Photo by Nigel TreblinGetty Images

(Photo by Nigel Treblin/Getty Images)

Leveraging IT Distributors for Cloud

Unsure of how to make money offering cloud? Leverage your IT distributors for their cloud-type offerings to find out which cloud services fit your needs. Here are the details.

The cloud — the most ambiguous, overhyped and overused term in the IT industry. It's like a modern day Wild West where it is so hard to discern the difference between the tiny firms based in a foreign country and the reputable, reliable and trustworthy ones we would want to entrust our reputation to. It is nearly impossible for most of us to determine the firms you can trust, what products actually work and what providers are properly capitalized to the point where we can trust them with our clients. We simply don’t have the staff of accounting, legal and technology experts to do a detailed analysis of firms and offerings — and then keep up with the market to ensure the best solution now remains the best going forward. Add to that the never ending temptation for businesses to "cut us out" of the mix and go direct, and you have a situation where managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs) are facing many tough and risky decisions just when our businesses and profits are returning to normal levels.

Enter our trusted partners for so many years, the distributors. They are now offering services related to cloud-type offerings just like they have for many years regarding hardware and software. They serve as an intermediary that helps us understand the options, determine what solution is best for our needs and takes steps to ensure that vendors are trustworthy. The net result is that they empower and protect our firms at the same time in a way that no other industry or firm could do.

Leading distributors have come to market with cloud offerings where they have pre-vetted the vendors and created a marketplace where we can easily understand and compare options and simply focus on the solution fit instead of the firms behind them. They even offer experts on staff to help us determine what solutions best fit our needs and give us multiple options based on their portfolio of pre-selected firms. Bottom line, they are doing exactly what they have been doing for decades — helping firms navigate what is clearly the ‘wild west’ of our industry.

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Tech Data (TECD), Ingram Micro (IM), Arrow Electronics and others clearly have teams of people with the experience in and passion for the cloud to make a difference in our businesses. They have a robust portfolio of cloud solutions that have been vetted and agreements in place to protect the firms that buy thru them. If you think about it, they have a vested interest in protecting us, as we buy through them and not direct. If we take our chances and buy direct and the firm we are buying from decides to change the rules in their favor, we likely don’t have the time or financial resources to fight for our best interest.

The biggest surprise is this: We don’t seem to pay a single dime for the added protection or convenience of buying through them. The prices distributors market seem to be at or below those you get from buying direct, so why would we not trust the firms that have helped us for decades? Leverage your trusted distributors and make your life easier, your clients better off and your reputation safer.

How do you leverage your trusted distributors? How do you work with them to make your reputation safer?

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