New Avnet Program Will Have VARs 'CloudReady'

The distributor’s CloudReady program aims to offer solution providers everything they’ll need to get their customers into the cloud, as well as let them pick and choose services to fill in gaps in an existing cloud portfolio, said Tony Vottima, senior vice president of solutions marketing and development at Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas.

“We’ve been living in a world in which cloud is on everybody’s lips. It’s been the top request from our partner base to better understand the market, how they should be planning and what are Avnet’s plans. We’ve been working on this for months,” Vottima said. “It’s designed to help partners to build skills to go out to customers and deliver cloud-based solutions.”

CloudReady starts with education, Vottima said. Avnet has developed a curriculum akin to its SolutionsPath strategy that helps VARs get up and running in various technologies and vertical markets.

“We need to make sure partners understand what the cloud is, what the opportunity is, and what we have to do to help them get there,” he said.

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CloudReady was developed as a specialization area within SolutionsPath that provides VARs with an alternative way to deliver networking, security, storage and virtualization, as well as healthcare and government customers, according to the company.

Initially, Avnet is working with about a dozen third-party partners to help deliver software-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service, Vottima said. He declined to identify specific vendors because it’s coming to market as an “Avnet-branded” initiative first.

“We are talking with more. We’re doing our diligence to figure out which vendors will be there in the future. As the market evolves, there will be churn. We’re going to select partners that we can trust,” he said.

Avnet also has put together a special cloud financing solution that pays partners up front for cloud solutions in which end users typically pay on a recurring-bill basis.

“The biggest challenge for partners is their sales teams are typically paid [up front] but he cloud can be a three-year [cycle]. We’ll take care of the financing throughout the rest of the ecosystem. It gets our partners in the market faster and makes it more profitable for them. As they build more [cloud] resources, they can build that [compensation model] when they’re ready,” Vottima said.

Avnet is offering a three-part virtual training series to get solution providers cloud-ready. Classes will explore cloud computing models, trends, buying cycles and business drivers; the impact of cloud computing and what it means to resellers’ businesses; and how resellers can prepare their businesses to offer cloud-based services, according to the company.

QuadraMed Corp., a Reston, Va.-based solution provider and ISV has been developing a cloud-based model with Avnet over the last two years to have the distributor host its health information management solutions, said Eric Jeffery, manager of advanced technology solutions at QuadraMed.

“It gives the end user utilizing our software no worries about networking infrastructure, hardware, [and] maintenance,” Jeffery said. “For our end users, it’s all transparent. One of the benefits is the client calls me and I’m the one-stop shop. Avnet gives me everything I need and I can give the customer everything they require.”