Synnex Unveils CloudSolv at National ConferenceBy Alison Diana | Print
IT distributor Synnex is getting into the cloud computing space with CloudSolv, a portal designed to simplify and streamline IT solution providers' efforts to create, build and grow their cloud businesses.
Synnex wants to help solution providers take their businesses to new heights, spurred in part by the debut of the distributor’s CloudSolv offering, which it premiered today at the 2011 Synnex National Conference in Greenville, S.C.
Unveiled to a packed conference room by Synnex President and CEO Kevin Murai, CloudSolv is a portal designed to simplify and streamline resellers’ ability to create, build, and grow a cloud business, according to Murai.
"It’s simple to sell ad hoc services. It is not easy to bring them all together, integrate them, and provide your customer with a single invoice," he said. "We believe being first-to-market is very important, as well. Having an end-to-end solution and being first to market are important," Murai told Channel Insider during an interview at the conference.
Recognizing the technological benefits of the cloud—such as its scalability, hardware independence, and ability to support mobile users—solution providers are increasingly considering how they can incorporate the cloud into their offerings.
"We’re trying to figure it out," Bill Crumpecker, president of MSS Software in Fairfax, Va., told Channel Insider, during the Synnex conference. "I don’t know how to sell [cloud]. I don’t know any vendors yet that concentrate on this. I trust Synnex. I can ask them the questions. They know this stuff and they can lead me in the right direction."
And that’s why Synnex created CloudSolv, Murai said in the interview.
"I’m not sure a lot of channel partners get the cloud," he said, quickly noting, "Don’t get me wrong: We’re not perfect either."
However, Synnex hopes CloudSolv eliminates much of the confusion through its combination of pre-selected arrays of products and vendors, coupled with education and training on both technology and the combined art and science of selling cloud, said Murai.
Today, about 60 percent of all businesses have cloud initiatives underway, a new study by Sand Hill Group said. Smaller companies, which are often slower than their enterprise counterparts to begin cloud implementations, are more likely to place business-critical applications such as enterprise resource planning and customer relationship planning in the cloud once they make the move, the report found.
And making this move relies heavily on the channel, Kamesh Pemmaraju, who heads cloud research at Sand Hill Group, wrote in a blog.
"Our research found that SMEs are twice as likely to move their core business-critical services to the cloud as large enterprises (25 percent versus 12 percent). A small percentage of SMBs in our survey has 80 percent of their businesses running in the cloud," he said. "So if you are a cloud vendor selling business-critical services (ERP, financial, accounting etc.), you are likely to find a lot less resistance selling to the SMEs. However, in order reach that market segment, it’s critical to have a strong channel and partner strategy in place."
The CloudSolv Approach
With CloudSolv, solution providers can provision and bill cloud-based solutions, bundle services—such as training or vertical-market services, using the automated system to become more efficient and profitable, said Murai. CloudSolv incorporates an array of offerings, such as hosted software, infrastructure, unified communications, and technical support services.
Solution providers can create their own branded, configurable storefront that they integrate into their existing website. Under CloudSolv, Synnex partners then select the products they plan to offer and choose how to represent them to clients and prospective customers.
Partners then select pre-existing Synnex bundles or create their own, perhaps based on the vertical markets they serve—such as government or healthcare—or on specific areas of expertise—such as document-management or print services, said Murai. Solution providers also can create bundles or cloud platforms for specific customers, he added. Partners also can generate their own service SKUs to bundle with other products, according to Synnex.
"Digital lockers" act as virtual safe-boxes for customer data, such as subscriptions, purchases, and contract information, Murai said. And solution providers can check-on fulfillment status via the reseller dashboard, which also provides insight into customer invoices, product catalogs, and marketing tools. Solution providers can use the dashboard to export customer invoices into third-party bookkeeping software, to create their own special offers, and to manage their product catalogs, Synnex said.
CloudSolv features automated invoicing, so solution providers do not need to spend time generating customer bills each month. Synnex also can invoice customers for solution providers, said Murai.
Synnex will work closely with channel partners through their first and second sales, he told Channel Insider, until they are comfortable with the technologies and process.