A pair of new deals for Tech Data Canada illustrate the further mainstreaming of managed services in the channel – addressing security and mobility, respectively, in new agreements with Intel Security and Mobi.
First, the distributor has inked a deal to support Intel Security’s Managed services Specialization program, providing MSPs access to the vendor’s MSP features and tools. The agreement is North America-wide, although certain parts related to the distributor’s StreamOne cloud platform and electronic software distribution system are not yet in place in Canada today, said Greg Myers, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Tech Data Canada.
Myers said that a managed services approach makes a lot of sense in security, a field that changes at a pace even greater than much of the technology industry, and one which is today quite fragmented in terms of vendors in the space and the offerings they bring to market.
“I see the marketplace for security products continuing to be fairly fragmented, and most solutions are layers provided by multiple vendors and managed security compliments that data centre and network infrastructure security approach very nicely,” Myers said.
The other managed service announcement continues the distributor’s buildout of its mobility story in Canada, a partnership with Mobi to deliver Mobi’s mobile management portal to solution providers. Wendy Franklin, director of mobility and retail at Tech Data Canada, said the TD Mobility Managed Services dashboard brings together information and capabilities from wireless carriers, mobile device management (MDM) platforms, corporate IT systems, and more. The service covers procurement, provisioning, technical support, expense optimization, pre-loading of applications and data, and ultimately, device recycling at the end of the device’s life. Franklin said the managed services platform is typically delivered white-labeled by the solution provider.
Mobi and Tech Data have been working together in EMEA for two years, and the U.S. for almost a year, meaning the Canadian organization has a wealth of knowledge to call on in bringing it to the Canadian market.
Franklin described the Mobi-powered service as a great way for IT-focused MSPs to expand their presence into the hot mobility space.
“These is a natural extension into mobility networks, and the key components there are managing expense management and cost containment,” she said. “Activation is also a part of it, and whether or not they’re going to provision devices themselves, there are services for the pool of devices for replacements. It doesn’t matter if a customer is BYOD or corporate-liable. It can easily accommodate both of those models.”
Both deals are part of a bigger shift in the channel that Myers said is only accelerating.
“The shift to a subscription economy that’s emerging in the channel over the last 24 to 36 months is unmistakable,” he said. “It’s being led by born-in-the-cloud solutions, and now with introductions from the mightiest vendors in the world, it’s clear they’re responding tot his opportunity in earnest.”
The shift is two-fold – from customers that are increasingly look at the opex model of cloud and other service-based models for consuming technologies, and from solution providers, for whom the seeds had long ago been planted with the emergence of managed services as one of the most successful and profitable models of operation for solution providers.
“The MSP has traditionally been part of the channel, but other channel partners are developing their businesses on the services side in a format and a business model that’s very consistent with managed services – delivering on a contractual, monthly-billed, SLA-based basis,” Myers said.
Myers said that a majority of solution providers he talks to are delivering their own services on such a basis, but until recently, it’s been harder for solution providers to deliver vendor-developed products or offerings in such a fashion. But that’s changing with offerings like Intel Security’s MSP offering, and an increasing number of similar “as-a-Service” partner opportunities.
“It allows them to compliment their own offerings, and it’s a nice fit, because the most profitable part of channel revenues are in this utility model,” he said.
Both announcements come with their share of “watch this space” opportunities in the future. On the Intel Security deal, Myers hinted that a full Canadian version of the distributor’s StreamOne cloud platform will provide “a better commerce system for partner like Intel Security to connect with Tech Data,” and that that StreamOne launch is “weeks away” in Canada.
And on the mobility front, Franklin mentions the recent launch of TDactivate in Canada, the distributor’s carrier SIM card activation service. Launched in early May with Rogers as the first partners, Franklin said Tech Data “definitely [has] plans to introduce other carriers very shortly,”