While Channel Plays A Key Role In Delivering Cloud Services, Data Is The Heart Of The Ecosystem

Praveen Sahai

Vice President, Channels, Alliances & Service Provider, APJC, Commvault 

As the Singapore technology landscape continues to evolve, both small and large organisations are increasingly placing their trust in cloud to access enterprise-class technology without making a dent in their bank. This is especially evident in Asia, where IDC predicts that cloud will surpass on-premises infrastructure as the primary location for operational data for 65% of Asia-based organisations by 2025.  

With cloud becoming more ubiquitous, channels partners today play a critical role in empowering customers to have a seamless experience. From providing essential expertise to delivering comprehensive solutions, channel partners are vital in helping businesses make the most of cloud technology.

A Land of Opportunities

Cloud and service-based models are being viewed as a hot-pot of opportunities which can bring numerous benefits to organisations. However, there is a growing demand for more tech workers with specialised skills — especially in cloud management, as Singapore evolves to achieve its cloud migration targets, shifting 70% of its less sensitive government systems and data onto the commercial cloud by 2023. Outsourcing cloud services to a channel partner allows businesses to access enterprise-class technology, as well as specialised skills and resources in a more cost-effective way.

Contrary to preconceived notions, cloud does not cut out the middleman, nor does it remove the need for the channel. Rather, it opens up new opportunities for channel partners to add value and deliver solutions that make a real positive impact to businesses. For businesses themselves, this allows them to access scarce IT skills and resources alongside the latest evolutions in technology, enabling them to compete on a global scale.

Consider Them as Solutions, Not Products

The role of the channel is constantly shifting. In today’s fast-paced environment, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) complements other service-based offerings and skilled resources to deliver complete managed solutions. The differentiator here is having the relevant skills that enable them to offer SaaS quickly. And, this is where vendor partners need to come into play.

Vendors need to work with distributors and resellers to ensure that their channel ecosystem is robust to deliver value-added services and solutions. It is not simply about going through the motions of getting certifications just for checking it off a list. The solution has to enable businesses to add value for their customers. Channel partners who understand how to leverage cloud services and package them into user-friendly and intuitive solutions for customers stand higher chances of gaining their trust and being successful.  

Don’t Forget the Data

Cloud offers access to technology, without the need of a massive infrastructure budget, and organisations are spoiled for choice by what’s out there. However, data remains critical as it has to be stored, accessed and processed in the cloud, and in most cases, across multiple clouds.

For one thing, with load shedding — which is a technique to remove excess load from the system to improve processing speeds — network access can be compromised. Imagine having data in the cloud platform and yet, the customer is unable to access it. In addition, while the cloud provider is responsible for ensuring that data is easily accessible, customers have a part to play by practicing good cyber hygiene.

Along with other elements like data and ransomware protection delivered as-a-service, data management and disaster recovery are also offerings that channel partners should always look to include in their basket of solutions. The goal should be to deliver a complete strategy that integrates various technologies on the back end and offer customers a seamless front-end experience through a single pane of glass.

Tailored Solutions Are Key 

With cloud adoption, many products have become a commodity that anyone can access. Taking the time to understand the customer, assessing the environment, and bringing the relevant solutions together to deliver a strategy to resolve business pain points is the key to competitor differentiation.

For instance, SriLankan Airlines approached Commvault with the request to modernise their data management system, improve labour-intensive data recovery from tapes when they required a fast response to critical safety audits, and minimise IT team workloads. In tailoring a solution for SriLankan Airlines, Commvault’s Backup & Recovery solutions were implemented by engaging with partner company South Asian Technologies and VS Information Systemes. They were able to recover data rapidly in on-premise environments, including Microsoft Exchange and Oracle Database. The results were positive — with a 33% gain in data management efficiency. It also allowed SriLankan Airlines to meet compliance requirements for regulatory and safety audits, which is crucial in their line of work. The time saved gave airline employees more opportunity to focus on driving value for the business, instead of repetitive tasks. 

With cloud becoming an integral part of the IT infrastructure, it is essential to remember that the channel partners have an important role to play in delivering value-added services and solutions, and closely collaborating with their ecosystems. Data remains a critical element in the cloud ecosystem, and channel partners must ensure that data management, disaster recovery, and other security features are part of their offering. Ultimately, cloud technology and channel partners working together will empower businesses to compete on a global scale.