Resellers that do not win cloud customers today could lose out on their business for "a very long period of time", says Cobweb's new managing director, who has been charged with bolstering its cloud aggregation unit.
Michael Frisby (pictured) joined Cobweb in February as managing director of the company, and specifically its recently launched cloud aggregation unit Vuzion.
He came to Cobweb from Microsoft, where he held two western European positions over more than eight years. Prior to that, he spent almost five years at Cobweb, meaning his latest role marks a return to the firm.
Cobweb is split into three sections: its cloud reseller business which Frisby claims has been selling cloud services for 20 years; its hosted service provider arm, which runs and delivers services from its own datacentre; and now its new aggregator division Vuzion.
Frisby said Vuzion will help other resellers get to grips with cloud, which he claims should be done immediately.
"The number-one challenge resellers have [regarding cloud] is finding new customers," he said. "Every time I went to a Microsoft reseller partner, we talked to them and their number-one lead source is word of mouth. [There is a] fast pace at which customers are adopting cloud... and when you're on the cloud, you don't switch. So if you don't establish those relationships right now, those customers are lost to you for a very long period of time.
"It's not like the traditional IT cycle of five to seven years where the system gets replaced and you go back and say 'your agreement is about to expire, you need a new one'. With cloud, the service is evergreen and so you need to establish those relationships now."
Frisby added that Vuzion will make resellers' lives easier with simple billing and product offerings.
"As cloud becomes even more complex, it becomes even harder for an individual reseller to know everything about every service," he said. "If you take Microsoft's E5 SKU within Office 365, I challenge anyone to find anyone within Microsoft who can tell you in detail everything about how Exchange works, how SharePoint works, how Skype for Business works, how the voice service works, how the conferencing works. If nobody in Microsoft can do that, how can you expect a reseller to do that?"
He added that by using a cloud aggregator such as Vuzion, partners will not have to worry about creating bills, which can be complex in the cloud world.
"When you start billing for consumption-based services, the complexity becomes tenfold," he said. "Being able to present that in a sensible way to customers – and provide a unified bill to them which explains what they have been using and how those charges are made, and then the operational side of creating those invoices – is a big challenge."
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