Had the good fortune to chat recently with Agilysys VP of Consulting, Ed Partenope, about the impact that cloud computing technology and ideas might have on data center infrastructure projects. Our discussion ranged from the simple — What is cloud computing anyway? — to the complex — “public” vs. “private” applications of the cloud. In any case, a must view for any high-tech channel professional who is trying to sort through the impact that cloud computing might have on their own business model.
Archive for September, 2009
Is the so-called “cloud computing” phenomenon just another word for outsourcing? Or, for that matter, just another permutation of managed services?
I have no idea, but you can bet I’m going to be spending more time in coming months trying to figure out its potential impact on the IT distribution channel. Because, when it comes down to it, both cloud computing AND managed services are about how information technology capabilities and applications are DELIVERED to the ultimate end-user.
One of my new resources in this quest will doubtless be a new research service called “Project Nimbus” that has been launched by Heartland Tech Groups (an alliance of technology solution and service providers that I highly respect) and Channel Insider, the channel intelligence arm of the Ziff Davis enterprise technology publishing group.
Here’s a link to more information about Project Nimbus. The first “guidance” report out of the project will be delivered in early November. Among other things, it will cover the following: Developing go-to-market models, management issues and how to add value onto what is, essentially, a commodity service.
Deal registration used to be one of those very novel concepts, but any high-tech company that is relatively new to the channel or that is selling a product with a long evangelization cycle really can’t get away without one. Now Akorri, one of the emerging players in the virtual infrastructure space, has raised the bar on deal registration: if a VAR legitimately registers a deal, it gets that extra margin if the sale is made — even if doesn’t actually handle the transaction.
Here’s how it works, according to Bill Simpson, Akorri’s vice president of worldwide sales. (Notice the word channel isn’t in his title, but it is assumed, which is another thing I really like.)
As part of its PartnerPoint program, Simpson says Akorri will pay up to 30 points of margin for the influencing reseller. Period. That means that if a VAR spends time developing an account and STILL losing the deal because some other clown gives away products in order to drive storage hardware and services into an account, the original partner will get that margin. Essentially they will receive an influence fee.
Simpson says he can afford to do this by assuming that every deal that Akorri does with the channel right now will be registered and planning his financial model accordingly.
Of course, the partner won’t really win the crown jewel of the account, which is the long-term services that it was hoping to win. But, actually, chances are they WILL win those services eventually if the other partner can’t live up to its promises.
There may be other technology vendors out there that do this, but I sure haven’t talked to anyone about it. It sure makes a show of good faith.
Another policy that is bound to win Akorri fans in the channel: It would rather focus its efforts on fewer VARs than artificially sign up partners just for the sake of having them. Which is saying a lot when you’re just building a channel program. Right now, the company has about 75 to 100 partners signed up, but Simpson says it doesn’t really have any goals other than to develop “revenue-producing” VARs and their sales representations.