It’s more than just the Microsoft Cloud. Become a Cloud Solutions Provider.
The Umbrellar CSP (Cloud Solutions Provider) Partner Programme is proving highly successful as resellers partner with the company to resell Microsoft Azure and an array of services to New Zealand’s leading businesses. What is the secret?
IDG sat down with Umbrellar Head of Cloud, David Howden, to find out about a new model of doing business in the Cloud, the direction of resellers in New Zealand, and why the partnerships are going so well.
IDG: Let’s start with the basics. Who are your ideal partners?
David Howden: Umbrellar has a prime focus on Microsoft and is the only distributor of Microsoft services in New Zealand that focuses specifically on the Microsoft Cloud, in other words Microsoft Azure and the Modern Workplace service are our bread and butter. Umbrellar focuses totally on the Microsoft Cloud technology stack and takes that focused intellectual property – and work with resellers – to drive better value for our joint customers when modernising applications and be more productive with their infrastructure spend. So our partners are well-qualified resellers who know and understand the Microsoft ecosystem, is all its forms. Their customers are already using that technology and wish to continue using it to its maximum potential.
IDG: And why would organisations go with Microsoft Cloud over Google and AWS?
DH: Microsoft globally is the most trusted and compliant cloud provider in the world, based on the amount of compliance specifications and regulatory compliance that it meets to drive services for the US government, European governments, and the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) changes that were mandated across the Microsoft platform. That’s the key: Microsoft Azure is the most trusted and compliant Cloud provider, has more certifications than any other cloud provider and meets a broad set of compliance standards across geographies and verticals such as health, government and finance. Microsoft builds its platforms to that standard worldwide.
IDG: Is that what is most important to New Zealand companies today: compliance and safety?
DH: It’s more fundamental than that. When a business is making a decision to leverage the benefits of the Cloud, the company is also accountable for the risk profile it is taking on by doing so. It’s not just about risk and compliance. It’s more fundamental as compliance is risk us always subjective. What we are finding in massively proven use cases is the global cloud providers are far more compliant because of the amount of research and development that goes into keeping these platforms robust, tight and secure. As such, there has definitely been a shift to purchasing compliance, vs just the technology. The question to ask yourself is, can you build and run infrastructure more securely than the worlds largest tech company?
IDG: What are the main reasons why New Zealand businesses should get onto the Microsoft Azure platform?
DH: The suite of services available in the cloud is vast and quite complex, but reaps exceptional reward. Years ago, it used to be storage, network and compute, but now there is artificial intelligence, business intelligence, automation, data analytics ... all these competencies are now driven as cloud-native services. When you look at the partnerships you need to get the best out of these services for your business, there is very little chance, specifically in New Zealand, that you have an IT department that is big enough to leverage all of these things adequately to get the right value from them.
Umbrellar has built an ecosystem of partners that is the best-in-the-country at the niche parts of the Microsoft Cloud. Bringing that ecosystem together allows businesses to pick and choose the partners they want to drive business intelligence, an AI strategy, automation, or replacing their core platform. Being a part of this ecosystem brings you into the New Zealand cloud economy and leveraging the breadth of all these technologies. New Zealand is undergoing a digital transformation and becoming cloud-first and cloud-enabled. You can’t just go and buy that. It’s cultural. It’s strategic and you have to be in it to do it.
IDG: What are the main reasons why resellers should partner with Umbrellar?
DH: The traditional ‘channel’ in the reseller market has not been overly innovative at the infrastructure level – storage, compute and networking – for the last 10 years. The value it gains from reselling Microsoft Cloud Services – where billions of dollars have been spent on research and development year-on-year – offers real opportunities for the channel, particularly when it comes to trying to get the right levels of productivity and cloud automation services to your customers.
Unless you think you can build services better than Microsoft, AWS and Google, then working with them and transacting their services to deliver value to your customer is the best way to get the best price point and the best outcome, and become a modern hosting provider. It’s about enabling the channel to see the power of these tools and taking that to market. But the biggest reason is our ecosystem and new business model.
IDG: Before you explain that, you were saying that you also provide resellers with particular support.
DH: We see that IT providers in New Zealand are unique. They are technically very capable but are often very busy, leaving little headspace to do more than just running their own business. One of the key services we bring is co-selling and co-marketing – supporting the reseller through a sales process and creating the right market message for their services. We can produce marketing strategies for that allow resellers to succeed and, in doing so, we succeed collectively. The same applies from a co-selling perspective. We will happily sit down as part of a sales process and help resellers drive the value in that sales engagement.
IDG: And your ecosystem?
DH: There is a new landscape out there right now for resellers. They have to adapt because margins are being squeezed at the infrastructure level. Many of them are monetising their business through services with intellectual property on top, taking less value from the nuts and bolts, and far more value from understanding the inner workings of how people can leverage the most value-add from the technology. That’s the fundamental shift we’ve been seeing.
In our business model, we introduce partners to partners, and partners to clients, as a complementary service. This grows the size of the pie for the whole industry and accelerates the Cloud enablement of NZ. It is different to the way the market has approached this traditionally, from a distribution perspective. The channel is used to traditional distributors who mainly ship product, buying stock, keeping units (SKUs) of product etc... We don’t do this. We don’t just ship product. We build relationships and an ecosystem, and the product is a by-product of it. This is fundamentally different to how global distributors work with each other.
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