something with SPLA in terms of building your own hosted data centre, you may need to complement the core products you get from CSP with other offerings such as around security, with Trend Micro or Intel Security, or you may want to offer a hosted workspace or desktop, which might be Citrix.
He says in the past the technology sector was driven by knowledge moving from the vendor to reseller to customer.
“Now, instead of vendors driving conversations based on products, you’ve got customers who are more technology-aware, who know what technology is capable of even if they don’t understand the detail, and who know the outcome they want and what they’re trying to achieve in their business,” Parker says. “And they want you to offer a service that delivers that.”
Parker says that means the focus shifts from convincing a customer about a product and its value before you sell it to them, to showing them the realised value of a service.
With that in mind, Parker says its critical for resellers to focus on customer outcomes.
“It is important to have ‘whole of business’ conversations,” he says. “If you’re coming at it from an outcome end you will have lots of conversations that have nothing to do with technology. And you need to think about embracing that.”
Parker says those conversations can open the doors for more business for resellers who can see technological solutions to business issues.
“CSP creates the opportunity for the channel to embed Microsoft’s first party cloud offerings within the context of a wider managed service offering.
“Just because you’re selling potentially generic services, does not mean you have a generic offering. You bring your unique talents, your unique knowledge and your unique customer base to deliver solutions that meet the needs of the market,” Parker says.
Parker, and rhipe, have a simple goal: they want to talk to partners who are excited or concerned about the opportunity and risks around cloud.
“Yes, we have a smorgasbord of opportunities we can ultimately offer them with CSP and other services, and we’re bringing new services on all the time.
“But primarily we want to just have people to call us and talk about what they want to do, so we can offer the support which we are uniquely positioned to do.”
Whatever path resellers chose to tread, Parker says ‘rhipe will help you find your profitable cloud’.
To find out more about rhipe's CSP offering click here.