Category Archives for "Managed Services News"

Oct 16

Aruba: Edge Maturity Key for Optimizing Data Processing and Value

By | Managed Services News

96% of companies using edge computing today get benefits from the insights it captures.

Edge maturity isn’t here yet. But it’s a must if businesses are to unlock the potential from the increasing volumes of data being produced. The ability to collect, process, store and analyze data at the edge is the lifesaver businesses need to stop drowning in the overwhelming amount of data that’s being produced. But the very organizations that yen for the edge admit hurdles getting there. That’s according to new research from Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) company.

The Aruba report – At the Edge of Change: Navigating the New Data Era — assesses the implications of the shift in data processing from cloud to edge. It examines how ITDMs are responding to this trend, looks at the opportunities the edge presents for a number of major industries and the critical role networking plays in this transformation. Aruba commissioned Vanson Bourne for the research.

The Findings

There are six key findings in the report.

  • Growing urgency. Adoption of the full range of edge technologies is still in an early phase. However, the need to embrace the edge is real and urgent. Eighty-two percent of ITDMs describe their need for an integrated system at the edge as “very” or “somewhat” urgent.
  • Satisfaction at the edge. The lion’s share, or 96%, of companies already using edge technologies report being able to take advantage of new data and insights captured at the edge. Equally important, they’re reaping benefits. The biggest benefit reported is improving operational efficiencies and costs (53%). Additionally, 47% noted greater agility and increased security, 44% cited capturing deeper customer insights and 40% noted creating new products, services and revenue streams.
  • An emerging divide. Seventy-eight percent of ITDMs in production deployment with multiple edge technologies (i.e., networking, security, compute and storage) report a better ability to derive actionable insights and business value from their implementation. Compare that to 42% only piloting edge technologies and 31% planning pilots in the next 12 months.
  • APAC region in the lead. ITDMs in APAC were ahead of their counterparts in EMEA or the Americas when it comes to deploying edge technologies.
  • The skills barrier. Lack of specialist skills is the top barrier to edge adoption. Ninety-three percent of IDMS report that they lack the skills in their organization to unlock the power of data. The key skills missing are artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).
  • Security uncertainty. The report revealed mixed feelings on how edge technology adoption will impact network security. Fifty-seven percent of ITDMs agreed that connecting IoT or user devices at the edge made or would make their business more vulnerable. Thirty-three percent said security was one of the top three barriers to edge adoption. At the same time, 47% of respondents said that an increase in security would be a key benefit of capturing data from user devices. And 75% indicated that IoT adoption would have a positive impact on security in the next two years.

Edge Strategy a Necessity

Aruba's Partha Narasimhan

Aruba’s Partha Narasimhan

“This research suggests that the vast majority of IT leaders are already embracing the edge or are preparing to,” said Partha Narasimhan, CTO and HPE senior fellow for Aruba. “Developing an edge strategy against the backdrop of existing cloud implementations is becoming a necessity as the number of connected devices increases and it becomes impractical to transfer vast volumes of data to a cloud or data center environment, especially as organizations undergo digital transformation to advance their business objectives and address customer needs.”

A recent report — Connecting the Dots: AI at the Edge — from Omdia examines the challenge of getting AI to the edge and vertical use cases.

Oct 16

Datto Owner’s CEO Takes Non-Prosecution Agreement for ‘Serious Crimes’

By | Managed Services News

Robert Smith’s cooperation is preventing his indictment.

The founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, which owns Datto, has entered a non-prosecution agreement involving an international tax fraud scheme.

Vista Equity Partners' Robert Smith

Vista Equity Partners’ Robert Smith

Robert Smith entered the non-prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ). It’s for his role from 2000 through 2015 in an illegal scheme to conceal income and evade millions in taxes by using an offshore trust structure and offshore bank accounts.

Smith willfully did not report to the IRS over $200 million of partnership income. He also failed to report his ownership of his foreign bank accounts as required by law.

Smith will pay more than $139 million in taxes and penalties, according to the non-prosecution agreement.

