This is the year of opportunity for VARs

“Those with the expertise to assemble a secure cloud environment will prosper the most”
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Indi Sall, technical director at NG Bailey’s IT services division, explores why contradictions in corporate cloud mean opportunities for value-added resellers in 2015.

As 2015 takes shape, it’s safe to say that the cloud has well and truly won the confidence of consumers. Apps like Skype, Gmail and Dropbox are now firmly entrenched in our digital lives. Indeed so popular have these tools proven to be, that their casual deployment in the workplace is starting to cause IT managers real headaches; these apps fly in the face of most enterprise networks’ requirements for security, quality of service and reliability.

Nervous business owners and board directors have exacerbated the problem. Paradoxically, security fears have caused them to hold back on cloud migration, which, in turn, has created a demand vacuum resulting in workers choosing to arbitrarily install their favoured cloud applications on the network, in a bid to replicate at work the convenience they enjoy at home.

But the tide is turning; 2015 will be a year of opportunity for VARs. Those with the acumen and expertise to assemble a secure, multi-application corporate cloud environment that is tailor-made for their clients’ businesses, will prosper the most.

Microsoft Office 365, for example, is hoovering up corporate subscribers, many of whom don’t realise that they can voice activate their subscription by integrating Microsoft Lync (soon to become ‘Skype for Business’). When integrated appropriately, this single move could enable a business to ditch its legacy phone system entirely and replace it with an OPEX based VAR-managed service.

As enterprise businesses have grown over time, many have deployed a range of different solutions, usually in a bid to satisfy varying demands from different departments. This has resulted in systems overlap, resulting in redundant functionality and problems with integration that are causing widespread inconsistency in business processes. All of which needlessly hike infrastructure TCO.

The opportunity for VARs lies in helping these organisations gain control of their cloud assets, consolidate where appropriate and put in place a tailored best-of- everything model. But to truly capitalise on this market, VARs need both vision and sensitivity. There is vast potential for the channel in remote access VPNs, BYOD integration, collaboration tools, IP-telephony, network security, authentication and myriad other cloud-enabling technologies, but first the client’s trust must be won through the demonstration of technical expertise and its application to their unique business needs.

Only when the reseller truly appreciates the contradictions and complexities that make up today’s corporate attitudes to the cloud will this new age of IT truly begin to flourish.

About the author

Indi Sall is technical director for NG Bailey's IT services division.

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