Artificial Intelligence (AI). Virtual Reality (VR). Cognitive computing, biometrics and more.
Every one of these technologies, not to mention blockchain, 3-D printing and managed print services, will impact channel organizations this year. (For insights as to how, see The VAR Guy editor-in-chief (EiC) Kris Blackmon’s story on hype versus reality.)
We will examine several technologies in this month’s special Channel Group package. It will include contributions from Talkin’ Cloud EiC Nicole Henderson and MSPmentor EiCAldrin Brown, who is gearing up to launch the 2017 MSP 501 study and ranking. (Stay tuned.)
As for me, I want to take a minute and recognize the business innovations that I see all around. They include clever marketing campaigns, innovative services models, digital transformations and more. In no specific order, here are a few worth noting:
Channel Program Smarts: February means three things in the U.S.: Groundhog Day, Valentines Day and Security Week, otherwise known as RSA Security 2017. Security vendor Kaspersky is a Silver Sponsor of the RSA event this year. It is also a company doing some clever things from a channel program point of view. In January 2017, the company unveiled new benefits for partners, including more rewards, training, incentives and support. It also introduced a new MSP Program for partners. From the company:
Kaspersky Lab has witnessed many partners make the transition from their traditional value-added reseller (VAR) model to a managed service provider (MSP) business model. With these changes, the company’s partner needs have evolved. Kaspersky Lab recognizes this and integrations for MSPs with popular remote monitoring and managing (RMM) platforms, such as Connectwise and LabTech, are now available to its channel partners. With these integrations, MSPs can manage Kaspersky Lab’s comprehensive portfolio of security solutions from a single, centralized console, streamlining the process of deploying and managing security across customers’ entire IT infrastructure.
“Kaspersky and Kaspersky’s products have always had an allure in the MSP community,” says Michael Canavan, senior vice president of corporate sales at Kaspersky. “The value is based around the efficacy of the product and the capability of detection.”
“MSPs can recognize that value proposition better than almost any customer globally because of the fact that they see such a diversity of environments,” he adds. “…As their businesses have evolved, we have looked at ways to streamline our products so they fit more into that mold.”
The new offerings from Kaspersky are not replacement products and services per se, but much better aligned with MSP businesses, he adds—and perfectly suited to MSPs’ needs.
Business Model Innovation: Founded in 1980, Sirius Computer Solutions is one of the largest IT solutions integrators in the U.S. It offers everything from data center technology to security services, mobile solutions to converged infrastructure and more. It does so for every one from “small businesses with fewer than 500 employees to large enterprises with thousands of employees and hundreds of locations.”
Of late, it has developed vertical market expertise in government, healthcare, retail and insurance. It has also jumped into cloud, managed services and applications development in a big way. It’s doing everything experts advise for thriving in the new digital economy, in other words.
Now the company offers to help customers take physical assets and capabilities and translate them into new digital offerings. How so? By getting deeply involved in the “API Economy,” which it describes as, “The Secret Sauce Behind Cloud, Mobile and Social.” According to Sirius:
To retain customers and tap into new markets, today’s businesses have to build agile applications that are designed to interact, share, consume and even manipulate data all at the same time, with user response times measured in milliseconds.
Organizations are looking to support a broader ecosystem of partners in order to reach new customers, meet the increasing expectations of existing customers, and open up new markets. To drive new sources of revenue, acquire more clients or partners, share data and grow their business, organizations of all sizes must transform themselves to offer their services in a digital form.
No wonder the company was recently honored with the Tableau 2016 North & South America Emerging Partner of the Year Award.
Marketing Innovation: Speaking of awards winners, Infinit Consulting is a Silicon Valley-based technology consultancy that positions itself as the cutting edge of digital innovation. It’s also a Channel Partners 360 Award winner. Infinit is fond of saying things like, “Transforming your business to include a cloud strategy is no longer a question of ‘if,’ but ‘when’.”
We set out to empower business to embrace the potential of IT. This ideology has resulted in hundreds of companies finding technology solutions to business problems and paved the way for INFINIT to be recognized as an IT and Cloud services industry leader.
What particularly resonates with small customers is the company’s aggressive albeit approachable “Digital Transformation for Business” services that are designed to “address the needs of companies that are under-utilizing the cloud and missing out on the advantages technology brings to the workplace.”
The company’s services portfolio includes everything an organization needs to transform its business, including month-to-month contracts, per-user pricing, immediate chat and affordable phone support.
To end customers, the managed services are “a digital transformation engine providing next level security solutions and custom development capabilities for application integration (web, mobile, and cloud), data warehouse automation, business intelligence and advanced analytics,” according to the company.
Now that's clever.