A big change is in the air in terms of how technology will be obtained and sold through the channel.
And Rick Beckers, president of CloudTech1, said he’s getting there “as fast as I can.” He is CEO of XaaS1, a new digital distributor of “all things technology” that can be obtained on a subscription basis.
Telecom, telephone, software, cybersecurity, video surveillance, IoT, energy and more are sold through a single-sign-on portal platform where an agent can buy, provision and manage all of their purchases from a single web-based system.
“It’s not often that you have the buyers and sellers agreeing on a new method of moving product through a channel,” Beckers said. “This time we do. So I’m really excited to see what we can do with it.”
In fall 2017, Beckers came to realize that something had to be done to make it easier for MSPs, VARs, telecom agents and computer consultants to generate monthly recurring revenue and provide a value proposition that would allow them to sell up and cross-sell.
“The ‘race to zero’ was already on back then, as all of the MSPs of the world fought for the limited number of clients,” he said. “And vendors like Microsoft were changing their licensing, products and services to be more subscription-based and less perpetual licensing or capitol expense purchases. Fast-forward to now and you’d be hard pressed to find a technology that you cannot purchase on a subscription basis. Telecom and VoIP have long been sold on a cost-per-month basis. Software is definitely sold that way now. Everything is cloud.”
Microsoft is about to begin aggressively marketing its Virtual Desktop, which will “squash further professional-services dollars that their MSP partners used to count on for support revenue,” Beckers said.
“Data products like business continuity, disaster recovery, managed wireless, managed firewall and many more are all sold on a subscription basis now, too,” he said. “This is our solution to rolling with the punches, evolving with the industry, and helping others do the same.”
XaaS1 launched Jan. 1 and the platform includes more than 10 vendors. The short-term goal for the company will be continuing to load the vendors that are in its queue and hold discussions with others who want a presence, Beckers said.
“Long term I want this platform to be a legacy ‘community’ evolution in our industry,” he said. “The world is at the brink of Industry 4.0 (the fourth industrial revolution) right now. I’m originally from the Detroit, Michigan, area. Nowhere in the world has Industry 4.0 and autonomous vehicles affected the economy. That’s the digital transformation of an industry. Did you see the whirlwind turnaround of Michigan once the digital economy kicked in? That’s what we are going to do and see here in the channel.”
Carolyn Bradfield, chairwoman and CEO of SaaS company Convey Services, said the more automation you bring into the channel, the more it matches the business experience the customer wants and needs.
“We provide a portal network for master agencies so they can deliver vendor content, training and marketing downstream for their sales partners,” she said. “Because we’re in the portal business, we’re a very strong advocate of automation and streamlining processes. So the process allowing agents to go in and have one location to provision services versus many different portals fulfills that concept.”