August 25, 2014
By Steph Martin 1
As one of the newest members to join CompTIA’s Partner Advisory Council a few weeks ago I was immediately and affectionately dubbed the “poster child” for the Hybrid VAR. Along with my new and somewhat daunting poster child status, the council proceeded to essentially begin the evangelism of the newest buzz term for this mystical technology unicorn and so was born (pardon the pun) the “born in the cloud” partner — also known as me.
Now before I launch into the meaning of what is sure to explode into the newest cliche in an industry well-known for it’s overuse of acronyms and homegrown vernacular, I want to publicly set the record straight (mostly to put my children and friends at ease and dispel the confusion surrounding my miraculous mythological birth with this talk of the ever-elusive concept cloud computing). So elusive is this concept, despite years of trying and countless lame drawings and animated, hand-flailing; my baby-boomer mother still glazes over with confusion. I was in fact born in Huntington, New York and from what I’ve been told it wasn’t even cloudy that day. There, that’s better … let’s move on.
I love the new term. Honestly, I embrace it. It signifies a fresh, relevant and overarching way we can encapsulate the emergence of the hybrid solution provider ecosystem and tidal wave shift from traditional channel methodologies and models.
So what is a hybrid VAR? Put simply, partners focused purely on alliances with cloud solution vendors and the infinite need for professional services for the ever, increasing, long-line of “cloud-friendly” albeit “cloud-confused” clients banging down our doors.
For the a hybrid VAR who was born in the cloud — meaning we have never sold any hardware and launched directly into this evolutionary technology storm — it all came naturally.
The icing for me, however, is being part of the technology transformation of 15 plus years ago when 80 percent of our initial sales cycle was spent laboriously, espousing safety and security of cloud computing to the speculative IT gatekeeper before we could even begin to explain the benefits of our offering.
I now have what can only be deemed a salesperson’s “nirvana” with nary an IT hurdle in sight. A world of countless engagements with eager, cloud hungry CFOs and organization leaders enthusiastically clamoring for the benefits that cloud services provide.
Let look at those benefits and how they enable a born in the cloud VAR to help their clients. We clearly understand the true benefits of every solution and how it will improve their business because we USE every product we sell to run our own business. The core of our own company: Exigo Group is run on Zoho and the vast line of solutions they now bring to the table. It is the foundation of our business. From there, we continue to compliment our core platforms by layering on additional cloud solutions such as Google Biz Apps and Email. Ringio telephony and Hosted PBX. Vcita cloud calendar and more.
After heavy review and vetting, we hand-picked these core solutions specifically however; not merely for their features and muscle but ultimately because these wise vendors thought ahead and made integration seamless for us. Never heard of Ringio? Ah! This leads to the last nugget of wisdom I will leave with you all.
Gone are the days of vendors attracting us VARs with competitive margins, fancy advertising, glitz and glamour. Today’s VAR, if they wish to be stealthy and reduce bandwidth strain on their internal resources, have changed the game and introduced the “new” number one priority in their choices to align with a vendor partner. Move over SPIFFS and margins, API just pulled out from the backstretch! Summed up in yet another random cliche (vendors, are you listening?): “If you build the API, we will come!”.
After doing a little more research, it turns out it was very cloudy in Huntington the day I was born. I guess certain things are meant to be.
If you’re a hybrid VAR born in the cloud, what challenges are you facing in today’s market? What do you look for from your vendors?
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