The days of companies owning and running all their IT systems for themselves are numbered and perhaps have even disappeared already. The data and digital-driven age in which we all now operate means that IT departments have to be able to reassess, reconfigure and repurpose technology in order to keep up with the ever-changing market demands. Owning fixed and relatively inflexible IT assets is becoming a liability. Instead “X as a Service” offerings look to offer flexibility that modern business demands.
Whilst most companies will try to keep some IT and infrastructure in-house, it is likely that applications and services around that infrastructure will all be outsourced. Doing so gives IT managers the flexibility and freedom they require. This is especially true since traditional backroom IT functions can now also be delivered via cloud and as a service. At the same time, many IT professionals are looking at operational expenditure as a primary way of funding IT operations.
In the past Value-added Resellers (VAR) operated by identifying the solution you need, recommending the best hardware and software to fulfil that need, put that into a proposal and if you liked the price, they would sell it to you. More technically proficient VARs would install and implement the solution and offer support contracts on it also.
That model is becoming outdated. Consuming IT as a utility is a reality with benefits that outweigh the purchase and own. So this raises the question of whether there is a place for the traditional VAR in this new “as a Service” world.
The reality is VAR’s have always offered expertise. They assess different competing solutions on the market and make recommendations, they take time to understand cost and licensing models to ensure their customers are not overcharged, and they add expertise over the top of the solutions that vendors provide. With cloud and service based offerings – none of these skills become redundant. But how they are delivered needs to change.
To remain relevant to companies that consume IT, VARs have to evolve and deliver services not products. In effect, they need to become Managed Service Providers (MSPs). If your VAR does not enable you to buy IT as a service, they are likely to hold your business back.
Becoming an MSP is not easy, for many VAR’s they simply don’t have the scale to build out a cost-effective cloud infrastructure that can be marketed as a managed service. Instead, they need to partner with a new breed of “born in the cloud” vendors that provide technology that allows partners to build MSP offerings using infrastructure that the vendor makes available.
Datto is one of these vendors delivering technology that allows VARs to build comprehensive backup and continuity MSP offerings. They have a whole suite of data protection based offerings that have been built in a way where a traditional VAR can add value and expertise over the top and packaged together with Datto’s technology to offer customised Data Protection managed services, charged on a recurring billing operational cost model.
The beauty is that maintenance, upgrades and new functionality all happens in the background, handled by Datto and your MSP (or former VAR), leaving you free to focus on core activities that take the business forward. If business requirements demand technical changes, then your MSP handles that in the background. Gone are the days of trying to retrofit your existing dates in-house technology to new business demands.
If your VAR is still pushing to on-premise solutions based on capital acquisition and has no options for you to consume IT as a service, you have to question whether they are supporting your business in the right way. In short, if your VAR is not transforming and building MSP offerings, then they are likely to hamper your companies own digital transformation.