Neither Datto nor Vista Equity Partners is commenting on the agreement. Datto was acquired by Vista Equity Partners for about $1.5 billion in late 2017.

No Vista Equity Partners entity is part of the settlement. Furthermore, the DOJ has never claimed that Vista Equity Partners, nor any of its funds or portfolio companies, were involved, of interest or under investigation.

Hiding from the IRS

In the agreement, Smith admits his involvement in the illegal scheme.

“It is never too late to do the right thing,” said U.S. Attorney David Anderson for the Northern District of California. “It is never too late to tell the truth. Smith committed serious crimes, but he also agreed to cooperate. Smith’s agreement to cooperate has put him on a path away from indictment.”

According to the agreement, Smith formed the Excelsior Trust in Belize, and a shell company, Flash Holdings, in Nevis, a small island in the Caribbean, in 2000. He used third parties to conceal his beneficial ownership and control of Excelsior Trust and Flash Holdings.

In reality, Smith controlled both offshore structures and made all substantive decisions regarding Flash Holdings’ operations, transactions, income, investments and assets, the agreement said. He used the Excelsior Trust to conceal his ownership and control over Flash Holdings. He further used Flash Holdings to hide his interest in private equity investments. Smith admits he formed these foreign entities to use them to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

Furthermore, Smith admits that he “knowingly and intentionally” used the Excelsior Trust and Flash Holdings and their associated foreign bank accounts to conceal from the IRS and the U.S. Treasury Department income earned and distributed to Flash Holdings from private equity funds.

Using Unreported Income

Over the years, Smith used millions of this unreported income to acquire and make improvements to real estate used for his personal benefit. He admits he used about $2.5 million in untaxed funds to purchase and renovate a vacation home in Sonoma, California. In 2010, he again used untaxed funds to purchase two ski properties and a piece of commercial property in France.

In 2011 and 2012, Smith used about $13 million of untaxed funds to build and make improvement to a residence in Colorado. He also funded charitable activities at the property.

Smith agrees to abandon his protective claims for a refund totaling about $182 million that were filed with the IRS. The protective refund claims consisted, in part, of claims for charitable contribution deductions on Sept. 21, 2018, and Oct. 11, 2019.

Oct 16

Centreon: MSPs Capitalizing on Increased Demand for IT Monitoring

By | Managed Services News

The survey confirms the importance of IT monitoring in corporate governance.

Businesses are increasingly focused on IT monitoring, providing opportunities for MSPs, according to a new survey by Centreon.

Centreon polled 600 European and North American IT professionals for its State of IT Monitoring survey. It confirms the importance of IT monitoring in corporate governance, despite a perceived lack of visibility over IT performance levels. Centreon provides IT monitoring.

It also highlights growth trends in terms of investment and recruitment in monitoring. Furthermore, it reveals the rapid transformation of infrastructure is prompting new monitoring practices, with a maturity gap between North America and Europe. Cloud, edge and IoT computing are driving the transformation.

Centreon's Roman Le Merius

Centreon’s Roman Le Merius

Romain Le Merlus is co-founder and CEO Centreon North America.

“What we found in our research confirms industry trends: that the pace of change in the industry is accelerating and the IT estate is becoming increasingly complex,” he said. “It is a critical requirement of IT operations to support an always-on business and more MSPs are stepping up to fill the expertise gap, allowing their customers to focus on their business.”

Because of COVID-19, many organizations have or will increase usage of MSPs. The global pandemic is impacting a variety of business areas. And many organizations surveyed are committing to outsourcing.

Survey Findings

Among the findings:

  • Eighty-nine percent of respondents say IT monitoring is a high or top priority for their company. It’s more likely to be a top priority in North America than in Europe.
  • Companies are recruiting more in IT monitoring than cybersecurity and networks. Organizations in North America may be more immediately aware of the need for IT monitoring positions than those in Europe.
  • Only 27% of respondents rate the visibility over performance levels provided by their monitoring tools as excellent.
  • Ninety percent of respondents believe it’s necessary for their IT team to provide business-oriented KPIs. That confirms the importance of monitoring in managing digital business performance and in the digital workplace era.

