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Oren Yehudai, Equinix

by Stuart Wilson, Monday 21 May 2018

Oren Yehudai, head of EMEA channel at Equinix
Oren Yehudai, head of EMEA channel at Equinix

Oren Yehudai, head of EMEA channel at global interconnection and data centre company Equinix, explores how to navigate the changing channel landscape.

Navigating the changing landscape of channel

"In today’s digital economy, the role of channel is changing and channel partners are having to change along with it. This is in large part due to the cloud revolution, which is continuing to gather pace. Cloud services are starting to affect every element of the broader IT industry and the IT channel is no exception.

Traditionally, channel partners would not have had to concern themselves with cloud. When cloud adoption was low, channel players could afford to turn down bids which included some element of cloud provision, but as cloud has become an integral part of IT, channel partners no longer have that option. To avoid cloud is to avoid successful business.

Evidence suggests many channel partners are struggling to adapt to a cloud-based world. Despite many channel partners having updated their business model, introducing managed services, research from API Partners found that only 13% of channel partners had the expertise required to effectively sell cloud solutions. Perhaps even more concerning is that the majority were judged as completely lacking expertise in selling cloud. The research in question was conducted in 2014 but we are still coming across the same challenges today. We are already seeing an abundance of new players in the channel market gaining grounds with the enterprise on the backs of their cloud expertise. If channel players don’t resolve this now they will not be around to be reassessed in the next four years.

With so many businesses reviewing their cloud strategies to seek out more accessible and cost-effective IT solutions on their own, it begs the question – does the channel still have a credible role to play in enabling businesses to grow? How can these organisations future-proof themselves against the proliferation of new technologies, and in particular, the cloud?

Interconnection in the channel

Amidst this challenging landscape, channel players must demonstrate how they can help customers take advantage of cloud-based services and as a result, improve performance. When reviewing cloud strategies, enterprises are turning to interconnection, the direct, private exchange of data between businesses, as it enables them to connect directly, and therefore seamlessly, to their partners and customers around the world, without having to use the public internet (major security win).

By becoming an interconnected enterprise in this way, businesses will have access to a hybrid, multi-cloud platform that meets their diverse business requirements. Effectively connecting their clouds, people, locations and data, will enable companies to grow their business and interconnect with the world around them, whilst addressing the complex challenges brought by digitisation.

According to a recent study published by Equinix, ‘The Global Interconnection Index’, private interconnection between enterprises and cloud and IT service providers, is expected to grow 160% annually between 2016 and 2020, while multi-cloud is increasingly being embraced by companies thanks to the flexibility it provides. Different cloud service providers tend to excel in different areas – so companies that use just one provider tend to find their needs well met in some parts, and under-served in others.

By focusing on helping their customers build an interconnected enterprise, channel players will be able to capitalise on the opportunity and unlock future revenue both for themselves and their customers. If channel businesses focus solely on supplying the networks, hardware and software that support a traditional, highly-centralised, on-premise model of IT, they will struggle to stay in business.

Collaboration in the channel

To fully support the interconnected enterprise, channel businesses will need to be part of the right ecosystems. No longer able to operate in isolation, those in the channel game need to work with partners that can connect them to a broad ecosystem of vendors, cloud service providers and network service providers in order to deliver a holistic offering to their customers.

Channel players that are willing to adapt to this new collaborative and cloud-based landscape have a real opportunity to become critical business enablers for their customers and trusted partner organisations of all shapes and sizes.

Equinix’s technologies and expertise have long enabled enterprises to utilise interconnection and move into the cloud, in turn allowing them to fully embrace digital transformation initiatives. In recent years, Equinix has also become an enabling platform for its channel partners – creating a route for them into new business opportunities, acting as a catalyst for revenue generation, and helping channel partners and their customers to prosper.

Since its inception, the global channel partner programme has achieved year-on-year growth of 27% and has signed up more than 300 partners across EMEA since 2015, developing joint value propositions to reach a broader customer base.

The programme has been successful because channel partners need to be collaborative to survive this evermore digital era. Companies are looking for truly transformational IT strategies which incorporate all aspects of IT infrastructure and as such, channel players cannot possibly hope to provide a complete solution alone. By partnering with Equinix as a strategic colocation partner, channel companies can play a vital role in helping their customers to transform to meet the requirements of the new channel world."

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