‘Born in the cloud’ is often held up as the winning model for the technology reseller channel going forward. But Microsoft partners have been hearing a different story at the vendor’s hugely popular Cloud Profitability Workshops over the past two weeks.
The workshops, held in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and today in Tauranga, have seen Lee Harper, director of Blenheim reseller pcMedia, advocating that resellers capitalise on the skills gained from years of selling tin, to provide a stronger offering than that of ‘born in the cloud’ competitors.
Harper has been telling packed sessions that ‘tin really can be your friend’. He says a large number of clients will still want a server and will need someone to set it up.
“Those that are born in the cloud often have no idea how to set up a server. They want to put everything in the cloud – and it can really bite them.”
Instead, Harper says resellers who can offer a full suite of offerings including cloud and tin, will be the winners in the land grab that is cloud.
In a surprising open and frank session in Auckland last week, Harper outlined in detail how pcMedia had transformed its business by embracing cloud, including detailed examples of how the company had transitioned its product stack and to incorporate cloud offerings and the accompanying annuity payments, and the changes it brought to their staffing requirements.
The Kiwi Microsoft Cloud Profitability workshops are the first in the world to be fronted by a Microsoft reseller, rather than a consultant.
pcMedia was Microsoft’s Cloud SMB Partner of the Year at the 2012 Microsoft Partner Awards, and has clearly made an impression not just on Microsoft New Zealand, but the company internationally, with Harper among the panelists presenting at Microsoft’s World Partner Conference in July.
Around 150 resellers have attended this round of the workshops.
Jared Pedersen, Microsoft partner business and development manager, says the workshops are focused on helping partners transition their business model to move to cloud services, while maintaining or improving their underlying profitability.
“We know that the move from being a traditional tin reseller with up-front charges to selling cloud services with its annualised payments takes time to bridge,” Pedersen says.
Harper covered off areas including attaching new services and IP to costings, developing repeatable services, and partnering with other resellers to provide a complete service, through to transforming sales and technical teams and transforming the company image.
“We want our partners to be able to earn more money, or at a minimum maintain their revenues, as they make the transformation,” Pedersen says.
Microsoft held three Cloud Profitability workshops late last year, and it was the high demand for those workshops that prompted the current round.