North America, Europe Differences

The findings also show a significant difference between the two sides of the Atlantic. When asked what technologies/trends will impact their IT monitoring practices over the next three years, North America respondents identified, in order, IoT, edge computing and big data. Respondents in Europe indicated big data, IoT and AI/ML.

Furthermore, the survey highlights a general trend towards increasing the share of cloud, edge and IoT over the next three years. Europe lags behind in implementing cloud compared to North America. Europeans expect a higher increase in the share of the cloud in their infrastructures over the next three years.

“As a major player in this market, we are not surprised by the results of this survey, which highlights the growing importance of IT monitoring,” Le Merlus said. “Trends in our business are like a wave that often moves from west to east, starting in the U.S. and ending in Asia. We are also aware of our role and responsibilities in supporting IT departments on the hot topics highlighted in the study, such as holistic visibility from the cloud to edge and the necessary alignment with business management.”

Oct 16

Unmanaged SaaS Leads to Uncontrolled Expenses and Higher Risk

By | Managed Services News

MSPs can help customers control the costs of hybrid IT.

Augmentt's Derik BelairThere’s a business adage that says, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” While this wisdom didn’t originate in the tech sector, it succinctly defines why some channel partners are more successful than others. One area where it comes into play is with software as a service (SaaS) and other cloud IT initiatives. This includes the ones business owners subscribe to, and the rogue cloud-based apps their employees procure on their own.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic your SMB customers were already adopting cloud services. Now that more of their employees are using videoconferencing tools such as Zoom to work remotely and they’re looking to cut costs wherever possible, the demand for SaaS-based IT is skyrocketing.

Companies worldwide spent a record $34.6 billion on cloud services in Q2 2020, up roughly 11% from the previous quarter and 30% from the same period last year, according to the research firm Canalys.

Many of your customers and prospects procure cloud services directly from cloud vendors without your knowledge. And, it comes at a high cost — to you and them.

SMBs often miscalculate their software needs and spend more on SaaS applications than is needed. Frequently more licenses are bought than are required, which results in orphaned SaaS apps. A recent report by the company Blissfully found that nearly 75% of companies with 100+ employees have orphaned SaaS subscriptions in which there is no billing owner — typically because the billing owner left the company.

Customers’ SaaS Choices Hinder Productivity

Companies buy SaaS solutions in the hope of improving their productivity. Ironically, the opposite can occur. Here’s one example that illustrates why. Let’s say an SMB buys a cloud-based CRM app, which includes cloud storage. The customer also uses Microsoft 365, which comes with OneDrive cloud storage, and it also has a standalone Box subscription. Some of its employees will store data and files in OneDrive; some will use the CRM, and others will use Box. This creates a complex silo of data and files in the cloud that is nearly impossible to manage. This problem is further compounded when employees add additional personal cloud storage services to the mix. For example, Google Drive, iCloud and Amazon Cloud Drive. 

Another productivity drain occurs when businesses use multiple competing software apps to perform the same tasks. Collaboration tools are an excellent example. Microsoft 365 comes with Teams. The customer’s CRM subscription may include a proprietary collaboration tool. Plus, just as with cloud storage, employees may have their personal favorites like Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or Webex. Not only is there the challenge that these apps don’t all play well together, but that their use also can create additional data silos, which leads to redundant work and longer search times. 

SaaS-Based Security Vulnerabilities a Serious Concern

There’s also a security concern with unmanaged SaaS apps. Cloud-based apps and services circumvent traditional endpoint security solutions, which makes them more vulnerable to cyberattacks. This problem is further compounded when these unmanaged apps are installed without two-factor authentication (2FA). 

SaaS-based shadow IT is another serious security problem. Cloud-based peer-to-peer apps, for instance, are often polluted with …

Oct 15

Unleash Your Storage Power with NVMe-oF on All-NVMe Servers

By | Managed Services News

New workloads like artificial intelligence, machine learning and real-time data analytics are redefining IT infrastructure, but demand for higher throughput and lower latency threatens to dramatically exceed the capabilities of legacy systems. Savvy IT leaders are turning to All-NVMe servers to deliver the storage efficiency and reliability that modern business demands: Deploying NVMe over fabrics (NVMe-oF) across a high-speed network enables servers to access unlimited pools of shared NVMe storage and gain the same performance characteristics as local attached NVMe SSDs.

