Why VARs are adopting Cloud Management Platforms
The cloud has disrupted the VAR market. The rise in public cloud and resulting drop in hardware purchases has forced VARs to rethink their businesses. There is simply less of a need for maintenance and installation services, and the “value add” must now come from somewhere else.
Fortunately, we live in an era of digital transformation and rapid technology change that provides fertile ground for new revenue opportunities. The majority of enterprises today are adopting hybrid and multi-cloud strategies by way of necessity to innovate faster and take advantage of the Cambrian explosion of new technologies. In any rapid technological shift, there will be winners and losers – both for customers and VARs.
Technology shifts are always more of a journey than a quick switch – a journey that comes with many challenges, change, and complexity to reach the promised land. This is where modern VARs see the opportunity: on this journey, enterprises will need to rethink architecture, tools, processes, how to scale governance, culture, people (and skills), amongst many other considerations of how they will run & deliver infrastructure. These are all areas where channel partners can add significant value immediately and over many years for customers. The question is how? Providing value in all of these areas across many platforms like VMware, OpenStack, AWS, Azure, and Google is difficult.
Many enterprises we speak to have implemented or plan to adopt a Cloud Management Platform within the next 18 months. Gartner also plans to launch a Magic Quadrant for Cloud Management Platforms – another indication that CMPs have become an important consideration for enterprises. We’re seeing the same trend happen with VARs and MSPs with their adoption of Scalr and Cloud Management Platforms in general. These are four reasons why:
1. Strategic Conversations Open Opportunities
Digital transformations and cloud migrations are strategic initiatives at the executive and technology leadership level. These initiatives are a matter of necessity for survival and naturally gain significant mindshare amongst executives. Moving to the cloud, let alone multiple clouds, and then having to manage both private and public clouds increases complexity exponentially and can threaten the speed and agility of transformation efforts. A Cloud Management Platform helps address challenges and is why they are a strategic topic to CIOs. CMPs have become an increasingly critical centerpiece to modernize IT infrastructure, manage complexity, and accelerate their digital transformations.
The topic of multi-cloud management is one that most CIOs and executives can’t ignore. We see VARs leveraging this to open discussions and bring insights / value to both existing and new customers. Naturally, this brings about new revenue and services opportunities for growth. Whether the topic stems from enterprise executives (looking for a CMP and partner), or a VAR brings the idea themselves, it’s always well received.
2. Expansion of Services for Digital Transformations
Cloud Management Platforms integrate with many aspects of an IT ecosystem and may also address tangential requirements (either directly or via 3rd party tool integration) for such capabilities as monitoring, security, asset and change management, orchestration, automation, ticketing, and the list goes on. VARs are able to take a solution like Scalr, open discussions on these topics, and provide additional value across the IT landscape. These solutions are rarely a set it and leave solution – they are always a journey and provides plethora of opportunities along the way to provide additional services and capture revenue.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges for enterprises today is to scale governance from a traditional IT model to a modern IT governance approach. Central IT in all enterprises strive for a better approach to deliver services at pace with technological change while maintaining governance across multiple platforms. Doing this while providing many business units, teams, and users with some level of autonomy is very challenging. Governance in itself is a massive opportunity where a VAR can provide value for their customers in a consultative manner with a Cloud Management Platform.
3. Transition to Managed Services
Many VARs have also tackled the cloud opportunity by introducing Managed Services offerings. This is in part due to the customer expectations in the “Software-as-a-Service” world. Customers want access to their applications without having to worry about the backend infrastructure or management. A Cloud Management Platform can help a VAR make the transition from a pure professional services driven organization to a modern Managed Service Provider. A CMP is an enabler for a VAR to provide “IT-as-a-Service”.
Enterprises need managed services partly because upskilling and talent search has never been more difficult. There is a clear talent shortage, which can easily thwart the speed of innovation and digital transformation. This is compounded by the proliferation of tools, approaches, and technologies. VARs can remove this hurdle with a managed services offering. A Cloud Management Platform provides the technology and software to do this across platforms.
4. Insight into Ongoing Projects
Cloud transformation projects are large and complex. They happen over a period of time and tangentially touch many aspects of an IT organization and their needs. One of the major benefits of a CMP is to have a single-pane-of-glass visibility across public & private infrastructure. Ongoing visibility can frequently uncover additional insertion points for a VAR or MSP to find additional projects and areas where they can add value. For example, Scalr’s Cost Analytics can provide a VAR with the visibility and controls you need to track an enterprise’s cloud spend, map costs to users / teams / lines of business, and provide intelligent recommendations to improve customer cost and efficiency.
In summary, disruption has opened opportunities for VARs and MSPs to provide significant value to enterprises in their cloud journey. We’re rapidly expanding our partner program here at Scalr, and we’d love to connect with partners who are interested in adding a Cloud Management strategy to their portfolio.