A born-in-the-cloud start-up has launched a rival to distributors' cloud marketplaces, claiming disties are "clutching" at cloud because they are becoming redundant.
Appura describes itself as a single-source cloud provider, and offers users free access to a portal containing cloud apps from about 150 vendors – a number that is continually rising.
It claims its model directly challenges that of distributors, many of which have launched their own cloud marketplaces in recent years. Ingram's Cloud Marketplace was launched last year, and Avnet unveiled something similar earlier this month.
Appura's chief executive Julian Painter said his company is better able to adapt to customer needs than distributor giants, whom he claims are redundant in the cloud world.
"Customers are now saying 'I don't want a box of ingredients, I want a meal put in front of me and a drink I have chosen off the list. That's what we're going towards: customer-driven choice," he told CRN.
"We challenge the status quo of the current IT partners, and we challenge distributors, who are running around trying to find [cloud] marketplaces. They can see they are no longer required. There's no longer that much value they are really adding, even though they talk about being 'value-add'.
"They're all very similar at the moment. It's all very singular – they've not got the breadth we have.
"They're clutching at [cloud] because all of a sudden, they can see their market going.
"We're more flexible. We are lean and mean, and very focused. We're quick to adapt, as opposed to this monolithic [attitude of] 'well, it will take a year to on-board you and then you might get some deals coming through'. They promise volume and value-add, but to be fair, in the modern world of software [they cannot]. Distribution added value around box-shifting. They were logistics and finance. Now you're pressing buttons and downloading code, why do you need them?"
Painter admitted that one of Appura's challenges is convincing partners to break their strong ties with distribution to look elsewhere.
Roger Harry, managing director of reseller Circle IT, said distributors are a core part of his business.
"[Appura has] an interesting concept," he said. "If you look at most channel partners, we've got allegiances to certain vendors. We use Azlan because we do a lot of Dell, and we use Hammer. If you look at our business for all the other vendors, it's quite low."
When addressing this issue, Painter argued: "That is a challenge, yes. Are we going to shift [all partners with strong distie ties?] No.
"But we all knew Blockbuster and went down there on a Friday night and we'd get a video, some Coke and some popcorn. Then overnight, Netflix destroyed them."
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