Why Building An App Services Fortress Will Be Key To Winning In The New Channel Era


OPINION


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The future is now, and it requires the channel to build its own unique application services intellectual property. For years, a majority of the channel has played a minor role at the application layer, choosing to focus on data center or remote-office infrastructure. That old model once drove big profits, but those days are fading fast. The winners in the strategic service provider era will be those that provide application modernization with unprecedented business outcomes for customers.

The strategic service provider era marks the fourth major shift in the channel nomenclature since the founding of CRN in 1982. The Channel Company, parent of CRN, will be hosting a series of roads shows for vendors around the new model in the next several months. The road shows will address how this seismic shift will impact both partners and vendors. The new model is all about driving business outcomes with an emphasis on cloud and managed services delivered via a recurring revenue model. It also includes a healthy dose of professional services for each and every customer engagement.

One company riding the strategic service provider wave is Champion Solutions Group, No. 215 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500 list. Champion recently released ROOT, a SharePoint intranet cloud portal it is using to build application services for customers. The ROOT intranet platform is changing the game, providing unique intellectual property for Champion that creates modern application services with almost immediate time-to-value for customers.

[Related: 2016 Channel Chiefs]

"Clients can just apply the SharePoint template," said Champion CEO Chris Pyle. "You no longer have to set up SharePoint servers or backup. That is already done. What the successful partners are doing is developing repeatable IP that can scale: high-speed, low-drag applications that ride on top of the different cloud networks."

Customers are seeing ROI in days and weeks rather than months, said Pyle. Once customers make the jump, they are asking for one customized application service after another. "The beauty of the platform is customers are asking us to create more customized workflows, which is driving professional services too," he said.

Champion just put a nonprofit organization with 6,000 employees in four continents on the ROOT platform. "The platform is allowing the company to think with one mind and one voice within the organization with new workflows," said Pyle. It also is driving rich recurring revenue and professional services for Champion.

Pyle is reinventing the Boca Raton, Fla., cloud superstar for the strategic service provider era. "I see what is going on in the cloud space - you have to start developing your own intellectual property," said Pyle, whose company was driving nearly 100 percent of its sales from hardware just five years ago. "We were a typical VAR/systems integrator, but we have made investments in what is coming next around cloud and Software-as-a-Service. As a result, we are engaged in a lot more conversations about modernizing traditional applications."

That crystal-clear view of where Champion fits in the strategic service provider era creates a stronger business and breakthrough business outcomes for customers.

BACKTALK: What are your metrics for success in the cloud era? Contact Steven Burke at sburke@thechannelcompany.com.

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