'7 Minutes' with Nerdio EVP of Channel Sales and Business Development Paul Guerin

Nerdio lives up to its name with a fully integrated Azure stack, from Office 365 to VDI to backups, security and storage.

Lorna Garey

September 8, 2017

7 Min Read

**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**

Nerdio understands the channel because it started out as an IT service provider back in 2005. Today, it offers its own branded private cloud stack in an IT-as-a-service model and recently launched Nerdio for Azure. The branded Nerdio cloud bundle includes hosted Windows VDI via VMware Horizon with Microsoft Office 365 installed on up to five machines (and unlimited mobile devices) for each user, virtual Windows Server 2016 and 2012 R2 instances, Active Directory, comprehensive security. and a unified backup/disaster recovery module with one-hour RPO guarantees and hot-site standby. The Nerdio automation platform provides provisioning, management and optimization tailored to the needs of MSPs and CSPs.


Nerdio’s Paul Guerin

It’s an easy way for partners to offer a private cloud without doing integration, and the message seems to be resonating: Nerdio recently reached a petabyte’s worth of data transfers per month. We asked the company’s channel chief, Paul Guerin, what’s behind that growth. Guerin, whose official title is SVP of sales and business development, started his career as part of the original executive sales team for Lotus Development Corp. and was most recently CEO of Rebit and Jabber. He says the company is moving toward a 100-percent channel model and is looking at adding support for AWS and Google Cloud Platform. Partners looking for a cloud story for SMB customers, as well as agents looking to get into the MSP or CSP business , will want to take a look.

Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?

Paul Guerin: Customers love our software solutions for their intuitive automation and ease of implementation — that’s our secret sauce.

Nerdio for Azure (NFA) offers ridiculously simple provisioning, management and optimization of complete IT environments in the Microsoft Cloud. It empowers managed-service-provider partners to streamline deployments and management, enhance global reach, and more. They can thus migrate entire IT environments to Azure in just a few clicks and only a couple of hours.

Nerdio for Private Cloud on the other hand is a complete iT-as-a-service platform which allow organizations to take advantage of flexible, affordable, fully integrated IT infrastructure, including unlimited virtual servers, virtual desktops, security, disaster recovery, the complete Microsoft suite and more.

Whether it’s Nerdio for Azure or Nerdio for Private Cloud, our partners are in awe of the time and money they save. I think there would be a strong agreement among the CSPs who service the SMB marketplace that it is increasingly moving toward advanced cloud services — and that in order to stay competitive, this must be baked into …

… their business strategy. It is estimated that Microsoft alone is adding as many as 50,000 new Office 365 users a month! The question, though, is not only how to migrate their customers to the cloud, but how to do so profitably. Many cloud services, like backup and IaaS, have already been commoditized, and margins are low. This is where a comprehensive offering like ITaaS can be strategically advantageous.

CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features?

PG: Our Nerdio for Private Cloud partner program is specifically crafted to alleviate the challenges facing MSPs in today’s market of lower margins, higher operating costs and demanding clients. We don’t just want to enhance what they’re doing with the Nerdio platform, but empower them both with high margins and additional revenue-generating consulting services opportunities. Additionally, both Nerdio Private Cloud and Nerdio for Azure have, as a key objective, lowering the bar on the complexity and technical skills needed to deploy an advanced cloud service such as virtual desktops.

The most unique thing about our partner program is the completely personalized array of marketing and sales support services at no extra charge. We offer each of our MSPs a customized program to suit their needs, which includes everything from email marketing and case-study creation to product training and go-to-market strategic counseling. Nerdio partners also get exclusive access to the Nerdio Partner Portal, which has deal-registration functionality along with a variety of ready-made marketing, sales and technical collateral.

The program is definitely selective, and while we don’t currently have a certification program, we are planning to develop one down the line as a benefit to our partners.

CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.

PG: Forecast that 75 percent of new sales will be through channel in 2017. In terms of number of partners, being cognizant of the 80-20 rule, we tend to be very selective. As such, we’re not looking to sign up a high volume of partners, but rather the right partners — both in terms of MSPs/CSPs and distributors. Average margin for our managed-services partners, for example, is a very healthy 47 percent.

CP: Who are your main competitors, and what makes your offering better?

PG:  When it comes to Nerdio for Private Cloud, there are many seeming competitors who offer piece parts such as VDI, DaaS, monitoring or BDR. The difference is that we enable a complete IT-as-a-service and there are few players who are in this emerging space — itopia, CloudJumper, and IndependenceIT come to mind. There are of course others who target the enterprise space, but our sweet spot is the underserved small- and medium-size business (SMB) space — and we do this through our managed-services partners.

With Nerdio for Azure, there are again only seeming competitors — MyCloudIT being the closest to one. The real competition of sorts is inertia in some organizations, particularly managed-services providers, who either would rather do things old-school or are still waiting for …

… the market for advanced cloud services in Azure to mature. That being said, the shift from on-premises to cloud is happening in the SMB space, and it’s no longer a question of if, but when.

CP: How do you think your technology portfolio will change in the next three years?

PG:  Adding support for the Amazon and Google public clouds would be a logical thing to do. Plus, we will continue our focus of making the onboarding, deployment and management of ITaaS as automated as possible. By concentrating on ease-of-use and automation of the everyday tasks an MSP deals with when managing an IT deployment, you increase the number of customers a partner can service while simultaneously lowering the associated costs. This is always a good thing.

CP: How do you expect your channel strategy to evolve over that time frame?

PG: I expect that both the number of new accounts and percentage of MRR we generate will continue to shift in favor of the channel. We also expect to see the percentage of customers deployed in public clouds such as Azure to be a fundamental shift. Coincidental with both of these trends, our geographic coverage will expand both domestically and internationally as we continue the transformation of our company to a channel-only model.

CP: What didn’t we ask that partners should know?

PG: On both the private- and the public-cloud sides, we are seeing a great deal of interest from both partners and their customers. It’s clear that organizations big and small, private and public, domestic and international, are ready to move away from traditional on premises infrastructure and embrace the cloud in a big way.

With the introduction of Nerdio Private Cloud in 2016 and Nerdio for Azure in 2017, Nerdio has shifted its business model from that of a service provider to a technology vendor. Consistent with this shift, and in order to expand its market coverage, Nerdio has become a channel-centric company. With the introduction of our channel program in 2016, and its continued expansion in 2017, including internationally, Nerdio is seeing the size of deals from channel partners increase as partner-placed orders ramp up. The company is pleased with the expanded market presence that is resulting from this partner activity.

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