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What the future holds for channel players in the cloud

Aug 25, 2020 7:19:32 AM David Newbould Cloud Marketplace, IT Channel, Technical Skills

Over the last few years, the things I’ve learnt from speaking to customers about how their businesses are transitioning to cloud have been so insightful. Now, these lessons are needed more than ever. However, the ever-increasing number of SaaS and PaaS providers has resulted in increasing support for products and services. This also highlights a paradox found with the concept of cloud. Simplicity is one of the main selling points of cloud, yet it can also become very complex as end users seek to work faster, smarter and cheaper.


The cloud skills challenge

Such complexities present a challenge for our resellers-and-service-providers who are also dealing with a skills shortage during this time. As partners transition from servicing on-premise to cloud solutions, the skills required change. For example, instead of possessing skills aligned to managing the networking, compute or storage in vendor silos, in cloud environments individuals need to understand all of these areas. Developing teams with this broad knowledge base can be a difficult transition for those who are deeply embedded in a specific technology, which is why partners need to turn to the rest of the channel for help.


Encouraging innovation

One way that distributors can facilitate this transformation is by offering technical support from crack teams of hardcore techies to support teams within organisations and partners all over the region. The topics can range from leading application specific workloads to laaS platforms. With training, certification and on-hand support and advice, distributors can increase value for partners as both the reseller channel and distribution evolution.


What is a distributor?

With that being said, the “distributor” term is an archaic term. Whilst it is true that the need to shift large amounts of inventory across the world, in the Cloud & Software markets, we have moved from hardware & software integration to Aggregation.

We are set to see a shift towards Orchestration in the future. The rise of cloud solution practices within the distributor environment is an example of this, with distributors enabling their channel partners to build out their business with pre-configured & packaged cloud solutions consisting of numerous vendors and technologies. One of the primary advantages for partners in this situation is the elimination of in-house development costs whilst increasing the time to market. At a time when the channel is trying to reduce costs to drive growth, the benefit of being able to open up new opportunities without incurring development costs is a huge advantage.


Back to the future

There was constant talk of disruption and change in the business world even before the pandemic completely changed the economic and societal rules by which we live. For many, adapting to this new reality has meant investing in automation. Cloud platforms that are integrated with a greater ecosystem of support and solutions will aid partners who want to achieve flexibility, as well as bridge the gap between their knowledge and their customer’s needs. For both the channel and its customers, both the need for and the pace of change have greatly increased as a result of the disruption to economic outlooks and operating models. However, by supporting each other and sharing our innovations we can realise a more stable future for both the channel and the end customers.

David Newbould

Written by David Newbould

Director of Cloud Strategy, EMEA, Tech Data


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