Last week, 10,000 business leaders and Microsoft partners from across Europe descended on the ExCel Arena to attend Future Decoded 2015. The event is unique in its nature, giving the industry a chance to focus on the future of business, as well as the wider socio-economic impact that technology is having on the world.
Cobweb thought this would be an ideal platform to launch two potentially revolutionary services – Cloud Reseller in a Box and CSP Enablement.
The first service does what it says on the tin. We have taken our entire portfolio of cloud solutions, our decades of experience, our partnership with leading vendors like Microsoft and our automation platform and bundled it all together, giving resellers the opportunity to sell world-class cloud solutions with ease.
“The biggest challenge for most of the resellers that we talk to, is their understanding of how they attract customers and how they operate the cloud services for consumption in an economic way,” explains Julian Dyer, Chief Technology Officer, Cobweb.
“They can’t invest half a million pounds in a billing and automation system, never mind the people needed to operate and support it. So Cloud Reseller in a Box is aimed at getting those resellers started, and making it straightforward, so that they can retain margin.”
This new proposition is ideal for the resellers that are just beginning to dip their toes into cloud services. They don’t have to worry about all of the moving parts, such as automation billing. They can focus on selling, support, customer satisfaction and adding additional value.
The CSP Enablement programme is a different beast altogether. In order to explain it, let’s look at Microsoft’s CSP programme in a little more detail.
The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programme allows partners to sell Microsoft Cloud Services along with their own offerings. It’s a two-tier programme: 1-Tier is for partners looking to provide an end-to-end customer experience, including customer support. In this model, the partner has a direct relationship with Microsoft and requires partners to have high capability standards to provide a great customer experience.
2-Tier distributors are Microsoft’s heavyweight partners within the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) system. They act as the middleman, with Microsoft on the one side of the transaction then potentially thousands of 1-Tier resellers on the other side. There are only a handful of 2-Tier partners in the UK, Cobweb being one of them.
As Microsoft’s cloud solutions gain prominence and traction, there are an increasing number of resellers turning to the CSP programme. It gives them access to Microsoft’s portfolio of cloud products, whilst allowing them to maintain the relationship with their customers.
The problem is that many newly CSP authorised partners don’t have the experience or resources needed to fulfil the requirements of the programme. CSP Enablement essentially allows a CSP certified partner to utilise Cobweb’s ecosystem, removing virtually all of the pain points involved with Microsoft’s programme.
“We place the CSP inside our Odin system, so that they gain advantage of all the automation, billing and process systems that they would normally have to spend tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds on acquiring and running,” says Julian.
“So the reseller brings their own CSP authorisation and we integrate that authorisation with our automation systems. It has a very simple payment structure – it’s far simpler to get started quickly than either doing it yourself or using third party software.”
Cobweb has always had a best-of-breed ethos. It’s not just Microsoft we partner with. We have relationships with Symantec for advanced cloud security, Global Relay and Mimecast for world-class archival and backup solutions; and we continue to actively build out our ecosystem.
Because of the flexibility of Cobweb’s Odin system, it’s perfectly plausible for CSP providers to utlise these other third party services on top of Microsoft’s core offerings.
Future Decoded isn’t an event designed for the hard sell. It’s a chance to hear from the industry’s finest minds and thought leaders. Most importantly, it’s an opportunity for like-minded businesses and partners to talk to their peers; to bounce ideas around and get feedback on initiatives.
We took our two new propositions to Future Decoded and the feedback we had, both from partners and resellers, was stellar. People love the idea of taking the very best cloud solutions on the market, integrating them with our proven automation and billing platforms, and offering the whole package as a solution to resellers.
Weaving together all of these delicate and intricate pieces…people are finally starting to understand why we call ourselves Cobweb.