The IT distribution ecosystem is one that is constantly evolving. But amidst all the hustle and bustle in the industry one thing has remained the same: the interdependence between ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) and their distributors. With the emergence of cloud, WestconGroup’s vendor partner, Microsoft warns that ISVs must develop a cloud strategy or risk the lives of their businesses.
“The biggest blocker we see with ISVs today is that they come traditionally from the on-prem world, their solutions are very focused on running traditionally in a data centre or at a customer’s site. And they don’t understand the technology, therefore there is a reluctance to test the waters…The danger for ISVs is that if at some stage they don’t transition, they are going to be left behind. It could be devastating for their businesses,” says Johannes Kanis, partner, strategy and program lead for Microsoft South Africa.
When it comes to cloud adoption, ISVs are overwhelmed by licensing requirements as well as concerned about the security of cloud storage. The question that partners Microsoft and WestconGroup is asking, is how they can help ISVs to be cloud ready and understand the technology that will get them there. One of Microsoft’s ISV partners talks about cloud readiness and security:
“To be cloud ready what we are looking at is hosting a lot of our services on Azure and building our stuff out into an Azure platform so people can consume those as part of the solutions that we have built,” says Sean van der Westhuizen, business development lead at Mint Management Technologies.
Regarding cloud security van der Westhuizen says that it is a conversation that needs to be had with customers around whether or not they are willing to compromise the data that is stored in the cloud. If not, he suggests a hybrid cloud solution where the most pertinent information is stored on-premise and the rest is hosted in the cloud.
Your cloud partner
“The relationship between WestconGroup and ISVs is simple; we can help them to grow their business and they can help us to grow ours. Ignoring cloud is no longer a viable option and we are a distributor that possesses the expertise to help ISVs with the overwhelming licensing requirements on this journey,” says Leane Hannigan, cloud solutions director for WestconGroup Southern Africa.
“Everything an ISV does with regard to the cloud will need a license but it’s all about how you license and WestconGroup and Microsoft can help ISVs with the licenses that are best suited to their businesses and the businesses of their customers. The value-add aspect of our business also means we can help with integration, aggregation and management of cloud,” adds Hannigan.
WestconGroup has a comprehensive license offering from on-premise to cloud to hosting – and is the only distributor in Southern Africa to offer this. With this comes the support that ISVs need to survive in this time of change, across all products, regions and even in pre-sales. Through Microsoft, WestconGroup provides ISVs the cloud solutions that they need to host their own data, be it Azure or the licenses required to sell software to third parties.
With SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) WestconGroup gives ISVs that are members of the Microsoft Partner Network the ability to provide hosted and on-premise solutions to its customers on a flexible, low cost, monthly billing option. This is also the only licensing agreement partners can use to sell their software to a third party.
“The perception of licensing at this stage seems to be that it is this an undefeatable monster, but that isn’t this case. The problem is that ISVs aren’t choosing the correct licenses for their purposes. For example, they will purchase volume licensing instead of options that Microsoft has designed specifically for them like the ISV Royalty licensing, that’s where we come in,” says Hannigan, “We can help them make these decisions.”
The reality is that cloud is here to stay and ISVs are either going to adapt their businesses accordingly or risk disappearing altogether. Microsoft has described the current state of the channel as “mobile-first, cloud-first” and suggests that even if ISVs start small, they need to start the march towards the cloud sooner, rather than later.