When the topic of “cloud” comes up in conversation with our partners, it’s not uncommon for worry lines to start to appear on their brows. Some worry that if products become services in the cloud then their ability to add value will disappear. At ipcortex, we just don’t subscribe to that point of view. In fact more than that, we think that for the savviest resellers this inflection point could be as game changing for them, as we believe it will be for vendors like us. Here’s why…
Industries that go through periods of major transformation also tend to produce winners and losers among the formally dominant players in the industry. As both UC and cloud develop and mature they will require a much broader set of skills and capabilities from both the technology vendors offering products and services, and the resellers and integrators seeking to secure business based from them. The large “legacy” vendors, used to deriving business from proprietary on-premise systems may be the ones who struggle the hardest to come to terms with this new paradigm. Indeed, their complex pricing structures and “handset heavy” revenue models do not lend themselves well to a shift in value towards cloud based services and open standards interoperability. It is at times such as these when newer entrants in the market and the resellers that partner with them, are able to leverage the inflection points and start to rapidly change the vendor landscape.
A UC and cloud enabled world will favour vendors that:
- Have open standards architectures at their core, and actively seek to broadly integrate with a broad set of vendors in the marketplace
- Accept that proprietary “lock-in” will no longer be enough to keep customers loyal and instead drive to deliver true value in a much more competitive market
- Do not rely on complex pricing models and reliance hardware/ CPE with complex feature upgrades to maintain the margin in their business.
For resellers and integrators we believe that their role will not disappear, but it will start to transform. It will no longer be sufficient to align closely with one or two of these vendors, become skilled in their proprietary architectures, and rely on “nickel and dime’ing” feature bolt-ons and on site support in order to make a living.
A UC and cloud enabled world will favour those resellers that:
- are aligned with their customer’s business processes and objectives
- are able to add value on the basis of consulting and service
- understand cloud computing and associated technologies and are able to advise their customers accordingly
- embrace a much broader ecosystem of products and services, giving true flexibility, value and choice to their customers through a combination of on-premise and cloud based products and services.
There’s plenty of scope to add value in a cloud enabled UC world. It won’t be in delivering low value, low margin hardware installs and feature upgrades, but it will be in higher value more consultative selling. And don’t forget – delivery of any IP based communications solution will still require a robust, resilient, secure, IP network over which to operate within the business and out to the cloud. Indeed, arguably it becomes of even greater importance.
Will Resellers have a Role in a Cloud Enabled UC World?Resellers need not worry, but for some, they really do need to prepare…