Avnet Launches Cloud Workshops, Assessments For End Users

Avnet Technology Solutions has launched two new cloud-computing services, cloud strategy workshops and cloud assessments to help VARs ramp up their cloud initiatives, according to the distributor.

The new services are offered under the CloudReady initiative Avnet launched last year, which most recently included the addition of cloud training programs.

The workshop and assessment services will complement the existing tools in that they are also meant to bring end users up to speed, said Steve Kedzior, vice president and general manager of services at Avnet Technology Solutions.

"We continue to fill out our portfolio of offerings with collaboration from VARs, end users sand analysts," Kedzior said. "Cloud is a journey. There's always lot to learn. We had a lot of demand for our VARs to help them with tools to remain in the forefront as a trusted as advisor. They are in a position to help customers with their cloud strategy and to execute on that strategy."

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The one-day billable cloud workshop joins VARs with their end users clients and prospects to plan cloud strategies together with the help of Avnet’s cloud solutions architects. The session includes an executive overview and education on cloud computing, discovery process and plan for the organization to proceed, said Kedzior.

The VAR and end user mao out the customer's cloud goals and business objectives and identifies what steps are necessary to get there.

"It's an avenue to go down the [cloud] path with the customer. It's a tool in their bag that says we have an offering and can formalize a discussion around cloud," Kedzior said.

The one-day workshop can be held virtually, but Avnet prefers it be held at the VAR's building, end user's facility or a local, third-party location such as a hotel, Kedzior said. Avnet's cloud architects can be branded as Avnet or hold the VAR's badge, he added.

"Some small, local, regional VARs want to leverage our size and our scope, while others want us to go and represent them. We're flexible there," he said. "Our goal is to get our cloud solution architects engaged with the VAR and end user. If we do that, we can position the VAR as a trusted cloud advisor."

Meanwhile, VARs can also leverage Avnet to perform a full-scale cloud-readiness assessment for clients, Kedzior said. This on-site engagement typically takes about three weeks and includes a business and technical analysis of the customer’s infrastructure and ability to adopt a cloud computing strategy, according to Avnet.

VARs and end users get a detailed report of their current state, recommendations with ROI metrics and changes required to need the business and IT goals, according to Avnet. The assessment uses Avnet's Cloud Maturity Model methodology which outlines the necessary people, processes and technologies for cloud adoption, Kedzior said.

"There's a lot of confusion, misinformation, ambiguity about cloud. Where there's confusion there's opportunity to provide clarity," he said. "At the end of the day customers eed to get grounded in a strategy. From a VAR perspective, it allows them to expand out of the data center and into the business."

Next: Vendors Not Included

Avnet's cloud assessment and other programs are vendor agnostic and don't include a selling pitch for products, Kedzior said.

"You shouldn't have cloud discussions without business stakeholders at the table. This is about the VAR bringing business and IT together," he said. "Understanding the current state environment may lead to a strategy for an OEM but typically there are applications and infrastructure in place. This allows the flexibility for the VAR to work with that."

Mike Martin, vice president of cloud solutions at Logicalis, an Auburn Hills, Mich.-based solution provider, said his company, which already has a significant cloud practice, still plans to leverage Avnet's skills to go after customers.

"The assessments we're really more interested in. It's true business and technology alighment. It's not a technology discussion. We can roll that all up into our cloud strategy. We do quite a bit of that today, but at times we bring in business-level consultants to drive a services level engagement," Martin said. "We're very strong on the technical pieces but sometimes we look for additional consultants. Finding good business consultants that can talk to this is a challenge."