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​Reseller News Roundtable - Unlocking channel value from Cloud alliances

​Reseller News Roundtable - Unlocking channel value from Cloud alliances

If distributors are to gain traction in a cloud focused channel economy, a new market approach is required.

In association with rhipe, Reseller News hosted key vendors and partners to discuss the changing channel in New Zealand, assessing the true art of coopetition and the emerging value-added opportunities cloud brings to the market at Artisan Restaurant in Wellington.

In association with rhipe, Reseller News hosted key vendors and partners to discuss the changing channel in New Zealand, assessing the true art of coopetition and the emerging value-added opportunities cloud brings to the market at Artisan Restaurant in Wellington.

From the North Island to the South, through the cities and regions of New Zealand, the cloud conversation is evolving.

But such an assessment of cloud computing, and all it encompasses, is neither practical nor profitable, remaining a fruitless endeavour without tangible calls to action for the local market.

For the very term remains inconsequential when channel guidance and strategy is absent, consigning cloud to yet another hollow buzzword of the Kiwi technology industry.

“Our philosophy is based around allowing partners to focus on their core business, introducing new players to the conversation who add value and experience,” says George De Bono, General Manager of Sales in Australia and New Zealand, rhipe.

For De Bono, speaking during the Reseller News Roundtable - Facilitating distributor change in a cloud-focused channel - believes that the linear channel of the past has passed, moving away from the traditionally unbroken and unswerving supply chain.

Channel convention dictates that vendors sell to distributors, distributors sell to resellers and resellers sell to customers.

Today however, a spider web has formed, allowing partners to work and collaborate with other partners, unlocking channel value from previously untapped cloud alliances.

“As we move into the as-a-service model, we are facilitating an environment which encourages partners to access other partner capabilities and offer it to customers,” De Bono explains.

“It’s about positioning the partner as a trusted advisor, understanding the areas they do not excel in and instead bringing someone to the table who is knowledgable to make them a more valuable part of the customer conversation.”

As De Bono alludes to, it’s an Internet of Partners type model, where partners can augment their own offerings to their customers with capabilities from another.

George De Bono - General Manager of Sales in Australia and New Zealand, rhipe
George De Bono - General Manager of Sales in Australia and New Zealand, rhipe

With the straight line of the channel now skewed, the newly formed spider web is playing out at a local level, with cloud provider Revera tapping into its Stack Alliance program in New Zealand.

In keeping with rhipe’s approach to partnering, the Stack Alliance is a group of leading ICT companies offering services and solutions at different layers, above infrastructure, in the ICT stack.

Aligned to the Revera cross-government IaaS catalogue, the Stack Alliance provides public sector buyers of laaS with the option to blend additional services and technology required to develop and integrate cloud deployments.

“The onus is now on distribution to build this type of marketplace as a way to create usage between independent companies,” adds Stephen Ponsford, Chief Technology Officer, Revera. “Individually, partners aren’t capable of building such wide ecosystems but distributors are centrally sitting in the middle of the market with all of the pieces.

“It just requires a company such as rhipe to pull everything together and say, ‘this is the New Zealand marketplace’ and the industry needs this.”

While a partner’s natural instinct is to call on in-house capabilities, for independent technology consultant firm CommArc - in housing a small cloud team of four staff - such luxuries aren’t always afforded.

“We’re open to collaboration because of our size,” says David Robertson, Principal Managed Services Architect, CommArc. “Developing new products is difficult and requires a lot of time and resources which makes this part of the market appealing.”

Key to navigating the spider web for the channel however, remains in fostering a sense of openness and innovation to deliver an outcome for the customer.

“We’ve got the building blocks but we’ve never had an opportunity to pull them together with regards to cloud,” Ponsford adds. “A marketplace removes that complexity and makes the cloud process a lot easier - click, click and click can mean three new services working together.

“Take Seera for example, they drop into the marketplace and all of a sudden we have another option as a partner - TradeMe proves the model works.”

As explained previously, Seera - a HR solutions provider - deepened its distribution ties with rhipe in response to its growing ecosystem of partners and collaborators, across both sides of the Tasman.

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