Avnet Technology Solutions has jumped into the cloud marketplace game, and says that selling bundled solutions and offering white labelling will be its biggest differentiators.
While the distributor has long been in the cloud solutions game, it has previously not done so in a self-service kind of way. With the new Avnet Cloud Marketplace, it joins rival distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data, among others, in offering a self-service cloud solutions portal for solutions providers and for their customers.
“Avnet Cloud Marketplace adds subscription cloud services, bundling SaaS, PaaS and IaaS into integrated and packaged offerings, in a catalogue,” said Avnet cloud chief Tim FitzGerald. “We’re focused on making it easier for [solution providers’] customers to get in the game at a quicker rate, and taking costs out in doing so.”
One big way it will do so is through the ability to offer self-branded Web stores, where customers can identify, purchase, provision, and deploy cloud-based offerings. Services available at launch include backup and archiving options “powered by multiple cloud storage solutions,” as well as the ability to deliver particular workloads or applications on IBM’s BlueMix platform.
“We think that’s a huge point of differentiation, and that will be of interest to traditional resellers, managed service providers, and ISVs,” FitzGerald said.
Along with Avnet-offered cloud services, the Web store can be configured to offer the solution provider’s own services wrapped around the offering, including application-centric services, consulting or managed services. It’s all part of a bid to offer customers the choice of self-service, full service from the solution provider, or a bit of each on an app-by-app or workload-by-workload basis, depending on the needs of the particular person or department responsible for an app in the customer’s business. The Web stores — and Avnet Cloud Marketplace in general — support a variety of subscription- or consumption-based billing models.
“We’ve taken a very ecosystem-wide approach to make sure there’s a value prop for any type of partner, be they VAR, ISP, ISV, MSP, or OEM,” FitzGerald said.
Web stores can be developed on a self-service basis by interested solution providers, and in many cases, solution providers who have “clicked through” appropriate partner agreements and been authorized by vendors to sell their offerings will have that vendor’s offerings auto-populated in their Web store without further action required on the part of the solution provider.
As this is the cloud marketplace we’re talking about, and things tend to move very fast, it’s clear that Avnet already has its next moves well in mind. Partners should look at the ability to stand up a variety of storefronts, FitzGerald said, and consider what might be able to be done give Avnet’s history of going deep in specific technological and vertical markets. We might well see custom cloud storefronts from the company addressing some of the key verticals represented by its SolutionsPath approach, as well as important and growing technology areas like Internet of Things, in the not-so-distant future.