Sabarinathan Sampath, Senior VP, ZNet Technologies, tells us about the importance of channel partners in the evolving role of datacentres and cloud technologies in this exclusive interaction.
How the channel partners across India can help in building the large number of datacentres across the country?
Channel partners can play a crucial role in the datacentre market in India in two ways:
- Educating the end customers about cloud and its benefits, thereby creating a demand for cloud services.This implicitly will drive the growth of DCs.
- Offering skilled and certified human resources (network engineers, database engineers, managed services engineers etc.) for the datacentre industry.
In addition, they can offer hardware as well to the DCs. For instance, some of the channel partners resell the hardware manufactured by companies like Dell or HP. Here, they can offer these and make significant contribution.
Does ZNet have any future plans in this field?
Yes. ZNet Technologies plans to serve the datacentre landscape in India and globally. There is a huge data explosion happening with the adoption of cloud.
In the datacenter set-up, it is vital that services are provisioned in real-time as soon as the customer orders for the same.The customers need to be billed on the basis of the consumption of their services. To accomplish this and manage things efficiently, the DC operators need a sophisticated software.
ZNet’s home-grown Cloud Services Delivery and Billing Automation platform called RackNap helps datacentre providers to automate service delivery, overcome billing complexities, reduce operational costs, and create stickiness.
Apart from using the initial services, customers are always keen to use new services, and upgrade/downgrade their services as per the requirements. This necessitates a robust software to manage inventory and assets efficiently.
RackNap from ZNet can provide a strategic view of the assets in the datacentre,down till the rack view, and fulfill the requirements for in-depth visibility and optimized operations. The datacentre providers can also build and sell own public or private cloud using RackNap.
RackNap from ZNet supports multiple datacentre billing models, automates the creation of client invoices and bandwidth over usage, enables automatic upgradation of resources, and more.
How can cloud migration within India be integrated with digital platforms in the most efficient manner – what role do the channel partners and system integrators have to play in this?
Recently, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) mandated that all the payment-related data collected by payment providers and ecommerce players will have to be stored within local datacenters. The government is focusing on data localization.
In the next 2-3 years, the data localization will become a norm in the country where the companies will need to ensure that the data of Indian customers reside in India itself. In such a scenario, the first thing channel partners need to do is to educate their end customers about the importance of data and assure them that their data is safe within India.
Talking about how the cloud migration can be integrated, there are some cloud migration services already available out there that can efficiently migrate the entire infrastructure to the cloud. These services can migrate workloads from On-premise to cloud, public cloud to private cloud, private to public cloud/hybrid cloud etc.
In some of these scenarios, there is a need for some custom solutions. Channel partners can build these custom cloud migration solutions, start producing them and build them as an Intellectual Property (IP). This could yield better returns in the longer run.
What are the main challenges that channel partners are facing nowadays?
Some of the key challenges that Partners face are:
Indian customers are generally very price sensitive and they want value for money for what they are getting from the solution. What channel partners can do to overcome this challenge is to run their backend business processes efficiently. To achieve this, they need to have a right tool like RackNap from ZNet in place.
RackNap can help channel partners to improve operational efficiency, automate billing and provisioning of services, allow them to sell bundled services, widen service portfolio, and more. Here are some of the key features of RackNap from ZNet for channel partners:
- Support for billing structures based on different parameters like bandwidth consumption, disk storage consumption, CPU hour utilization, etc.
- Support for recurring, non-recurring, pre-paid, post-paid, free, one-time, pay-per-use or contract-based billing models.
- Automatic credit distribution for late payment, pending payments, etc.
- Auto-escalation of support tickets for minimum TAT and to meet the SLAs.
- Sales module integrated with support and billing modules.
- Ability to create promotions and discounts and their application on the chosen services.
Smaller breadth of portfolio
Secondly, Channel Partners should start adding more products to their portfolio that could complement their existing offerings. They should start thinking about becoming a one-stop-shop for their customer’s needs. They should think more aggressively on bundling products in addition to cross-selling and up-selling them too.
For example, acquire customers via ‘low value’ offerings and then start up-selling high-value offerings. This could add more value for the customers. Smart bundling such as Hardware (video conferencing) with Office 365, could help create a sticky value proposition for the customers. With physical on-premise infrastructure spend shrinking, and datacentre-based infra spend exploding, the channel partners should focus more energy on adding more cloud offerings to their portfolio.
Unable to serve customers due to technology and skills gap
Thirdly, technology is advancing at a much faster pace. The channel partners are sometimes lagging in the adoption of new technologies or skilling themselves with these new advancements. If channel partners continue to operate with traditional mindset and not adapt themselves, they could become irrelevant in the fast-paced market. So, upskilling is a key element for success.