Hybrid cloud is bringing change to the channel
The right partnerships can bridge the skills gaps says Simon Hendy, channel manager at Pulsant
For many in the industry, hybrid cloud is a best of both worlds solution. But in the background its continuing popularity is causing some disquiet among certain IT resellers who are now being forced to rethink their business models.
While some channel businesses are more than capable of covering both cloud and hardware, there are others that are being pushed outside their comfort zone. This group is made up from businesses on both sides of the spectrum; the traditional reseller accustomed to straightforward hardware deals – and those newcomers that have made the cloud their selling point. Each are having to adapt as the landscape around them changes.
Challenges for both sides
It is fair to say that many traditional hardware channel members have struggled with how to position cloud-based solutions such as software as a service (SaaS). This is because they have been used to running their business by calculating margins on a physical product, whereas with the cloud they are required to undertake consumption modelling where certain assumptions have to be made. For them, selling the cloud is tantamount to licensing fresh air.
Life isn’t much easier for the cloud natives. Let’s take a solution such as Azure Stack. These resellers are canny enough to know they must include it in their portfolio, but are put off by having to deal with the hardware side of it. They don’t have existing relationships with hardware manufacturers and will even find the logistics of getting hardware to site difficult. No doubt, they would rather just sell the services that sit upon it.
Can’t stop market direction
The market in general is gravitating towards a hybrid existence, and hybrid models are becoming more attractive for a variety of reasons. One of the largest catalysts is the existence of increasingly stringent industry regulations that require organisations to be aware of where their data is hosted, and that permissions and security are in place to safeguard that data. The one getting all the press is, of course, the impending EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – due to come into force May 2018. From then, firms that fall foul of a data breach face a potential fine of €20m or 4% of annual turnover fines (whichever is greater).
Vendors are using this to market hybrid as the future and the channel needs to take notice, at the risk of being left behind. The cloud is important, and the opex over capex argument is a strong one; but with companies wanting to recover some of their assets back on premise, the popularity of a hybrid environment shows no sign of abating.
Safety in numbers
We’re all aware of the value of partnerships, especially in the IT world. This is the time when a partnership with a services provider could provide the missing link – whether it be the hardware or cloud expertise that’s needed. There’s no need to miss out on the opportunities when there are those with the industry expertise, knowledge and resources ready to help.
So, with this in mind, perhaps the channel should think again about Azure Stack. It is a seamless, single development and delivery platform that will allow them to deliver Azure services from their own datacentre and do so in a way that is consistent with the public Azure that they will be used to. Services can be developed in public Azure and seamlessly moved over to Azure Stack and vice versa, saving time, expense and making operations a lot more consistent.
New revenue streams
The channel can’t deny the growing momentum of hybrid cloud and more and more customers are going to be wanting to move to this type of environment. To ignore this is to turn away real opportunities to open up new and sustainable revenue streams.
Rather than being a barrier, Azure Stack could be just the solution to help the channel make the changes to their business they need – and form new partnerships where there are skills gaps to be filled.
Why swim against the tide? The hybrid cloud opportunities are there – and so is the expertise needed to open up these new markets. Hybrid cloud adoption means you can address the needs of your customers, explore new market opportunities, add new revenue streams and take advantage of our industry knowledge and exclusive resources.