How can the channel capitalise on the new normal? CRN hears from Dropbox's Tim Britt.
The world of work had been changing long before the pandemic floored the accelerator on the journey to flexible, remote working and the need for hybrid or cloud-first systems.
Some forward-looking enterprises had already seen the advantages of letting staff balance work with family and lifestyle. Increased employee loyalty plus hours saved on commuting benefited the business too: in increased productivity, reduced churn, and cost savings at a downsized head office.
"If you reduce an office location in central London, you've freed up investment for new technology or new workers," says Dropbox Head of Channel Sales EMEA, Tim Britt. "Get hiring - and not just in the UK."
Since Covid hit, of course, all but essential frontline workers have been connected by as-a-service applications, with enterprise laggards playing catch-up with their more advanced peers. All this spells opportunity for resellers who can help clients make the transition - while also making it themselves. Walking the walk is important.
However, resellers know that some clients are less comfortable than others with the cultural change of cloud collaboration, believing that employees will simply skive off if managers can't see them.
For any leaders who think that staff will put their feet up as soon as the Zoom, Teams, WebEx, or RingCentral session has ended, the good news is that cloud collaboration tools and SaaS technologies like Dropbox make productivity more, not less, visible.
Via enterprise collaboration platforms, managers can oversee remote teams via central dashboards. This gives them visibility over - and insight into - the whole organisation, while keeping data secure and compliant.
Again, this is as opportunity for resellers to guide their clients, while demonstrating their sector knowledge. In turn, this strengthens the relationship between client and channel - building the kind of loyalty and trust that clients want from their own customers.
Resellers who are not tied to a single brand can assemble bespoke solutions from multiple vendors - CRM, secure collaboration, accounting, marketing automation, and more. A best-of-breed approach minimises lock-in for clients and offers them depth and sector focus.
Dropbox is an ideal fit in this more flexible, on-demand world, says Britt. Its technology is already familiar to consumers, which helps lower the cultural and skills barriers at work.
Dropbox also integrates seamlessly with popular communication and work management tools like Slack and Asana, which are booming alongside Zoom, WebEx, Teams, and the rest.
This gives clients a single storage layer for collaboration and workflow - which has other benefits. "You can recover documents complete with version history that were deleted 10 years ago," explains Britt.
These are the bonuses for clients, but what of the channel? "Your customer may not be in London for a steak dinner," acknowledges Britt, making the point that resellers need to find new ways to maintain key relationships.
"It's not just the IT decision-maker saying they need a new technology stack, it's the business itself," he continues. "This means you're selling SaaS solutions, more consultancy and multi-product solutions. You might do all of that over videoconferencing or the phone - you might never physically meet the customer."
But the same advantages that cloud collaboration offers clients also apply to the channel. Resellers too can gain the cost, flexibility, and productivity benefits, while downsizing their own premises.
However, it's not just about cost savings or increased productivity: the opportunity is there for resellers to extend their reach to new customers and grow the business. "If you've got a sales team based in London or Manchester, then you've also got a new market you can sell into," says Britt.
But why stop there? Regional resellers should now be sensing national or international opportunities. After all, if you can work from anywhere, then so can your client. Today Dartford or Deptford, but tomorrow, why not Dubai or Dhaka?
Learn more about Dropbox's approach and how it works the channel by downloading our exclusive guide
This article is funded by Dropbox