Classic channel partnerships -- often very rigid and very formal -- are giving way to dynamic value partnering. The idea is to reconfigure partnerships on the fly to best meet rapidly evolving customer needs. To do so, channel partners need a successful blend of distribution, integrated solutions, cloud services and analytics.
Those themes -- and more -- emerged today at WestconGroup Connect 2015, a partner conference in Orlando. The big news hook is BlueSky -- a cloud platform designed for channel partners. Here's a recap of the day from the main stage presentations.
Lynn Murphy, executive VP of North America
- Keep an eye on the 3 C's as they relate to the channel -- Capability, Capacity and Coverage.
- As you weigh the three C's, you also need to sort out whether to build, buy or partner.
- An industry this dynamic, moving at this pace, requires constant innovation on the business model front.
- The concept of partnering is changing. The classic rigid, formal partnerships are evolving as multi-vendor ecosystems build up and scale down on demand. She calls that dynamic value partnering.
- Building on that theme, she points to MSPs recommending, deploying and manage pre-tested solutions from distributors.
- "The only sustainable competitive advantage comes from people and how they work together," she mentioned, while quoting a professor from New York.
- When it comes to customer relationships, VARs are transforming from technical advisor to strategic partners.
Steve Garrou, EVP, Solutions Development & Strategy
- He pointed to Gene Hackman's role in Hoosiers -- a coach with a different plan. A coach who was willing to change things up -- dramatically -- to drive success.
- Garrou oversees M&A, go to market and various investment strategies.
- He points to the rise of Amazon as a direct-to-developer model. Channel partners, in response, need to more aggressively support both the end-customer... and the end-user.
- Keep an eye on BlueSky, a WestconGroup cloud platform that's "a foreshadowing of things to come."
- He pointed to the integration of on-premises and cloud; the need for consumption-based services; and the shift of IT resource allocation to better service business.
- By 2019, cloud and traditional IT markets will approach parity in terms of annual spend.
- WestconGroup is pushing hard toward "Digital Logistics" -- acquiring physical solutions as well as cloud services. This involves four pillars of investment: (1) true integrated solutions, (2) analytics, (3) services and (4) intellectual property. "We can differentiate from other distributors by investing in our own IP. All of this is to improve the valuation of your business and your customers' business."
- Quote of the day: "The common thread across Big Data, the Internet of Things and Mobility is analytics."
- On the intellectual front, WestconGroup started on a cloud journey about five years ago. The solution is built on open source software -- with additional functionality from WestconGroup developed in a Agile way.
- BlueSky has a partner view to see customer cloud consumption. The next view is for vendors -- so they can see products and services moving in the channel. A marketplace view allows end-customers to see a channel partners's cloud store (a white label store built atop BlueSky).
Distributor Cloud Platforms
Of course, numerous distributors now offer cloud platforms in various forms. Key names include Avnet Technology Solutions, Ingram Micro Cloud, Synnex CloudSolv and Tech Data TDCloud (among others). ChannelE2E is checking in with various distributors for an update on each of their efforts.
Among the views we'll share this week: Avnet VP Tim FitzGerald on that company's cloud journey. and Ingram Micro Executive Director Jason Bystrak on that company's milestones. We'll also check in with Synnex and Tech Data.