Education critical to thrive as cloud changes game
Historically the reseller channel has been skilled to a level of business and technology understanding that operates within traditional technology and infrastructure environments. This was standard operating procedure and it worked highly effectively in certain industry sectors and technology silos. However the impact of cloud computing and virtualisation is a game changer for both business and the channel. The reseller community now needs the correct level and amount of education, skills training and certification to survive and thrive. The reseller programmes of old, often focusing on margins and volume, are of little value if the reseller cannot be part of this push to new technologies, infrastructures and operating environments. Today approximately 33% of organisations are using the cloud with the balance discussing and navigating their way to understanding how the cloud can benefit them. Instead of the traditional match of hardware to software needs, IT capabilities are going to be sourced from the cloud. The resellers who understand this new level of demand and infrastructure, and ensure that they are fully certified, will be able to talk confidently to clients embarking upon this journey. For resellers this translates into the need for comprehensive education programmes that will enable them to understand in detail how to execute within this cloud computing trend. Being recognised as ‘certified’ in advanced technologies allows clients, and importantly potential clients, to recognise resellers for their expertise and deeper understanding of the technology issues at hand. It automatically sets you apart from the rest. There is also an expectation within the business community that complex business and technology discussions can take place in more depth and at an earlier stage in the planning process. Inevitably this creates a greater role for the reseller to participate in and influence technology outcomes. Supporting business A forward thinking addition to a reseller programme would also include a trial environment for cloud and virtualisation assessments. This would assist clients with a demonstration of the benefits of the new ‘cloud optimised’ infrastructure, essential in the decision making process when enterprise is evolving its existing IT solutions to hosted cloud solutions. An effective way for the reseller to stimulate the outcome for themselves and their client base is to identify those reseller programmes which offer a range of tools that effectively support the business. These tools include technical support training and certification programmes, as mentioned above, for key support personnel; access to practical technical documentation and how-to-guides and trial programs. With a wider and deeper understanding of the business at hand, this creates an opportunity for the channel to embed itself into the decision-making process for its client base. It can effectively consult with clients to help optimise their infrastructure and transform business and IT processes. Higher skilled resellers who understand this new environment will expand their job prospects effectively being able to provide multiple roles and specialist expertise under one roof. These high demand skills will no doubt produce a greater understanding of the cloud computing and virtualisation environment of the future, with the end result of greater revenue streams for the reseller involved.