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Tech Data Pushes for More Cloud Adoption

TECH DATA TechSelect Partner Conference — At one time, the idea of a traditional technology distributor being heavily invested in the cloud might have sounded strange — but not anymore.

Cloud has been a hot topic this week at Tech Data’s TechSelect event in Boca Raton, Florida. Among just this elite group of the distributor’s partners, cloud-sales growth over the past year is 143 percent, Stacy Nethercoat, vice president, Tech Data Cloud Americas, told attendees during a packed session on Thursday.

Tech Data's Stacy Nethercoat talks cloud at her company's TechSelect event in Boca Raton, Florida.Noting that cloud sales is an “evolution, not a revolution,” Nethercoat said that about half of TechSelect members are selling cloud today, but her goal is for that number to be 100 percent. To help push them in that direction, the company unveiled its Cloud Accelerator Program, exclusive to TechSelect, that Nethercoat hopes will “accelerate that journey [to the cloud].”

Among the program’s benefits are incentives from vendors:

  • Carbonite, the cloud backup and disaster-recovery provider, will increase margins for TechSelect members.
  • Partners get 30 days free on new subscriptions to the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider program. Also included it 30 days post-sales support. The deal runs through Dec. 31.

In addition, Tech Data will provide what it’s calling a white-glove onboarding experience that is customized, plus exclusive access to a cloud-assessment product and expanded support.

“We need these partners to be more successful and to do that creating an exclusive program for them is the way to go,” Nethercoat said in a sit-down with Channel Partners.

It probably comes as little surprise that Tech Data partners are selling the ubiquitous Microsoft Office 365 more than other cloud services. On the main stage, Cindy Bates, Microsoft’s vice president, U.S. Small and Midsize Business & Distribution, touted Office 365’s fourth consecutive year of triple-digit growth. She also stressed the growing opportunity in the Redmond, Washington-based company’s CRM Online, Azure cloud infrastructure, security and hybrid options for SMBs and their channel-partner advisers. SMB is the fastest growing segment at Microsoft.

“There will be a few partners able to exist in the transactional model, but not many,” Bates said.

In an interview with Channel Partners, Pete Lamson, senior vice president, global sales, Carbonite, noted the increasing importance the cloud is having on partners’ business models.

“It fundamentally changes the relationship from a transactional model to a recurring revenue lifetime value,” Lamson said. “To be able to invest in comprehensive cloud-based solutions deepens that relationship.”

The biggest obstacle to cloud adoption, he added, isn’t security; it’s human nature.

“A lot of the challenges we’re going to face are human nature and habit. Businesses that have relied on backup tape and it works, ‘why should I change?’ Helping [customers] understand the reasons [to change from on-premises equipment to cloud] is a big challenge.”

Follow senior online managing editor Craig Galbraith on Twitter.


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