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StorageCraft President Doug Brockett: Simplify To Increase Efficiency, Weather COVID-19

‘More than 57 percent of the solution provider base is actually using three or more solutions. We know this is inefficient. We know this isn’t successful for you. We know this isn’t a way you’re going to get to better operational maturity, efficiency, and profitability,’ says Doug Brockett, president of StorageCraft.

Managed services providers should consider focusing more on broad technology platforms and less on single-point solutions as a way to increase efficiency and profitability during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

That’s the word from Doug Brockett, president of Draper, Utah-based software and appliance developer StorageCraft which has over the past few years expanded from a focus on data protection software to building a platform encompassing on-premises and cloud data protection and converged scale-out storage.

Brockett was speaking to an audience of solution providers attending this week’s XChange+ Virtual event, which is sponsored by The Channel Company, CRN’s parent company.

[Related: The 20 Coolest Data Protection Companies: The 2020 Storage 100]

Solution providers typically work with multiple data protection vendors, Brockett said. Citing a recent StorageCraft survey, he said only 12 percent of solution providers work with a single vendor, while 31 percent work with two vendors, 29 percent with three vendors, and 28 percent with four or more.

“More than 57 percent of the solution provider base is actually using three or more solutions,” he said. “We know this is inefficient. We know this isn’t successful for you. We know this isn’t a way you’re going to get to better operational maturity, efficiency, and profitability.”

At the same time, the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is challenging both how solution providers run their businesses and the profitability of those businesses, Brockett said.

Citing the same survey, he said 15 percent of solution providers say they have seen a significant impact from COVID-19, 60 percent have seen moderate impact, and only 25 percent have seen little or no impact.

Drilling down into those impacts, according to the survey, the most obvious impacts include fewer on-site customer visits and the need to deal with a widely distributed workforce, Brockett said. “I think those are things we maybe could have expected,” he said.

Natural offsprings to the COVID-19 challenge include the need to re-design managed offerings to better support a distributed workforce and the need to support customers in less profitable ways than in the past, Brockett said.

“When you can’t do the things you were familiar with anymore, now you’ve got to find new ways of operating,” he said. “And maybe those ways are not as efficient as you used to be.”

There are other unpleasant impacts from the pandemic, including a reduction in a solution provider’s workforce, a reduction in client’s workforce, and even a loss of customers who close their doors for business reasons, Brockett said.

“Perhaps worst of all, we’re seeing our solution provider partners having to do more and more data recoveries as a result of ransomware and malware,” he said.

A big way solution providers can help mitigate their impact from these issues is increase their efficiency by cutting back on the number of vendors and technology platforms to better focus their resources, Brockett said.

StorageCraft has over the last couple years widened its capabilities via a suite of products that work together to help channel partners do just that, Brockett said.

The company’s flagship offering, StorageCraft ShadowXafe, is software providing a complete data management lifecycle with SLA-driven management, he said.

StorageCraft also recently introduced its StorageCraft OneXafe Solo, an appliance providing on-premises backup and disaster recovery while streaming data directly to StorageCraft Cloud Services, he said.

Channel partners with customers looking to protect data in Microsoft 365 and Google G-Suite environments can take advantage of StorageCraft Cloud Backup, he said.

Partners can also expand their data management environment with StorageCraft OneXafe, the company’s scale-out converged secondary storage that can serve primary workloads and is integrated with cloud-based disaster recovery for end-to-end business continuity, Brockett said.

Brockett’s message to simplify product lines as a way to increase efficiency was spot on, said Dave Patel, chief operating officer and chief technology officer at CompuTech City, a Lake Mary, Fla.-based MSP.

The need to increase efficiency is real, regardless of whether there is a pandemic or not, Patel told CRN.

“This is especially true in the MSP space,” he said. “We’re collecting revenue. If you do it efficiently, you make money. And reducing the number of vendors one works with is a part of increasing efficiency. Just look at investors like [Chicago-based] Thoma Bravo, which has been acquiring companies like ConnectWise to build stacks to increase efficiency.”

Patel said his company partnered in the past with StorageCraft, but now focuses its data protection requirements on Datto, which uses StorageCraft technology at its core.

StorageCraft three years ago had a less unified offering, which was not in line with Patel’s requirements at the time.

“StorageCraft is now heading towards a unified platform,” he said. “Three years ago, it wasn’t as unified as we needed. But we’re seeing them definitely heading in the right direction.”

[Editor’s Note: To attend the virtual event or view sessions on demand, visit the XChange+ registration page.]

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