But successful NVMe-oF adoption requires organizations to commit substantial IT resources. Administrators need to spend valuable time provisioning and monitoring NVMe resources, in addition to overseeing SSD health, updating firmware, ensuring software compatibility and performing other tasks.

Download this whitepaper to learn how to more easily and cost-effectively deploy and monitor NVMe-oF while scaling with predictable performance. You’ll discover how NVMesh:

  • Supports both converged and disaggregated architectures for efficient pooling of NVMe-based storage
  • Delivers the necessary low latencies and fast response times that today’s applications require
  • Scales granularly as a single pool of high-performance block storage
Oct 15

Cohesity, AWS Extend Partnership with SaaS Data Management Offer

By | Managed Services News

The companies are moving data management into the modern hybrid cloud, multicloud era.

Cohesity and AWS are partnering to take on data management costs and complexity. In a strategic collaboration, the two companies are delivering data management as a service (DMaaS).

AWS not only is the preferred partner for DMaaS, but Amazon has made an equity investment in Cohesity. The companies didn’t disclose additional details.

Cohesity's Doug Ko

Cohesity’s Doug Ko

“We’re starting a new chapter in our relationship with Amazon Web Services,” said Doug Ko, director, product marketing at Cohesity. “We think this collaboration charts a new course for data management, moving it into the modern hybrid cloud, multicloud era.”

The Cohesity-AWS collaboration has been in the works for about a year and a half. As part of the team-up, Cohesity and the AWS Partner Network (APN) are investing in resources to design the DMaaS solution on AWS and to engage in joint go-to-market activities.

“AWS is delighted to establish a strategic collaboration with Cohesity as we share common goals — helping customers lower costs, become more agile, innovate faster and do more with data,” said Doug Yeum, head of worldwide channels and alliances, AWS. “Working with Cohesity, we are charting a new course in how data is managed in an as-a-service model, leveraging disruptive, modern data management capabilities from Cohesity, and industry-leading cloud services from AWS.”

The offer targets midsize and enterprise customers. Cohesity manages the new service, which AWS hosts on its cloud.

More on DMaaS

The foundation for the new DMaaS is Cohesity Helios. Data goes into the Helios cloud, which runs in and is powered by AWS.

The comprehensive DMaaS is about backup, but particularly backup of mission-critical legacy on-premises environments and workloads. Additionally, DMaaS is about protecting cloud and SaaS apps, many of which are also mission-critical to businesses. Other use cases are disaster recovery (DRaaS), file services (files as a service) and test data management as a service, Ko said.

There are multiple user benefits from DMaaS:

  • Customers will be able to subscribe to discrete data management offerings addressing a wide range of use cases from a single provider.
  • Advanced security and ransomware detection.
  • Customers have the ability to easily and seamlessly manage their existing on-premises and cloud environments, as well as the policies for their data through Cohesity Helios.
  • Consumption-based pricing provides cost predictability and eliminates overprovisioning.
  • Once on AWS, customers can take advantage of cloud-based services provided by AWS. They can use these services to help ensure compliance, enhance security, and extract additional insights and business intelligence through machine learning and analytics.

The new DRaaS offer rolls out with backup as a service (BaaS). The preview phase for AWS U.S. East and West is this month. International expansion will happen in the first half of next year.

Cohesity will offer a free trial. The company will announce pricing when the service becomes generally available. At that time, Cohesity will offer consumption-based pricing and a prepaid model.

Oct 15

Migration and Configuration Tools Set to Ease Citrix Cloud Migration

By | Managed Services News

An automated configuration tool promises to reduce manual scripting when migrating virtual desktops to the cloud.

New Citrix cloud migration tools promise to make it easier for partners to move virtual desktops and apps online. Among them are an automated configuration tool and an update to its Machine Creation Services (MCS).

