Resellers need to become IT superheroes in the software-defined era

There has always been a need for resellers and partners to adapt and change to new developments in the market. The future, it is said, lies in software – with even the slowest, most conservative industries being disrupted by innovative, software-led business models.

The names most closely associated with market-shaking disruption owe everything to software-enabled differentiation: Uber, Deliveroo, and Netflix have all revamped the services traditional offered by competitors via a customer-centric software layer.

This trend has, in turn, changed the way the IT industry approaches infrastructure – with the mainstream now turning to the cloud in order to build the new and more fluid infrastructures needed to cope with the software gold rush.

Preparing for a new world

This all presents resellers with expanded opportunities. But the change in IT is so fast and far-reaching that many resellers will need to undergo an almost complete metamorphosis. They will need to rebuild their approach from the ground-up; developing the capabilities to offer customers the dynamic agility they will increasingly expect from their IT.

Some vendors have already adapted their approach. VMware for instance has adopted a ‘one cloud, any application, any device’ model that enables organisations to develop, deploy and use applications quickly and securely.

But let’s be clear – it is the customer that is driving this need for change, not us. We are simply responding and focusing all our energy on their evolving needs for software-defined infrastructures that will support more flexible services and on-demand deployment.

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In this new era, customers want IT systems that are can be scaled and adapted instantly. They will expect their solutions provider to have the same qualities, to be capable of offering them option to run critical business and productivity apps on-premise or in the cloud; and to provide a complete software-defined infrastructure that is virtual and scalable and can take advantage of public IaaS. They will want IT partners to be capable of designing, delivering and supporting all of these solutions and services too.

This will be a colossal challenge for what we call ‘resellers’ now.

Imagine, for example, the complexity and planning that would be required to take a customer organisation that today, runs all everything across a physical data centre and network infrastructure, with mobile users connecting via VPNs, and hands-on management, to a system that is completely cloud-based and uses software-defined networking to provide every user with secure anytime-anywhere access with totally dynamic and scalable systems that are monitored and managed remotely.

Finding your super power

To provide all this, ‘resellers’ will need to become IT and business ‘superheroes’, capable of understanding detailed customer requirements and business objectives, and delivering and supporting highly complex technology systems upon which those customers will depend entirely.

They will need their own resilient infrastructure and 24/7 support services. Or to develop a watertight ecosystem of partnerships that will enable then to meet the much greater demands that will be placed upon them by customers.

They will also need to mirror the new and more dynamic business structures being adopted by their customers, abandoning the pre-defined silos that separated the data centre from the network and from security and management services, for one that is much more fluid and integrated.

By doing all of this, resellers can become not just IT suppliers, but transformation partners for their customers. It’s a daunting challenge, but one that we believe partners must embrace.

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The stakes in this new era are going to be considerably higher, both for customers and for the resellers and integrator businesses that serve them. Of course, some reseller businesses have already started transitioning their business and developing these capabilities. Others are only just beginning to understand what will be required.

Vendors are ready to form strong partnerships with those who do want to make the journey. Customers are starting to envision the IT infrastructures they will need in the future; reseller businesses that want to become their trusted partners and providers of solutions, technology and services, need to start building their capabilities now.

Sourced from Phil Croxford, Director, Alliances & Channels, UK & Ireland, VMware

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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