Arrow has launched its first dedicated programme for managed service providers (MSPs) in a nod to the industry shift towards as-a-service models.
The distributor's new managed services programme includes finance, marketing and enablement tools tailored specifically to MSPs as opposed to traditional product resellers.
Its launch comes as Arrow secured UK service provider contracts with Microsoft and Citrix. Both will be added to its ArrowSphere xSP cloud aggregation platform, which Arrow has revamped as part of the managed services programme launch.
Dave Ellis, strategy director at Arrow (pictured), said the scheme is aimed both at established MSPs and traditional resellers taking their first steps into as-a-service models.
"The requirement of MSPs and what they look for from us is pretty different from traditional resellers and the role of distribution has to change to deliver this," he said.
The programme offers MSPs flexible, pay-as-you-go financing, which Ellis said is vital for resellers re-engineering their business models to offer services directly or resell them.
Tools for business development, marketing and lead generation also feature in the programme, alongside enablement services.
"We have a whole calendar of educational events lined up to help service provider customers go to market and improve their knowledge in areas that may be new to them," Ellis said.
At the centre of Arrow's MSP and cloud offering is ArrowSphere xSP, which has amaased over 600 MSPs across EMEA since it was launched in 2012.
Ellis said a number of features designed to make life easier for MSP partners had been added to ArrowSphere.
"It takes away a lot of the traditional operational headaches service providers have," he said.
"We have best-of-breed technology behind our offering. We are aggregating some really strong technology, including Microsoft, IBM Softlayer, VMware, Websense, McAfee, Trend Micro and Citrix."
Some observers predicted the rise of cloud would disintermediate distribution from the supply chain but Ellis claimed distributors are successfully carving out a role in the as-a-service era.
"It's like in the 1990s, when people said electronic software delivery would spell the end of distribution," Ellis said. "As long as distribution innovates and makes it easier for the partners to go out and build robust business, there will always be a role for it.
"Both Arrow and [recent Arrow acquisition] Computerlinks were in the cloud market very early and I think we've learned a lot over that time and built something that is unique and tailored to that audience."
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