Westcon-Comstor is continuing to pursue its quest to become one of the world's best cloud distributors with the launch of a new component of its BlueSky Ecosystem platform.
The distribution giant has launched a Kiwi-built Cloud Customer Success Centre, supporting what is called a "LAER Hub" to help partners land new business, encourage adoption and expand and renew existing business (LAER).
The hub will help vendors and resellers drive annuity adoption for both subscription and consumption sales, increase ARPU and decrease churn, Westcon-Comstor said.
In addition, it will also support traditional hardware and software sales models as part of the company's hybrid cloud strategy.
Westcon-Comstor first outlined its plan to become a leading cloud distributor in the world in February 2015, building on lessons learned from a failed UK pilot.
On top of helping channel partners develop cloud businesses, the distributor also outlined technology services to assist the channel with complex tasks such as cloud service billing and cloud managed services.
Westcon-Comstor's vice president of cloud and services for Asia-Pacific, Darryl Grauman, said a year ago the entire bottom floor of the company's office in Auckland was empty - staff had been consolidated to the top floor after a revamp of the SAP system and outsourced functions.
"Now that we'd changed the business it was time to ask how we could transform ourselves into a next-generation distributor," he said.
That ground floor is now full again, with three teams - the cloud customer success centre team, the technical support centre and the renewals team - looking after multiple regions, all on the New Zealand-developed BlueSky Ecosystem.
"The entire LAER Hub construct about how we work is a New Zealand-based initiative which we've now exported globally," Grauman said. "They are all made here and we are exporting them to the rest of the world."
The ecosystem provides a single view for customers and resellers across the entire LAER process, Grauman said, from quotes and orders, to cloud services deployments, to technical support and subscription renewal and management.
"What customers want to see is different from what resellers want to see," he said. "We've had to create these specific customer and reseller experiences. We call them 'actors' - a customer actor and a reseller actor."
The LAER Hub also manages new go-to-market models including social selling and advanced media marketing, supported by teams who assist Westcon-Comstor’s resellers and their end-user customers, and maximising the value of an initial sale throughout its lifecycle.
The system allows vendors and resellers to quickly launch and operate a cloud annuity business by providing an easy way to market, order and deliver services.
Furthermore, it offers a high speed on-boarding task list process that supports vendor and product onboarding and the development of marketing playbooks for digital marketing.
The Bluesky Ecosystem, which Westcon-Comstor said had helped increase its cloud business over 400 per cent in the last year, is a product of the company's 2014 acquisition of Verecloud, a developer of an advanced channel distribution platform for cloud and services solutions.
"We've partnered with other specialist providers in that," Grauman said. "We've OEMed different technologies into it as well. You'll find partners like Cloudyn for cloud financial analytics and optimisation.
"You'll find we've OEMed a company called Dome9, for security analytics and governance over cloud. We've been working for three years with an Australian company called Maestrano, and let me tell you something now, this is the most amazing thing you have ever seen.
"The biggest issue that companies have right now is you've got all these disparate cloud components, Salesforce and Vend and Magento and all of these things, and here's that a single solution out of the box that will take almost 80 SaaS business applications and connect them together. For me this is groundbreaking."
Westcon-Comstor's own SAP and service desk systems have also been integrated with the ecosystem, all as part of the distributor's efforts to help resellers shift to consumption-based services.
Grauman gives high praise to the New Zealand team and managing director Dave Rosenbergin particular for their commitment in making that investment.