The cloud services market can be a confusing one for enterprise customers. There are all types of providers, from single application SaaS providers to large diversified hosting companies that provide access to many applications, storage and processing resources, consulting, and help desk support. Selecting the right mix of cloud services for an organization requires more expertise and knowledge of the various options than most businesses have.
In the past, a company often turned to its local reseller or systems integrator for help. So perhaps it's no surprise that these channel partners are increasingly advising their customers on cloud decisions.
In my role as VP of Channel Sales, my team and I work with a variety of companies that are moving to cloud services, and they’re relying on their resellers and integrators, their trusted advisors, for education and guidance. These third-party companies partner with TierPoint and other cloud providers to help solve these customers’ challenges.
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Back when IT was an in-house project, it was often the distributors, VARs and systems integrators who advised clients on the purchase of hardware and software, and oftentimes also customized, integrated and implemented it. Software licenses typically came from a single vendor, making integration work easy and future buying decisions pre-determined. Today, however, an enterprise customer might need cloud services from multiple providers, all of which likely need to be integrated. Or a customer might want a hybrid model, with some public or multi-tenant cloud services and some in-house computing or colocation services. That’s when an experienced VAR or integrator -- or a more recent type of partner, a managed services provider (MSP) -- can help.
There are so many companies who say they’re providing cloud services, but as a customer, it can be difficult to make sense of it all. We oftentimes see them struggling to understand how these service providers differ and how each specializes. It’s the VARs and MSPs and other partner companies, such as TierPoint, that are available to guide customers on these decisions.
That puts resellers on the front line of decision making for cloud services. They’re increasingly the ones engaging the customer and driving the deal flow.
That’s also true of MSPs. Cloud consultant and author David Linthicum noted in a 2015 InfoWorld article that MSPs were partners in 80% of the cloud deployment projects in which he’d been involved. That percentage is likely to be even higher today.
The Channel Community Adds Specialized Bench-strength
At TierPoint, this is evidenced by the growing percentage of business that is referred to us by our channel partners and the increase in channel companies that are choosing to partner with us.
That synergy between the cloud industry and the channel is increasingly apparent in industry events, such as the Channel Partners Spring 2017 show, held a few months ago in Las Vegas. The event focused on cloud services, with the majority of the 5,500 attendees and exhibitors being cloud services companies. Channel Partners is one of several events that TierPoint participates in as part of its strategy to expand its own network of channel partners.
Although TierPoint also sells managed services to customers, it views its reseller partners not as competitors but as a referral network that will expand business for everyone. With more partners come more referrals and sources of revenue. Frankly, we’re all playing in the same sandbox, but the partner community is diverse. One might only resell third party services in its region, another might be a national managed services provider. There are many companies with services that compliment ours and help fill gaps. We’re very invested in the channel ecosystem, and it’s expanding at a rapid rate. TierPoint plans to continue strengthening our channel in the days, months and years to follow.
As VP of Channel Sales, Kenny helps drive all internal sales efforts within the partner ecosystem. He is responsible for managing all business development & enablement aspects within the Strategic National Partner along with being tasked to execute and attain key sales metrics to meet & exceed revenue targets. Accountable to develop scalable, sustainable business practices that impact growth of partner revenue and profits within national partners & help integrate TierPoint offerings & solutions that align with the strategic national partners go-to-market initiatives.
Kenny Ash is Vice President, Channel for TierPoint. He is responsible for leading TierPoint’s channel sales nationally, working closely with the company’s six channel directors to develop, educate and enable partners, ensuring alignment with the company's direct sales team and recruiting new partners. Kenny’s experience spans over 10 years of sales and channel business development experience.