Channel partners are having to drive their business differently as the market moves more towards edge computing, says APC by Schneider Electric's new channel director, Andy Connor.
APC specialises in single-phase power, covering UPS, cooling racks, power management, environmental products and software. Founded in 1981, it was acquired by energy management vendor Schneider Electric in 2007.
By edge computing Connor is referring to data being created at the end of the network, including from IoT and devices, which needs to be managed locally.
"Suddenly the channel is having to change how they work because they were working on the cloud model, and now they are [still doing that] but they also have to work on that local edge infrastructure. To do that they need to have the tools to take that to the customer," he said.
"Our channel strategy is to look at that edge computing piece. How can we help customers identify with edge? How can we give them the physical infrastructure around edge? How can they push it out to their customers? We want to make it as simple as possible for them."
Connor joined APC eight weeks ago, having previously worked at CMS Distribution, Lenovo and EMC. He added that the shift means APC has the opportunity to engage more with its channel, which was a big reason for joining the vendor.
"I wanted to work for a company where there was a huge opportunity. Somewhere the market was changing and they were at the forefront of that. APC stood out as a company that had the right mind set and the right tools, and probably needed to engage a bit more with the channel," he said.
"The channel strategy was there; they always engaged with the channel. But because of the way the channel is going, it is moving more towards the MSP side and resellers are seeing their traditional managed services getting commoditised a lot. We want to work with the channel and say 'what is it you need, how can we help?'. There was nothing wrong with what [APC] were doing, there is just an opportunity now for them to diversify in the channel as the channel changes."
"Resellers are changing the way they work and suddenly find themselves becoming MSPs. We need to reach out to those partners."
The vendor launched a new MSP programme in May, which came with training support, support with remote monitoring, marketing support and business development funding. Connor said APC is now looking to recruit VARs that are starting to become MSPs.
"Because resellers are changing the way they work and suddenly find themselves becoming MSPs, we need to reach out to those partners," he explained. "Everybody's business is changing, nothing ever stays the same. If you stand still you won't go anywhere. In fact you will probably drop off."
Justin Ellis, business and product development manager at Comms-Express, said the VAR has been a partner with APC for almost eight years, and he thinks Connor will bring a new focus on improving the vendor's channel processes.
"It is one of the best, if not the best, partnership we have with a vendor. They have great products with great help in the background," he said. "[With Connor's arrival] I think the focus is going to be around improving process and making things quicker. I think they will be engaging more with the channel, which they have always done but I think the plan is to increase that partnership and level of contact."
He added that he believes the edge market will continue to grow, but he does not anticipate seeing much growth for his business because it is already established in the market.
"The wording changes but the product set pretty much stays the same for us. We won't necessarily see any growth in that market because the market is already there for us. But there will definitely be growth as you have all different types of customer out there that mostly need to use both sides of things. They need cloud or datacentre space and they need on-premise space as well," he added.
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