Comstor, Presidio team on managed services

David McNicholas, US Director of strategic business development at Comstor.

David McNicholas, US Director of strategic business development at Comstor.

One of Cisco’s largest U.S. channel partners has signed on to provide white labeled managed services through Westcon Group’s Comstor Cisco-focused distribution unit.

Under a deal announced Tuesday, Comstor will market managed services around Peak Colo’s Cisco-powered cloud offerings by Presidio to its channel partners – in the U.S. at first and later across North America – as part of a way for partners “to get into the game and not have to scrum around with the self-service model of Amazon,” according to David McNicholas, US Director of strategic business development at Comstor.

“It lets them leverage everything they’ve invested in their Cisco practice into a cloud play, and we can get them there in 90 to 120 days,” McNicholas said. “The whole go-to-market will accelerate the sales of hardware and gear for the partners.”

At the core of it is the ability for partners to outsource their own cloud plans to Presidio’s managed network operating centre, a factor given the time and expense involved in rolling one’s own NOC. Partners have access to the hypervisor and backup solution of their choice under the joint solution.

“Most partners in the mid-tier can now get to market with a full cloud offering without being a multi-million dollar player,” McNicholas said.

As well as bringing the pieces together for the solution, Comstor adds in training on both the offerings and its “executive relevance selling” sales methodologies, which aim to train partners on the much vaunted goal of selling based on business outcomes and therefore appealing to the c-suite and line of business leaders. McNicholas said the distributor has been developing the model for more than five years now, and the move to the cloud is a great opportunity to expand its footprint.

In addition to that sales training, the distributor is developing several tools and options to support partners in their move towards the cloud, including what it calls a “CFO on retainer” to help solution providers work through many of the cash flow and sales compensation issues associated with moving to the recurring revenue-based model of cloud from a traditional project-based revenue model. While Comstor declined to specifically name the former solution provider CFO who would be providing those services, McNicholas did note that the individual they’re working with is the former CFO of a major Canadian VAR.

The partnership between Presidio and Comstor is currently focused on the U.S. reseller market, but McNicholas said the distributor plans to open the managed services up to Comstor’s Canadian partners by the end of the year.

“We’re excited to get into Canada, and we hope Canada is excited to have us there,” he said.

While some U.S.-based partners might have competitive fears with Presidio, a powerhouse in the Cisco partner community in the U.S., behind the product even in a white-label fashion, those concerns should be decreased in the Canadian market, where Presidio is not a major player.