D&H Distributing Exec Jason Bystrak On His New Cloud Mission, Team Expansion And Pax8 Rivalry

D&H Soars Into The Cloud

D&H Distributing recently announced that it appointed Jason Bystrak, longtime channel veteran and cloud solutions leader, as the new vice president of its cloud business unit. Bystrak has more than two decades of experience in the channel and prior to joining D&H, he was vice president of worldwide channels & distribution for Mountain View, Calif.-based Axcient.

With the addition of Bystrak, D&H is looking to compound the growth it has already seen in its cloud business, which was up 108 percent from May to December 2018. Bystrak’s Cloud Business Unit will focus on cultivating ongoing resources to help resellers grow their cloud services business.

“D&H has a great opportunity, because of the market they serve,” Bystrak told CRN. “You think about the SMB market -- and especially SMB partners -- are driving cloud and adopting cloud the fastest. And it makes sense because they have less entanglement, and legacy infrastructure, and its not as complex of an environment. The migration over is easier, and faster, and there’s great growth in that area.”

What’s your plan for the next 90 days? Where is your focus going to be?

As far as what we’re going to be doing and what we’re going to be focused on, in the first 90 days: the three P’s. The first area where we’re going to put emphasis, is our people. We’re going to be first of all working on kind of an internal culture transformation, which is really, what does it mean to be an as-a-service organization, and start driving more business there. What’s the customer perception, what’s the sales motion? What’s the compensation that needs to happen internally? And how do we train and get people ready?

And then in parallel, D&H has a successful yet fairly small, cloud organization. We’re going to be making additional people investments to scale that out. And start growing the business that way.

The second focus area is process. Some of the things in that bucket we’re going to be focused on in the short term would be, we’re going to be optimizing our cloud platform, to support the business vision, which I’ll get to in a second. We’re going to be looking at, you know, technical, integrations to build a better process with some of our alliance partners that we’ll be brining to the table.

We’re going to be fine tuning our sales process, the go-to-market process. A big focus for us in that model is going to be really helping our large base of VAR partners transform their business model into an MSP model. So you’re going see us help them with the process of building a lot of training and enablement in to the business, and helping them move into an MSP model so they can better support cloud.

Can you talk about the partnership piece of this?

We’re going to be expanding our solutions portfolio that we work with. We’re building out what I’m calling cloud clusters. A cloud cluster is a solution cluster that has a logical foundation with all the complementary stuff wrapped around it.

The first cluster we want to look at is an MSP cluster. So we’re going to go with foundationally bringing on a professional services automation, or PSA tool kit, and then we’ll complement that with integrated solutions such as remote monitoring software, cloud back-up solutions, help desk services solutions. MSP run book solutions, things like that. So that you can look at the foundation and buy the complementary plug ins.

So are you looking at partnering with one of the major MSP platforms?

We’ll be looking to form alliances with people like that absolutely. We’re not going to get in the business of trying to write software code and try to compete there. We’re going to be forming partnerships with them to both work together with existing shared customers, and then for those who’ve not yet made that leap to invest there, we’ll make sure we get them aligned and sell them the right MSP platform to run their business.

How do you plan to compete with an established cloud distributor like Pax8?

I’ve got a lot of respect for those guys. I think where D&H differentiates is that we’ve got a legacy customer base with thousands of VAR partners that we can work with in an MSP cloud model. One of the advantages that we have at D&H is we already have Device as a Service program. So we have the unique ability to be able to combine in one of those cloud clusters hardware solutions along with cloud services and managed services all in a single stack. So that’s going to be one of the key differentiators we work with now. Bringing those programs together and advancing those in the market.

There’s always going to be hardware. Think about the endpoint devices, right? Even if you’re 100 percent cloud you have to access it through a notebook or something like that. D&H has a great business there. So if we can put those together in a single as a service cloud cluster, that’s going to help us be successful.

What made you go with Microsoft vs. AWS or Google Cloud?

Microsoft has a long history of being a great channel-focused company. And D&H has been a partner of Microsoft for a long time, so that was a logical one to look at there. We’ll look to see if others make sense down the road as we expand the business, but we’re really excited about driving the Microsoft cloud story.

Microsoft has told its partners that they want to capture a larger share of the SMB market. Is that one of the reasons they’re going into business with D&H?

No question. To even elaborate a bit more, the vendors I speak to, even in the interview process with D&H, is they’ve got a fantastic reputation of serving a unique knitch of SMB partners that focus on the SMB market. And I think some of the other broadline distributors don’t take that part of the business as seriously. They may cover those partners in different ways where D&H that’s the core business and really a sweet spot for us. So companies like Microsoft love that.

I mentioned that device-as-a-service program, Microsoft is very big on working with us on what we’re calling Connected Selling which is attaching Microsoft solutions like Office 365 to those hardware piece, and the fact that we can do it all as a hardware subscription model is what they like about it.

What should people take away from this announcement?

We’re going to be hiring to expand the team. We’re going to be optimizing the platform, really helping with the go-to-market process around MSP enablement and expansion of cloud. The partnership, is going to be cloud services and solution based selling. We’re going to bring in the right vendor partners to expand our ecosystem, and the right third-party companies to go to market with so we’re marching together and helping our partners collectively.