Distributor Westcoast has launched a dedicated cloud partner programme, claiming that some of its competitors are not doing enough to support resellers once they have sold cloud solutions.
The Westcoast Cloud Development Programme is broken into four levels (one star up to four stars) and provides a range of services around areas including training, marketing and sales for partners looking to build out their cloud services.
Alex Tatham, managing director of Westcoast, said too many distributors are guilty of giving partners a cloud solution to sell and then not helping them maintain the service - while claiming that the new programme is proof of the important role distributors will continue to have as cloud uptake continues.
"Some of the traditional guys are nervous about cloud and some of the born-in-the-cloud guys don't have the resources to push themselves up there," he said.
"It's really about helping partners obtain the positions they need to get to. They need support all the way through and I think plenty of our competitors are good at selling it and then they just walk away from the support.
"I've been in distribution 25 years and there has always been something that's going to disrupt it, but distribution is so good at adapting itself to how the market reacts. It doesn't just rest on its laurels, it changes and bends to the right shape."
Georgie Ellis, Westcoast's head of cloud sales, explained that the programme stems from a belief at the distributor that current cloud programmes are set up wrongly.
Partners need more support from distributors in hitting partner programme targets, rather than just being rewarded once they hit them, she claimed.
"We felt that the biggest impact we could have with our partners is around education and training," she said.
"When I look across the market at other competencies and training programmes, it's as if they reward people once they reach a certain amount of sales, which to me is completely backwards.
"If I'm going to get help from a company once I reach billings of £20,000 a month, I actually don't want the help then because I've already reached £20,000. It wasn't a case of helping people get sales, it was about rewarding them once they've already got sales."
Ellis went on to explain that if partners themselves are not trained adequately in the cloud solutions they have sold, end users will not get the full benefits out of the products and are then less likely to continue paying for the subscriptions.
"The big IT companies are pushing out so much new technology but what they're not aware of is that the end user is not using half the stuff," she explained. "If the reseller doesn't know the benefits of what you can do with these products, how do they educate the end user?
"If you look at Office 365 stats and the people who bought the bigger plans, if you don't teach them how to use SharePoint and Skype for Business, at the end of the year they're going to realise that all they've used is Exchange, so when they go to renew it's not shocking that they renew Exchange and drop the rest.
"They only way they'll learn to use the other products is if the reseller or whatever partner they use can also use them."
The programme is open to all Westcoast's partners, with progression through the tiers based on partners building out their cloud offerings.
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