Resellers need to be the ‘trusted advisors’ in the channel and sell backup and storage solutions, not products
In recent years many more organisations have embraced Software as a Service (SaaS), particularly Backup as a Service (BaaS) as more and more workloads have migrated into the cloud. In Africa, this migration to the cloud is being led by smaller enterprises without the legacy infrastructure and investment, whereas the larger businesses have shifted critical workloads in order to gain agility advantages. In either instance, having on-prem backups make little sense for cloud-based data, although large enterprises still tend to have secondary backups to their own infrastructure. As the way that backups and data management are performed continues to evolve alongside cloud and hybrid environments, the reseller needs to take on a new role – it is no longer about selling a backup appliance to a customer, but about having knowledge and experience of the various offerings that exist in the market to craft a comprehensive solution to meet customer needs.
All about solutions
Although many organisations in Africa have embraced the cloud, bandwidth remains an expensive commodity, which is holding some enterprises back from a complete cloud migration. There also remains the ‘hidden’ costs like ingress, egress, and network charges, and customers are aware of these potential expenses. This has resulted in the majority of businesses adopting a hybrid scenario of certain elements on-premise and others in the cloud. This adds a layer of complexity to the backup and data management environment, which means that it becomes more important than ever to adopt the best solution.
Cloud storage and backup are based in a hosted environment, whether this is with one of the major hyperscalers or within a private cloud, while on-prem backups require infrastructure hosted either in a data centre or on business premises. The decision of which to use depends on many factors, and the best blend is often entirely dependent on the unique situation of the business. This makes it more important than ever for resellers to propose solutions, rather than sell products, so that customers can get the best option for their unique requirements.
The role of a trusted advisor
For smaller businesses that are almost entirely in the cloud, cloud backup and storage make complete sense. This scenario removes the need for physical infrastructure to house the backups as well as ensures they are physically secure. However, the data remains the responsibility of the organisation that generated it. For large enterprises, key workloads in the cloud can provide agility benefits, and cloud backups for these again make sense, but there is still a need to house a copy on premises to avoid latency with recoveries as well as expensive egress charges.
This complexity is exactly where the reseller need to play the most important role. Customers, especially in Africa, look to resellers as a trusted advisor. They expect the reseller to have done research and developed insight into products, performed the necessary assessments and be able to understand what mix of products will deliver the best solution. There are many solutions available, from vendor-managed SaaS solutions to hybrid vendors, pure cloud offerings and more. Blending this with traditional on-prem backups can be complex, and it becomes important to simultaneously support digital transformation while ensuring legacy solutions remain operational.
While there are dedicated tools available on the market for this, the customer does not want to spend time finding the solutions. On the other side of the coin, the days of resellers dropping boxes are long gone. The reseller that can develop the knowledge needed to understand the offerings, understand the customer environment, and propose the most apt solution that best meets these needs, is the well-rounded reseller that will be the most successful in this challenging environment.