Arrow Launches ArrowSphere Cloud Offerings
Arrow Electronics has introduced to the North American market its ArrowSphere cloud service brokerage and aggregation platform, which was initially launched in Europe last year. The North American launch includes a new suite of services designed to help Arrow's service provider partners build and scale their cloud practices by simplifying the way they sell cloud offerings.
The ArrowSphere platform centralizes the billing and provisioning of cloud services that deliver storage and servers on demand, security-as-a-service, software-as-a-service and unified communications. As part of the platform, Arrow provides tools and training that "help solution providers build demand, enable on-boarding and proficiency, enhance the brand footprint and grow revenue." Solutions providers also can sell differentiated product packages through white-label Web stores that they create and manage through the platform.
The ArrowSphere services are segmented into four distinct areas—demand, enablement, branding and growth—which build on top of each other, said Jim Livingston, vice president of services for Arrow's enterprise computing solutions business in North America. "ArrowSphere is the tool for supporting, driving and facilitating the aggregation of the overall cloud catalog of offerings."
This is where Arrow generates interest and demand for the cloud services, and helps support its solution providers in driving that demand and messaging out to their customers, Livingston added.
The enablement segment focuses on providing services for on-boarding end customers into the cloud strategy. This includes traditional sales and technical training, which is "the cornerstone of what a typical distributor does as part of an enablement or on-boarding strategy," said Livingston.
But Arrow goes beyond traditional enablement activities because the business in the cloud space is fundamentally different from traditional "capex" business, according to Livingston. "We look at the business model for the value-added resellers [VARs], including the implications of a piece of their business moving to more of a recurring revenue base versus a transactional capex business," he explained.
It's more of a consultative or solutions selling approach that entails more services and looking at the business model. "We try to drive a conversation around some of the things that may be transformational for the VAR and build that into part of the enablement strategy," Livingston added.
Arrow provides workshops that include sales and technical training, as well as self-paced online training for the administrative side of the tool. Arrow also offers "ride alongs"—joint sales calls with the VAR community.
The branding strategy is the third part of Arrow's services for solution providers, which is primarily administered through hands-on workshops. It's designed to give solution providers the ability to take existing catalog services and identify which cloud offerings they want to take to market, said Livingston.
This allows solution providers to develop and package their own cloud offerings. "It could be the entire catalog, or they may want to focus on things that are a little more aligned to their space," said Livingston. "They like to add services and some level of integration, so we built the platform in a manner that allows our customers to build their own services without being a full-blown service provider."
The fourth piece of Arrow's cloud strategy focuses on driving accelerated cloud adoption. This includes traditional consulting and professional services—realigned around cloud and cloud adoption—that cut across the entire life cycle, including assessment, migration and management services.
Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributing writer, specializes in technology and the channel.