Systems Integrators The Channel's Next Big Thing

This article was originally published on Channelnomics.

Channel partners play strong role in the cloud world

SIs are the channel's next big thing and current "hidden gem" due to their ability to help customers adapt to the cloud world, according to connectivity distributor TBI Inc.

In an interview with Channelnomics, Jeff Newton,VP of enterprise sales and engineering at TBI, said SIs will be some of the leaders "in the next wave as the traditional agent" chooses to either retire or sell their business.

SIs will have a strong impact thanks to their role in helping customers in areas like Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure workloads - for example, by discussing how to tie them into Salesforce, Microsoft Office and others and pointing out network, cloud and infrastructure offerings to tack on top.

"If you look at them in the terms of DevOps or people who make all the APIs talk to one another - which is what I think they want to [be classified as] but might not [be] - that will be huge. They probably have the most to gain out of the channel over the next five years," Newton told Channelnomics.

Other emerging opportunities for solution providers to watch include SD-WAN, according to the executive, who notes that mergers and acquisitions from players like Cisco and "confusion" in this space is good for the voice, internet, data mobility, cloud and managed services master agent.

"With all of the options there's more confusion and….one carrier is going to tell you why they're a great fit no matter what, but we can say ‘Take a step back. With those guys you have to have an international presence, with these guys you're okay if they bring their own network, those guys have to be collocated here'," he said.

Geoffrey Shepstone, president of TBI, added that most solution providers are trying their hands in the SD-WAN market but some aren't getting the traction "they should" because they lack the services necessary to make SD-WAN programs successful.

According to the exec, to kick off an SD-WAN practice channel partners typically need a little more support in the beginning.

"If they're doing it now and are not getting a lot of traction they ought to consider an alternative. Making 100 percent of nothing is still nothing," he told Channelnomics. "If you go to the carrier and try to do it on your own, then re-examine your business and consider an alternative where maybe you're going to make less because with responsibilities comes rewards, but the net can be a lot greater than what you're getting…now."

Security is also a huge area of opportunity for VARs and MSPs, Newton added, noting this includes security on the software side and in integration through some of the public cloud infrastructures available. Shortly after the next year, the exec expects the majority of channel sales and commissions to be security-related.

"There will always be network, cloud and voice, but the main driver behind why customers are making the decisions are going to be more centered on accessibility to public cloud infra and [if] it is secure," Newton said.


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TBI is the nation’s leading third-party technology distributor. Since 1991, it has assisted Systems Integrators, VARs, MSPs, IT consultants, developers, software distributors and more in advising and sourcing the right technology solutions. TBI serves as a partner’s advocate, ensuring the proper provisioning of cloud, Internet, data, mobility, voice, and managed services from best-in-class service providers to achieve clients’ desired business outcomes. Through training and marketing programs focused on the benefits of technology to the business, TBI empowers its partners to be the foremost authority to advise and source all their clients’ technology needs. With the largest back-office in the industry, TBI partners are fully supported by pre- and post-sales operations, project managers, and solutions engineers certified in the latest industry-leading technologies.