Monday Morning Impact – March 16

Published On: March 16, 2015Categories: Buzz, Uncategorized

By Ken Presti, Senior Consultant, Channel Impact

CompTIA: SMBs Look to Innovation Expertise When Selecting Channel Partners

Channel partners pursuing the massive small-to-medium business space would do well to highlight their expertise and innovations skills, according to new research from CompTIA, an IT industry association based in the Chicago suburbs.

Among 500 companies surveyed in the national study, 46 percent of SMBs said they look to outside IT firms when they need greater expertise and new options. The report also finds that a lack of innovative technology solutions is a significant reason why some SMBs choose to switch partners.

“IT firms that want to maintain their relevance with SMB customers must move from the management of isolated technology pieces to management of the overall structure,” advised Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, at CompTIA. “By doing so they are better positioned to drive technology decisions that align with the customer’s business needs.”

More than 70 percent of SMBs worked with a channel partner at least occasionally over the past 12 months, according to the survey. Installation, integration, repair, and troubleshooting were listed among the most prominent needs.

The study also identifies several areas where partners can leverage routine activities into more strategic engagements. These would include ongoing management of the web presence to secure timely information, provisioning of cloud services, and analytics.

While the study finds that two-thirds of SMBs spend less than $100,000 annually on technology and the remainder spend $10,000 or less, it also says that two-thirds of the respondents plan to increase their technology budget, and nearly half would be willing to spend more money if presented with an innovative solution that could enable new business processes.

The data is based on an online survey of 500 US-based SMB executives conducted in December 2014.

Channel Impact:
As channel partners of various types extend their reach and levels of expertise, the playing field becomes more competitive. The new data suggests that SMBs are becoming increasingly aware of this, and are looking to capitalize on it.

Ingram Micro Announces Marketplace Availability for Office 365

North American channel partners can now provision, invoice, manage and support Microsoft Office 365 products and bundles via the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, a proprietary gateway developed by the Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor.

To ease deployment and management, channel partners will also have access to the SkyKick Office 365 migration suite, which is designed to simplify and accelerate migration through project automation technology. Partners will similarly have access to the Ingram Micro service desk, which provides direct customer support for those partners that choose not to staff the 24/7 Office 365 support desk required by Microsoft.

The Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace leverages the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program. Functioning as a master cloud service provider, as well as a distributor, Ingram Micro provides access to a variety of cloud solutions, enabling expansion into new vertical and horizontal markets.

Channel Impact:
Distributors have been looking to re-invent themselves in response to the industry shift towards the cloud. Many are looking to extend their current model towards becoming cloud enablers in supports of reseller partners. This latest announcement provides more evidence of that shift.

Axcient Rolls Out New Channel Compensation Model to Support Cloud and SaaS

Axcient, a Mountain View, Calif-based company specializing in cloud-based Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS), has unveiled a new channel compensation plan intended to make it easier and more profitable for channel partners to deploy their Business Recovery Cloud platform.

Channel partners can now receive up-front compensation for the sale, delivery and support of the solution, amounting to 100 percent of the first five months of revenue as margin up front (2 years of margin). VARs continue receiving commissions every year they renew a customer.

“Axcient is disrupting an enormous and growing market by providing a single Business Recovery Cloud that eliminates data loss and application downtime for businesses,” said Justin Moore, CEO at Axcient. “Under this new program, VARs make their margin day one as opposed to over time, enabling them to successfully deploy SaaS, make significant margin upfront, and compensate their sales reps without having to change their business model.”

The so-called “Software as a Service: Front Loaded Option” (SaaS:FLO) will be financed as part of $25 million in funding led by Industry Ventures, with participation from existing investors Allegis Capital, Peninsula Ventures, Scale Venture Partners and Thomvest Ventures.

Channel Impact:
There has been much dialogue in the industry as to whether the channel has an opportunity to play a meaningful role in the SaaS model. As the partners build their case for recognition as trusted advisors to sales and support, an appropriate compensation model needs to emerge. This move is intended to align the SaaS compensation model with VARs existing business model so that VARs are properly incentivized to deploy cloud services.



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