Channel Partners

SPR 2015

For 25 years, Channel Partners has been a resource for indirect sales channels, such as agents, VARs and dealers, that provide network-based communications and computing services, associated CPE and applications, and managed and professional services

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By Kelly Teal Charting a Course From Specialist to Holistic Partner 20 CHANNEL PARTNERS SPRING 2015 FEATURE The conversation about becoming a holistic partner — moving from selling just circuits or hardware, say, to providing every- thing from software, equipment, connectivity, security, and managed and professional services — obviously is not new. The channel has been talking about the change for years. But in 2015, a shift promises to occur, compared to 2014, for three main reasons, said Rebecca Rosen, founder of consultancy Sales Enabled. They are: Declining margins forcing channel partners to evolve their competitive positions and diversify their technology portfolios Businesses trying to give employees the tools they need while also controlling costs Cloud services replacing capital purchases, blurring the lines between infrastructure and applications. As a result, many customers are funneling their purchases through partners who can support the business ecosystem. Overall, now is the time to branch out. "We need to think of numerous ways to bring value to our clients, and becoming a holistic partner is the way to do it," said Doug Grabowski, managing he relationship between channel partners and their customers is changing. As connected systems become strategic, customers of all sizes want partners who can deliver platforms that solve their technology problems and add business value. From security to data storage to business appli- cations, we asked some of the indirect sector's top holistic part- ners to identify the most pressing pain points for clients and, thus, the biggest opportunities for you. partner of Grabowski Group Inc. "I'd venture to say while it may have been a 'nice concept to explore in 2014,' it's a business imperative in 2015." To accomplish this, however, partners need to understand the biggest issues their clients face, and some of the opportunities those challenges present. For the coming year, security, data storage and backup, and business applications stand out as some of the most problematic areas for end users to deal with on their own. With that in mind, here are the specific pain points, subsequent partner opportunities and best practices to follow, as laid out by several of the indirect channel's holistic leaders. Security PAIN POINTS Cyber attacks BYOD, managing and securing all the employee devices accessing company applications and data Monitoring employee behavior, whether that means making sure they don't engage in risky Internet surfing, steal or share company information, or leave unsecured devices out in public OPPORTUNITIES Implement business-class firewalls with UTM. Install SaaS-based mobile device management that oversees all of the smartphones, tablets, laptops and other gadgets that connect to the business network. Deploy network security monitoring that can see employee activity including surfing, keystrokes, document sharing and email. — DAVID DECAMILLIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF SALES AND MARKETING, PLATTE RIVER NETWORKS Data Storage and Backup PAIN POINTS People haven't used SAN storage/disaster recovery to enable business continuity in case of failure. Companies are still using obsolete technology such as tape drives because they either don't understand or don't trust cloud storage. They also don't understand disaster recovery capabilities or the downfalls of technologies such as tape. They believe a reliable disaster recovery solution is in place when, in reality, vulnerabilities exist. Data growth is harder to control, making it challenging for SMBs to implement afford- able disaster recovery platforms. OPPORTUNITIES Help clients understand their recovery time and recovery point objectives. Guide them through the financial and operational benefits and drawbacks of the different recovery alternatives. Include a DRaaS platform in your portfolio. Design a production environment that relies on hybrid cloud DRaaS to sustain clients' uptime goals. This will create a continuity plan that mitigates the impact of any downtime. –JOHN FAKHOURY, CEO, FRAMEWORK COMMUNICATIONS T

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