Customers have slowly begun moving their on-premises VDI to Citrix Cloud, which provides virtual desktop and apps as a service. However, COVID-19 has accelerated the pace of migrations, Citrix CEO David Henshall has said. Henshall emphasized that during last week’s virtual Citrix Cloud Summit, the first of three company virtual events this month.

“While I’m sure many organizations understood the value of cloud prior to the current global pandemic, this crisis is amplified the need for these platforms and services like never before,” Henshall said.

Henshall added that Citrix has organized its cloud strategy around three primary areas.

“Migrating to the cloud of your choice, automating the ongoing management of workloads, and of course, optimizing cost and performance across both hybrid and multicloud environments,” he said.

Company officials showcased Citrix cloud migration tools and integrations to AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and SAP.

A Boost for Google Cloud

The latest Citrix cloud migration news focused on migration to GCP. The update to Citrix MCS will enable the provisioning and managing of VDA images to GCP at greater scale. Citrix said the new release will offer higher scalability and performance. Earlier this year, the company announced that MCS now runs on Google Cloud and its new Shared Virtual Private Cloud.

MCS enables migration of Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops to Citrix Cloud with native VDA image provisioning and management. One benefit: It uses configuration data from the master image template to develop VMs, according to Citrix. MCS applies components such as labels and tags, descriptions, firewall settings, service account properties, and CPU and GPU configurations from the templates to the targets. Citrix said this feature is only currently available when using MCS to deploy to Google Cloud.

Citrix's Calvin Hsu

Citrix’s Calvin Hsu

“Citrix Machine Creation Services is the first to support provisioning images and Google Cloud, providing enterprises the ability to migrate workloads with support for Shared Virtual Private Cloud quickly and easily, said Citrix VP of product management Calvin Hsu. “Customers can scale as needed using the full capabilities of Google Cloud Platform and its new built-in control and security features.”

The MCS update for GCP also now offers sole tenant node, which provides dedicated provisioning of Windows 10 clients GCP. Citrix also extended the capacity of its cloud-based application delivery controller (ADC) for Google Cloud. Last year, the company launched a version of Citrix ADC (formerly known as Netscaler) for Google Cloud. New versions launched last week provide capacities of 200 Mbps, 1 Gbps, 3 Gbps and 5 Gbps.

Company officials also emphasized the recent addition of Citrix ADC connectivity to AWS, as well as VMware Cloud on AWS. Last month, AWS certified Citrix ADC on AWS for AWS Outpost. AWS Outpost is a managed service that provides on-premises instances of Amazon EC2 instances and Amazon EBS volumes.

Citrix Automated Configuration Tool

For migration to any Citrix-supported cloud, the new Citrix Automated Configuration Tool is set for release later this quarter. The company announced the tool in August and released a new technical preview last week during its Citrix Cloud Summit. The automated configuration tool migrates configurations from on-premises Citrix virtual apps and desktops to Citrix Cloud services, according to Hsu. Such configurations include policies, applications and machine catalogs that administrators typically must rewrite manually or create automation scripts.

“It makes it much easier for administrators to test how their current on-prem configurations will work in Citrix Cloud services using the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop service,” Hsu said. “That means you see reduced administrative overhead from Citrix managing part of the back-end control plane, and you enjoy automatic and customizable component updates in Citrix cloud services.”

The tool aims to reduce the need for partners and customers to create configuration scripts. Like many modern automation tools, it converts on-premises configurations into editable YAML files. Customers can synchronize those among different cloud regions.

“We think that partners will really benefit from this capability, because they can provide solutions such as disaster recovery with this,” said Citrix senior product manager Nitin Mehta. It will also reduce overall administrative overhead, according to Hsu.

“It makes it much easier for administrators to test how their current on-prem configurations will work in Citrix cloud services and using the Citrix virtual apps and desktop service,” he said. “That means you see reduced administrative overhead from Citrix managing part of the back-end control plane, and you enjoy automatic and customizable component updates in Citrix cloud services.”

