Customers Need Partners to Help Navigate New Digital Ecosystem

Customers are tapping into an ecosystem of suppliers and partners to implement their digital transformation strategies.

Christine Horton, Contributing Editor

April 17, 2023

4 Min Read
digital ecosystem

A strategy that embraces the power of the digital ecosystem is critical for customer success, according to recent Equinix data.

The research shows that in just three years, 80% of Fortune Global 2000 digital leaders will interconnect with more than four hyperscale providers and more than 30 SaaS/business partners. The channel will be critical in helping customers navigate the complexity of applications, systems, workloads, platforms and connectivity.

“Enterprises are looking to implement comprehensive solutions – not just point products – in their endeavor to be more efficient, save money, and target new revenue opportunities. They need specific solution design recommendations and assistance to implement and operate these solutions,” said Jules Johnston, SVP of channel, Equinix. “Tapping into an ecosystem of partners provides immense interoperability considerations grounded in years of experience.”

Jules Johnston is one of more than 150 channel visionaries and experts speaking at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. The event also features more than 375 ICT companies in the massive expo hall. Register now for the world’s largest independent channel event, May 1-4, at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

Johnston will delve into the opportunity for partners May 2 at the Channel Partners Conference & Expo. There, she will advise partners on how best to communicate the advantages of ecosystems to customers and prospects. Her session’s title is “The Digital-First Journey: Customers’ Infrastructures Are Now Their Ecosystems.” In advance of the event, Channel Futures spoke with Johnston about the new customer ecosystem.

Channel Futures: Can you explain how the channel’s role in help customers understanding the new ecosystem?


Equinix’s Jules Johnston

Jules Johnston: Channel partners bring best practices that come from being on the inside track — the track of numerous solution implementations and seeing the value of interconnectivity or private data exchange between various business partners firsthand. The increased complexity of digital modernization and hybrid multicloud as the architecture of choice opens tremendous opportunities to deliver value for all partner types: MSPs, NSPs, VARs, and SIs.

CF: What are some of the advantages of this digital ecosystem approach?

JJ: The pace of business today is faster than a millisecond. Organizations are banding together to form digital ecosystems that allow them to take advantage of compounding network effects to accelerate each other’s digital advantage. They’re stronger together because low-latency performance is vital to optimal user experience in a time where “instantaneous” has become the expectation.

Interconnected ecosystems enable the most rapid, secure and expansive connectivity options to critical solution elements that drive digital outcomes. Being able to physically and digitally connect to network providers, technology platforms, supply chain partners, customers and employees delivers better experiences and more predictable outcomes for all organizations. For partners, doing this successfully means faster revenue growth. Adding value is the best protection against revenue churn, hence stickier revenue retention.

CF: What are some of the customer considerations when implementing colocation and interconnection services?

JJ: Knowing where your data is generated, where it is consumed, and the importance of latency and security of applications dramatically impacts user experience and service adoption rates. Having this information is key for the partner ecosystem to recommend the right mix of networks, clouds, SaaS providers and other partners in order to offer a top-shelf experience, thereby improving customers’ speed to market, reliability, bandwidth, and security.

Another key consideration is around cloud egress costs. Private interconnection delivers the most cost-effective option to manage cloud egress charges while not sacrificing security or performance. This has become a critical consideration in today’s hybrid multicloud world.

Increasingly, sustainability is an important driver. The cost of power and the efficiency of how on-premises data centers are operated deliver significant cost risk for organizations.

CF: What steps can they take to help customers become digital-first by managing hybrid workloads?

JJ: After studying our 10,000+ customers and their approaches to digital transformation, Equinix distilled the most direct path to digital modernization into three steps:

  • Digital Core: modernize core functions like network modernization, dedicated cloud and cloud adjacent data (how you connect).

  • Digital Ecosystem: Interconnecting to key functions, services, marketplaces, or platforms like SaaS (who you connect to).

  • Digital Edge: enabling improved user experience, secure edge solutions, and intelligent edge technologies like AI (connecting at the edge).

Partners that map their services to these three steps have helped our shared customers deliver 60% or more total cost of ownership reduction. [They have also] improved application latency by 45% and realize 35 times better performance.

CF: Johnston believes the importance of partners helping organizations on their digital modernization journeys has never been greater.

JJ: “The move to a distributed multicloud architecture has increased complexity while also delivering tremendous value,” she said. “Partners are helping organizations identify key priorities, design outcome-based solutions, manage their assessments and migrations, and operate them as modern digital platforms.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.


About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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