Distribution Becomes Programmable
Thanks to APIs in the age of the cloud, just about everything, including infrastructure, is programmable. It only makes sense that the services a distributor provides to the channel should be made available in a similar manner.
With that goal in mind, AppDirect has opened up the APIs it used to create its cloud commerce platform. Late last month at an AppDirect ENGAGE conference, company CEO Daniel Saks said the born-of-the cloud distributor is rebranding its services in a way that makes it simpler for solution providers to consume them a la carte via an API.
Since 2009, AppDirect has acquired six companies that provide complementary services to its core e-commerce platform for cloud services. Those acquisitions are Xendo, Radialpoint, AppCarousel, Leftronic, Standing Cloud and jBilling, which addressed functions, such as complex billing, cross-application search, single sign-on, technical support, analytics, and application packaging and orchestration.
Rather than requiring solution providers to develop all those cloud commerce functions themselves, AppDirect is betting that solution providers would rather put their limited resources into their sales effort, Saks said. AppDirect will provide all the back-end functions needed to become a born of the cloud service provider, including access to a help desk that can be employed to up-sell additional services to customers.
Under the core AppDirect platform, a Cloud Monetization Suite and a Cloud Management Suite, the company is looking to make it simpler for solution providers to white-label modular units of functionality that complement whatever level of cloud platform technologies they've already implemented, Saks said. Additions to those functions include MyApps Mobile and as well as an internet of things (IoT) module.
Today, most solution providers have to log into a portal provided by a distributor to complete most processes. That not only takes time, it adds friction to the overall purchasing process.
Solution providers selling cloud services need access to distribution services that are as transparent to end customers as possible. Margins are already fairly thin as it is.
The best way for solution providers to make money is by dynamically bundling various cloud services together. Just as importantly, they need a way to expose those services to customers in a way that doesn't wind up costing them an arm and a leg for the privilege.
Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications, including InfoWorld, CRN and eWEEK. He currently blogs daily for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, Channel Insider and Baseline.