Oct 15

COVID-19 Hampered MSP Digital Commerce Service Initiatives

By | Managed Services News

The pandemic hindered MSPs’ attempts to roll out digital commerce services, according to a new study.

AppDirect this week unveiled results of its “State of B2B Subscription Commerce in the New Normal” study.  The survey examines organizations’ initiatives around subscription selling, digital commerce and how COVID-19 affected their strategies.

Respondents nearly unanimously (97%) reported a pandemic-related disruption in their digital commerce initiatives. Another 83% report concerns about their ability to continue their digital transformation plans.

However, the plurality of respondents said COVID-19 sped up their digital commerce service initiatives. Two in five (40%) reported an acceleration.

appdirect study

Source: AppDirect’s “The State of B2B Subscription
Commerce in the New Normal” Study

The technology services industry may be a exception, however. AppDirect examined different verticals and found that 44% of responding managed service providers delayed or canceled their digital commerce rollout.

Undoubtedly, we can attribute some of that statistic to the fact that MSPs and other channel partners were first on the scene in helping their customers adapt to the pandemic. Otherwise, the study found that 77% of business leaders are working toward long-term digital strategies than short-term responses to the pandemic.

Wakefield Research surveyed 500 senior executives on behalf of AppDirect.

A New Era?

AppDirect stated in its report that we have arrived upon an “era of subscription commerce.” For instance, 95% of respondents said they sell at least one subscription-based offering. For another 67%, subscriptions entail the majority of their products and services.

AppDirect's Dan Saks

AppDirect’s Dan Saks

“It’s clear that companies today face unprecedented challenges, and embracing a recurring revenue model is key to driving resilience in uncertain times,” AppDirect CEO Daniel Saks said. “This report shows that many organizations recognize just how critical subscriptions are, but significant challenges to implementing and scaling a digital subscription business remain.”

And what sort of companies are most dedicated to subscription services? The study found that younger companies and those with higher revenues sell most or all of their products through subscription. Eighty-six percent of these subscription-focused companies have existed for less than 10 years. Seventy-nine percent of those earn yearly revenue of more than $500 million.

But despite the widespread movement toward subscriptions, this model comes with challenges.

“At a high level, we found that enthusiasm for subscriptions is no antidote for the challenges that transitioning to a recurring model brings,” the report authors said. “In fact, the more subscriptions a company offers, the more complexity its team has to manage — and the more worries they have about being able to sustain the pace of digital transformation and innovation.”

AppDirect last month announced a $185 million funding round. The money will support organic growth, acquisitions and hiring. AppDirect owns AppSmart, the master agent/B2B commerce platform.

Oct 15

Absolute Software Rolls Out Enhanced Global Partner Program

By | Managed Services News

The revamped program offers partners a number of benefits based on a tiered structure.

Absolute Software, the endpoint security provider, just enhanced its global partner program to increase sales opportunities and tools for partners.

The Absolute Partner Program provides enhanced resources, training, support and benefits. They’re available across its global network of channel partners, resellers, distributors, MSPs and system integrators (SIs).

The revamped program offers partners a number of benefits based on tiers. Those include enhanced deal registration, access to ROI-building tools and marketing resources, and more based on partner level.

Responding to Partner Demand

Michele Hayes is area vice president of OEM and channel marketing at Absolute Software. She said Absolute has a longstanding relationship with its endpoint original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the partners they sell through. But it hasn’t had a formal program in place to work directly with those partners.

Hayes says partners initially exposed to Absolute as part of their endpoint sale increasingly want to offer the company’s endpoint resilience solutions.

Absolute Software's Michele Hayes

Absolute Software’s Michele Hayes

“This program is a direct response to this partner demand,” Hayes said.

Hardware resellers can add value to their device sales and realize additional margin. They can do so by attaching Absolute to their PC sales, she said.

“We have been collaborating with our tier 1 and tier 2 partners, now formally elite- and premier-level partners in our program, to ensure we were building a program that would enable them to seize new opportunities and protect their deals,” Hayes said. “Our partners have also been looking to us to provide more structured training and access to selling tools, so the new partner center portal will provide them that content based on their partner level. In addition, we have implemented a partner advisory council, comprised of nominated partners, to help us to continue to offer a program that ensures their success.”

