Why iland is re-vamping its channel programme to enable MSP profitability

The last few years have seen exceptional growth in demand for managed IT services, largely fuelled by cloud, as organisations look to maximise their often-limited in-house resources. With the skills shortage expected to worsen – especially in STEM areas – it makes sense for many companies to look towards managed IT services rather than try and build or grow their own.   

This growth is set to continue – analysts predict the global market for managed services will grow to $242.45 billion by 2021.  Likewise, statistics compiled by ChannelE2E forecast that the global market for managed services is expected to grow to almost $230 billion by 2020

With this rapid growth, managed service providers (MSPs) will find themselves facing several challenges.  Driving new business and finding ways to go to market faster are two of the main concerns facing MSPs in 2017. As the cloud market continues to grow, MSPs will find their clients demanding all kinds of solutions and services that they struggle to deliver, whether that’s 24/7 technical support, migration services or even access to the latest cloud solutions. Rather than trying to stretch their limited resources, many MSPs may find it easier, and more profitable, to join forces with a trusted cloud provider. 

MSPs that want to attract more clients and go to market faster would be wise to start shopping around for the right cloud provider to partner with. Not only can a partner program help them with cloud support and migration services, but many programs also have experts on staff who can teach them the ropes about marketing and selling cloud solutions. 

If they haven’t already done so, is imperative that Cloud Service Providers reflect the shift to services in their channel partner engagement. This is one of the reasons why here at iland we have re-designed and re-branded our channel programme to reflect the needs of its growing MSP partner community. 

iland provides hosted cloud infrastructure for production business applications, as well as disaster recovery and business continuity ‘as-a-service’, partnering closely with the likes of Veeam and Zerto, as well as offering traditional colocation and hybrid cloud solutions. Additionally, the iland Secuire Cloud platform is built on top of VMware vCloud virtualization, a familiar platform for many MSPs which further eases the transition and time to market for establishing a cloud business.    

We believe this there is a great opportunity for MSPs on the lookout for opportunities around the burgeoning backup and disaster recovery space. Analysts predict the DRaaS market size will grow from $1.68 Billion in 2016 to $11.11 Billion by 2021, at an annual growth rate of 45.9 percent – and the MSP segment is expected to grow at the highest rate during that period. 

Recognising the transition among many of our channel partners to a services-based business model, this month we are re-launching our channel programme to help our services-led partners drive revenues and deliver more value to their customers. The new MSP programme will see partners have full visibility and management control over the cloud services they provide to their customers, handling areas such as billing and SLAs, plus any additional services on top – without the hassle of managing any infrastructure. The iland Secure Cloud Console provides MSPs with a single pane of glass interface through which they can manage billing, performance, security and compliance and testing and reporting on all iland cloud services for their customers.    

In addition to focusing on enabling MSP profitability, we remain committed to our traditional Value-Added Reseller (VAR) channel, re-designing our partner programme to help them transition to selling cloud services more effectively. For example, VARs may choose not to take on support duties – they can still quote and bill the customer directly, and iland delivers the services and support. It’s a great first step for many VARs developing a services practice, while maintaining their relationship with the customer and driving topline revenue.

MSP trends 

Alongside the other market trends discussed, there has also been a move among partners towards the ‘IT resiliency approach’, where they combine security operations with business continuity and traditional IT services. This is a huge opportunity for MSPs – particularly those working in regulated industries such as financial, healthcare and the pharmaceutical sector. iland has invested heavily in this area by natively integrating advanced security features into our cloud platform along with offer compliance services to help MSPs leverage this opportunity.   

For instance, using the iland platform, an MSP can bring up a copy of the customer’s DR environment without affecting their production environment, and can run the security suite against that DR copy and if they see any vulnerabilities, they then have an opportunity to mediate in the production environment. It provides them with a tool to drive more managed security services, while also fulfilling customers’ requirements for a disaster recovery solution. 

For cloud backup, iland offers a simple price-per-GB offering, only charging for how much storage the customer requires to store their VMware and Hyper-V backups in the cloud, using Veeam Cloud Connect and a global iland cloud location. And we do the same with our disaster recovery offering, based on how much compute power the customer requires. Both drive a significant amount of business for channel partners, as a quick and simple way to deliver cloud backup and DR very cost-effectively to their customers. 

European expansion 

iland currently has 100 partners globally, and is looking to further expand into Europe in 2017 with a clear channel-led approach to sales. We will maintain our focus on MSPs, as they have a unique opportunity to drive revenue on the iland platform, as well as working closely with VARs on Backup and DR-as-a-Service offerings.

One-size-doesn’t-fit all and this applies to channel partners, too. We recognise the channel is continually evolving and that the key to driving partner revenues is to tailor your engagement based on how they go to market, and their own services opportunity. 

Dante Orsini, SVP, Business Development at iland 

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