Synnex Preps For Rollout Of Cloud, Renewals Platforms

Synnex used this week's Varnex solution provider community conference to update partners on several new platforms aimed at helping them take advantage of cloud computing, renewals, and other new opportunities.

Varnex, a Synnex-sponsored community of solution providers focused on the SMB market, is the primary way the distributor reaches out to solution providers with new initiatives, said Synnex President and CEO Kevin Murai.

Speaking at Synnex's Varnex conference, held this week in Las Vegas, Murai said the partner community is the first place Synnex goes before rolling out new program and platform launches.

"And in many cases as well, we will launch to our Varnex members first," he said.

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A major part of Synnex's current Varnex community activity is related to the rolling out of a number of new solutions platforms targeted at helping solution providers develop new revenue streams.

One of them is RENEWSolv, a business platform which rolls up the hardware and software warranties of multiple vendors into an easy-to-use method for automating maintenance renewals, Murai said.

"The RENEWSolv engine navigates all the different warranty options depending on the vendors' terms," he said. "It can take all that information and make it into a single warranty contract by vendor. We can automate the process to turn renewals into a recurring revenue stream."

Peter Larocque, president of U.S. distribution for Synnex, said that RENEWSolv, which was launched in September, will provide solution providers with a single platform with visibility into which renewals were sold and services were offered.

This is important to customers and solution providers because the service rates related to renewals are sometimes very low, and customers do a poor job of following up on renewals, Larocque said.

"And in the end, you have poor service because customers bought a service from you and it lapsed. ... The day customers thought they had a warranty but they didn't renew, they will blame you," he said.

RENEWSolv was launched with Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft as the first vendor partners, said Rob Moyer, vice president of cloud computing programs at Synnex. Lenovo is being brought on this month, while Symantec is coming on next month, he said.

Just to be able to figure out how to automate renewals is by itself a big step in the right direction for solution providers, Moyer said.

"Solution providers, for example, could use RENEWSolv to ask for all renewals coming up in the next 90 days, and then use that information to do nothing, or create a quote, or design an email campaign," he said. "They can also use our call center as a way to easily contact multiple smaller customers. We'll do what our partners want to optimize the renewals process."

RENEWSolv also works for requesting data on renewals from manufacturers across all distributors, not just for Synnex, Moyer said.

"This is disruptive technology," he said. "Synnex is not out to steal business from the other distributors. We are just trying to add value by having all the information in a single plane of glass. But I'm not a non-profit. Everyone says they want to be a value-added distributor. This is what we are doing."

Next: CLOUDSolv Cloud-based App Billing And Provisioning

Another new program is CLOUDSolv, a cloud-based application billing and provisioning platform which is currently in beta with partners, Moyer said.

With CLOUDSolv, vendors use APIs provided by Synnex to make their applications available to partners and their customers regardless of whether those applications reside on public, private, or hybrid clouds, Moyer said.

"Once the application is written to our API, its billing and provisioning is automated over the cloud," he said.

CLOUDSolv is a customizable app store which solution providers use to build an online marketplace using their own branding, Moyer said. The marketplace can be build on a public cloud, a private cloud, or even both, he said.

Partners then build their own SKU bundles based on multiple products, such as an e-mail box with online storage and a help desk, Moyer said.

"End users get their own 'digital lockers' with their own cloud services," he said. "This provides a single location where end users can see all their services."

Unlike the cloud application platform from other distributors which are set up for resellers to use, CLOUDSolv is designed to let resellers build a marketplace for their end user customers to purchase their cloud apps and services, Moyer said.

"With other distributors, there's no provisioning of bundled services," he said. "They don't have the portal for resellers to come in and provision bundles. With our approach, end users should be able to take advantage of it."

The long-term goal with CLOUDSolv is to build vertical offerings solution providers can offer to their customers. "We want to create things like a 'doctors office in a box,'" Moyer said. "They will include storage, security, and unified communications. We will go with best-in-class products."

CLOUDSolv is an open platform built using Microsoft Azure, Moyer said, but it can actually pull apps from any cloud service, including from Amazon.

"But Microsoft is channel-friendly, so we went with Azure," he said. "We felt a lot of ISV will migrate from on-premise technology to Azure."

For the CLOUDSolv beta test, Synnex has signed up cloud storage provider Intronis, Symantec's' (Symantec Endpoint Protection), Intermedia's hosted cloud applications and services, and hosted CRM applications, he said.

Cloud computing is still at an early stage, and Synnex is helping solution providers quickly get up to speed in providing cloud services to customers, said Jim Preisinger, IT sales consultant at DSSC Solutions, a Pittsburgh, Penn.-based solution provider and Varnex member.

"All business will eventually go to the cloud," Preisinger said. "Customers are still in the entry stage. We think we know what the cloud is. But customers are still asking. This will help us."

While RENEWSolv and CLOUDSolv will be open to all Synnex solution providers after their initial rollout to the Varnex community, the distributor is providing its Varnex members an exclusive tool called Concierge Desk, said Bob Stegner, Synnex's senior vice president of North American marketing and the distributor's top cheerleader for its Varnex community.

"Concierge Desk makes it easier for them to get up and running," Stegner said. "We want Varnex partners to be using the new platforms ASAP."

Synnex's investment in the new platforms is unique when compared to the traditional role distributors play, Murai said.

"We want to focus on moving the needle on the relationship with partners by providing them the tools they might not otherwise have access to," he said.

Next: VAR Cites PRINTSolv As Example Of Synnex Success

RENEWSolv and CLOUDSolv are two of several platforms Synnex provides its solution provider partners, said Paul Whalley, vice president of Whalley Computer Associates, a Southwick, Mass.-based solution provider and Varnex member.

Those platforms should be successful if history is a guide, Whalley said, pointing to Synnex's PRINTSolv platform for managed printing services as an example.

"Before PRINTSolv, I was not able to visit a customer and talk about their cost-per-page to print," he said. "Synnex has the tool. I just put in the information, and get the price. How many resellers do you know that can quote cost-per-page? Copier resellers know. But who wants to go through three years of experience to get that knowledge?"