Solution providers are becoming independent software vendors
Keynote speaker Nimesh Dave, global cloud executive VP at Ingram Micro, sees IaaS (infrastructure as a service) as being a growing opportunity for partners. “Last year, we weren’t seeing many IaaS sales coming through the channel, but now we’re seeing a fairly significant amount from around the globe. And the sizes of the deals are evolving as well. They’ve gone from small deals to multimillion-dollar ones.”
Dave also suggested that that all solution providers will eventually have their own intellectual property, leading to resellers more closely resembling ISVs (independent software vendors). Cisco recognizes the software development trend, confirmed by its announcement on May 1 that it’s providing Kubernetes (an open-source system for managing containerized workloads and services) support for AppDynamics and Cisco CloudCenter. The news means Cisco partners can quickly and confidently adopt Kubernetes in production and create and modernize their applications for the multicloud era.
AI and the self-service trend
Renee Bergeron, Ingram Micro’s senior VP of global cloud, outlined how channel partners need to move across the four stages of cloud services to maximize annual recurring revenues. The final stage, she suggests, involves partners rolling out self-service capabilities for customers to more easily consume IT services. The 2112 Group’s Larry Walsh agrees with this assessment, adding, “A large part of the channel’s future is rooted in automated digital sales. Vendors need to start evaluating their options and planning their execution of ADS.”
A key driver behind the self-service and business automation trends is artificial intelligence (AI), which is another area where Cisco is focusing its attention. On May 1, the company announced its decision to acquire Accompany, a privately held company based in Los Altos, Calif., for $270 million. Accompany provides an AI-driven relationship intelligence platform for finding new prospects, navigating the selling process and strengthening relationships. Its AI technology and talent will help Cisco accelerate priority areas across its collaboration portfolio, such as providing user and company profile data in Webex meetings. “By combining Accompany’s relationship intelligence capability with Cisco’s award-winning collaboration product portfolio, customers will be able to more intelligently collaborate with employees, customers and partners,” said Accompany founder and CEO, Amy Chang. The Accompany team will join the Cisco Collaboration Technology Group under Chang’s leadership.
It’s a multicloud world
At the event, Cisco also shared with attendees that the future of cloud is “multicloud.” Research from IDC, for example, reveals that 87% of cloud users have taken steps toward a hybrid cloud strategy. And 94% of respondents say they’re using or plan to use multiple clouds. The same research found that the majority of organizations (56%) don’t have mature cloud strategies in place, which presents lots of business opportunities for channel partners.
Cisco has a strong multicloud play, including a hybrid IT services partnership with Google and the Cisco Integrated System for Microsoft Azure Stack solution, not to mention the following four components of its multicloud portfolio:
- Cloud Advisory. From inception to delivery, Cloud Advisory Service is positioned to help Cisco partners meet their customers’ unique goals in every phase of their cloud transformation journey through aligned, accelerated and actionable guidance. Cloud Advisory includes the following services:
- Strategy alignment and cloud roadmap. Create a strong foundation for your cloud strategy so you can achieve the benefits of cloud adoption and virtualization.
- Digital service assessment. Cisco cloud experts evaluate private, public and hybrid cloud options across multiple opportunities for infrastructure, applications, security and operations.
- Business operating model. With this service, partners can assess a customer’s current operating model and use key business objectives to recommend areas of focus and enhancement needed to implement the target operating model.
- Cloud Connect. This focus area comprises the Viptela cloud-first SD-WAN routers (vEdge and vEdge Cloud) along with Umbrella and CSR 1000V (a multiprotocol label-switching edge solution that’s used to aggregate multiple AWS regions across Adobe’s private backhaul).
- Cloud Protect. This area is made up of Cisco’s cloud security solutions and services, including Umbrella, AMP (advanced malware protection) for Endpoints, Meraki Systems Manager, Tetration Cloud and Cloudlock. (Note: Umbrella appears in Cloud Protect and Cloud Connect do to its dual role as a domain name system and security service.)
- Cloud Consume. This focus area includes CloudCenter (a user-created model that defines each application stack's deployment and management requirements in a cloud-independent format) and AppDynamics APM (an application performance management and IT operations analytics solution).
For more information on Cisco services and resources—including white papers, infographics, videos on demand, webinars and more—visit the Cisco Resource Center at imaginenext.ingrammicro.com/.