Other Partner Perks

Absolute says its is the only security solution already embedded in the firmware of more than 500 million endpoints. A subscription license with upsell options gives partners ongoing revenue streams.

“Due to the fact that we are already factory-embedded into most PC manufacturers’ endpoints, we are able to work closely with the PC manufacturer and their resellers in a deeper way, and enhance the customer experience,” Hayes said. “The new program provides the tools and incentives for partners to drive activation of Absolute on the endpoint devices they are already selling or have previously sold.”

Furthermore, partners have an easy sales attach to previous PC sales, she said.

“Also, based on the new tiered structure, partners that are uncovering and leading new opportunities have the ability to earn up to 20% additional margin via deal registration, rewarding these partners for their efforts and giving them a competitive advantage,” Hayes said.

The program provides education tools, updates and support resources. Training is available through numerous options. Those include online, self-paced materials and access to Absolute’s learning hub, webcasts and other tools and resources.

“The tiered structure provides additional margin to partners that are finding and working new opportunities,” Hayes said.

Oct 15

Channel Partner Best Practices: Flexibility, Stability, Consolidation

By | Managed Services News

Concentrate on streamlining operations and avoiding risk to position for success.

Infinidat's Brett CooperThe COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainties for virtually every business in every industry. Technology channel partners are no exception. They’ve had to adapt to a new, less personal way of doing business. For example, replacing in-person handshakes with Zoom calls and lunches with UberEats. More than ever, customers are looking to their partners to help navigate these trying times. To do this, channel partner best practices are warranted.

While technology partners’ futures are dependent on a lot of factors outside of their control, there are steps they can take to ride out the pandemic and position themselves to capitalize by solving the most complex challenges their customers face of reducing the risk, cost and complexity of their most important asset – their information. They can do what channel partners do best, that is serve as trusted advisers. Partners become extensions of their customers’ business and help guide customers to a future where technology tools adapt to serve customers’ needs.

Here are a few channel partner best practices to deploy heading into 2021.

Focus on Solutions, Not Infrastructure Upgrades

While this trend has been in play for a while, the pandemic is making solutions development more of a priority. Customers are looking more closely at every expense. For example, they’re prioritizing moves that drive value over investments in newer, more feature-packed infrastructure components. That is leading partners to opportunities to create additional revenue and profit from stacking solutions, including services. The extra due diligence will force partners to structure upgrades as targeted investments aimed at addressing specific business problems.

This plays to channel partners’ strengths. While customers want best-of-breed components, integrations are complicated — and if partners can package total solutions, offering services and best practices, they can do a better job meeting customers’ needs.

Solutions are becoming more critical in deals involving storage technology. For years, buying storage was all about building capacity and performance. Adding more servers means you can house and process more data. Now, with data playing a more indispensable role in digital transformations and having to be always on, companies need more nimble and accessible storage to quickly deliver for applications. Storage solutions are required to integrate into apps like Splunk for heavy-duty analysis that supports informed decision making within an organization. Channel partners that deliver an integrated package — blending together software, network and storage in support of the application stack — can help customers scale their business and solve problems across their IT organizations.

Ride the Consolidation Wave

Data center consolidation will continue to be a huge focus for technology customers in 2020 and well into 2021. This is nothing new. Cloud adoption has accounted for some of the change, with organizations offloading servers and shifting workloads to public, private and hybrid clouds. But it goes beyond that. Customers are looking to manage storage systems more efficiently, both on-premises and in the cloud, and they’re looking for solutions that can streamline their processes.

It’s all about simplifying their business – doing more with less. This applied prior to the pandemic, and now, with companies looking for cost savings, platform consolidation is at the top of their lists.

That means channel partners will need to help customers pursue consolidation strategies. This could spur partners to enable heavier use of containers, virtual machines (VMs) or smart storage systems. The goal is to shrink the number of platforms they need to use and make the platforms easier to manage. Rather than having multiple disparate storage systems, for example, create a …