The latest channel exec to sit in our hot seat is SolarWinds MSP's GM, John Pagliuca.
Describe your company in five words or fewer.
Comprehensive monitoring, backup, security platform.
Tell us about how your channel programme works.
There are no levels. All of our channel partners have access to the same services, resources, training and support. Our mission is to ensure our MSP partners are the most successful MSPs in the world. We do this by enabling them with the knowledge, technology and time-tested business processes and training needed to become more efficient and more profitable for the best business outcomes.
As part of our program, our channel partners also have access to a growing global partner community, as well as regional and local conference series where they are encouraged to learn, network and expand their service offerings and business operations.
What do you think is the most challenging trend in the channel today?
The fundamentals in the channel have not changed. Our partners still want and need to be their clients' trusted advisor, but the scope has broadened. When, where, what and how an MSP provides this guidance has changed. The most successful MSPs are those who are proactive, strategic and resourceful and look for ways to use technology to build advantage.
Before, the value add was simply selling and fixing technology. Then, with the adoption of managed services, the industry moved to monitoring and managing technology from a distance, which meant reacting to blinking lights on a dashboard. Now, as technology and the market mature, MSPs are able to proactively manage hybrid IT environments to help customers meet and exceed their goals.
One area where this plays out and is easy to see is security. Many of today's customers are too busy and too overconfident when it comes to IT security. And that's one area where an MSP can come in and really have a visible impact on a customer's business now and in the future by providing them with not only the right technology, but also the education, leadership and perspective needed to keep IT safe and use it to build advantage.
If you had to give your channel partners one piece of advice, what would it be?
Make sure your business reflects the changing channel and the evolution of IT. Be service-driven and adapt — both mentally and operationally — to the shift away from a transactional approach to a service-oriented approach. Start to incorporate more education, leadership and perspective into your offerings and ensure you are reporting back to the customer in a meaningful way that demonstrates your value and the resulting success.
What are the three most important things partners need from vendors to be successful?
First - A reliable and secure product, solution, or better yet, platform. There's no room for compromise. It must do what it's supposed to do with ease and efficiency.
Second - If MSPs spend all their time on mundane activities, their businesses will suffer. Increased automation and real-time access must be prioritised by the vendor so that MSPs can be more efficient, more valuable and more profitable.
Third - MSPs need a vendor with vision and a clear understanding of how to create and deliver greater business value to channel partners and the customers they serve. They need a vendor who freely offers thought leadership, support and training that reflects where the industry is headed and assists them in adapting their businesses to optimise success.
What is your favorite conference location?
Barcelona. I am a big football fan, the city is great and I like the Gothic quarter.
What IT trends do you expect to see dying out over the next 18 months to two years?
Company culture is created by people working together in a common workplace. There is a growing call to action for people to come back to the office and contribute more directly to the corporate culture, the customer experience and the creative process. This doesn't mean companies will maintain just one headquarters. Instead more companies will operate under a hub and spokes model, giving flexibility to the workforce, while maintaining a direct connection.
The platform economy is taking hold. As automation kicks in and systems get smarter, more integrations will take place and we'll see an amalgamation of products into a single platform. This will help to simplify the sales cycle and bolster service and support programs, as well as differentiate consumption models.
CRN pulls out the key information from Microsoft's Q4, which took the vendor above $100bn for the year
Investment will include an AI research centre in London
John Coulston outlines Rackspace's plans to partner with the channel in the UK
Chris Bunch of Microsoft partner Cloudreach gives his take on this year's Inspire conference