Distributor Westcon Group is piloting its own cloud managed services and syndication platform among reseller partners in NZ.
The platform, which is expected to go live on the 1st of September, is intended to make cloud provisioning and billing easier for vendor and reseller partners, while giving customers the ability customers to purchase SaaS and IaaS offerings through a network of select resellers.
"New Zealand is the first market globally that we have targeted with the platform. This is because the country has been much faster and is ahead in terms of cloud adoption. We felt the market was ready for it. We have signed up eight vendors to the platform, including Amazon and Symantec. We have currently got three resellers in NZ live on it. Two more are in development phase and we are likely to start the development phase with eight more partners soon.
"If all goes well, and we expect it to be nothing otherwise, then the testing phase in New Zealand will be followed by a global launch of the platform later this year," said Dolph Westerbos, global CEO of Westcon Group.
Westerbos, who has been in the position since January this year, was visiting NZ for the first time.
Resellers and their customers will be able to procure and manage their own services via the platform. End users will be able to manage and maintain their cloud licenses, view their cloud consumption and charges from within a single portal.
According to Westcon, vendor cloud services will be integrated through authorised resellers into a single bill, and presented in NZ dollars to customers. The cloud platform comes with white-labelling options, so resellers can affix their own brand to it when providing services to customers.
"We have consciously limited the number of web stores in New Zealand. We have been selective with partners, and have chosen ones across market segments. We have been careful about the process because we don't want to flood the market," said Darryl Grauman, national manager of services and innovation at Westcon NZ.
Cyclone Ltd is one of Westcon Group's inaugural resellers working on the cloud platform.
"We see this service operating alongside the work done by resellers in the country. The physical and the digital will continue to exist side-by-side as most IT in organisations work on hybrid models," said Dave Rosenberg, MD of Westcon NZ.
The cloud platform provides a new revenue stream for the company, not just giving it the capability to add more service-only vendors, but also allowing local resellers to become cloud vendors.
Rosenberg also pointed out that NZ cloud service providers can make their services available to a worldwide customer base through Westcon's platform and its global reach.
Addressing the media on other changes within Westcon, Westerbos said, "Over the last four years we were focused on geographic expansion. That is pretty much over. Now our focus has shifted to building our capabilities out further.
"As part of that we have standardised solution sets and brands in the company, and worked to simplify our structure internally. Some of the capabilities that we have added, besides the cloud platform, is our financing effort and global services."
According to Westerbos, financial services will help resellers make the difficult shift from a capex model to an opex, business-outcome oriented model.
"This is a difficult transition for both vendor and reseller. As a distributor we want to pay a key role in providing access to capital that can help these firms in the transition," said Westerbos.
The global services arm will aim to provide consistency of service provision and operation to vendors and customers in the company's countries of operation.
Westerbos added that the company will be looking to make some acquisitions in the next few months to add scale and capability to its cloud offering.
"We are stepping into territory where we are not entirely sure of what the ROI is likely to be. Nobody is there yet. For us, this is about shaping the market and the industry, rather than just following it. There is enormous scope in this space and we don't want to risk being just a bystander. This is a big bet for us," concluded Westerbos.