The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has put more focus on digital transformation and the as-a-service market not just in North America, but also in Europe.
The Jolera Interview Series talked to one of the top leaders at Veeam Software in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East (EMEA) in Riccardo Sbarboro, the head of professional services for Veeam in EMEA about the state of the as-a-service market in Europe and surrounding areas. Sbarboro, who has been in the IT sector for more than two decades, said the market in Europe for as-a-service has become a real revolution since the COVID-19 crisis. Sbarboro, who is based in Milan, Italy, only knows too well what COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown did for the Italian region.
According to Rabo Research, Italy’s gross domestic production volume shrank by about 17 percent and it is believed that the economy will not fully recover until the year 2025. This on top of the more than 100,000 deaths because of COVID-19.
But those companies that took to the cloud immediately and provided remote working solutions or were well on their digital transformation journeys more than weathered the storm in Italy.
“In these days, all the companies have IT at their core now. And they are speeding up their innovation plans, while still limiting upfront costs. The anything-as-a-service business model, for many partners, are showing benefits,” he said.
One of the many challenges Sbarboro and his team at Veeam faces covering Europe, Middle East and Africa is that this region is the greatest melting pot of languages and culture in the world.
“In EMEA there are many groups with diverse cultures and differences,” he added.
At Veeam, the organization realized from the start that the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be a tough period for all involved and they put their focus on health and social interactions with staff, partners, and customers.
“I was lucky to be at Veeam during this time because we made it easy to grow in the difficult months. Veeam was fair and supportive and did not make it all about business,” he said.
One of Sbarboro’s many duties is running the channel partners at Veeam for the EMEA region, and this has provided him with great perspective on how COVID-19 has impacted the channel in many countries. Those partners that aligned with Veeam have experienced some of their best quarters in their history, even during the pandemic and lockdowns.
“Those that invested in digital transformation and Veeam benefitted because our offerings are 100 per cent aligned to that. We are aware of this particular situation and the impact is real, but those who reacted sooner and stayed on the right side of innovation were safe,” Sbarboro said.
For Sbarboro it is too early to talk about lessons learned from COVID-19. He says in an emergency you try to survive and minimize the impact and then look back on anything you may have learned later on.
“We are not there yet, but one of the things I’m sure about is those companies that were ready with as-a-service and digital transformation activities better sustained their business and the communities around them than those that did not.”
One of the strategies Veeam adopted was to enrich its portfolio of solutions by strengthening partnerships with leading providers in the as-a-service market. The partnership with Jolera has enabled Veeam in Europe, Middle East and Africa to continue to support its position as a 100 percent channel-driven organization while enhancing the technical skills to deliver value-added and reliable professional services for Veeam product portfolio implementations.
Jolera was one of a select few that were chosen by Veeam to be part of its Accredited Service Partner program also known as VASP.
“VASP is the special forces for projects about data management. We had several hundred applications, but just 50 were selected and Jolera is one of them. Jolera was since the beginning of this process one of the most promising partners we had, and the deeper the analysis the more the capabilities and the technical knowledge was evident. We are very happy to have found such a partner and we are looking forward to develop further this relation,” Sbarboro added.
Also, during the Jolera Interview Series, Sbarboro spoke about his passion for mentoring and coaching and about a unique endeavour called the Gentleman’s Ride in Bergamo.
Kevin Peesker has been at the helm of Microsoft Canada for three years now and, in that time, has spearheaded the subsidiary’s transformation into an as-a-service power. He has also taken a significant number of channel partners along with him on this ride.
But he is not stopping with the channel. Peesker is also driving an agenda to skill-up Canada’s future leaders by investing in a digital literacy agenda that focuses on three key areas: students, new entrants in the workforce, and current jobseekers. He believes that this will not just transform business, specifically small business, but also key sectors such as healthcare.
The current COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown that occurred throughout Canada may have put a halt to several industries but that was not the case for Microsoft Canada and many members of the channel community.
“We are in an incredible industry,” said Peesker during the Jolera Interview Series. “The impact on Canada and globally that we are making will be memorable.” But, Peesker added that this journey is a two-way street, and while he and his team at Microsoft Canada are fully engaged, it’s time for everyone to get involved and participate.
It’s clear that this journey is an as-a-service endeavour. According to Peesker, the as-a-service market has become a value-driven engagement that brings about consistent annuity revenue streams for business while delivering a better level of service to customers.
“It’s a proactive way to engage in the mid and long-term. Microsoft has moved to this model at scale globally. In Canada, the vast component of our revenue is as-a-service, more than 70 percent. We are committed to providing a scalable development of offerings and innovation that gets into the hands of the customer as soon as possible,” Peesker added.
Microsoft Canada surveyed 670 business decision-makers across Canada. Some of those polled are from companies with ten employees or fewer to large enterprises. It looks like most Canadian business leaders, big and small, agree with his optimism. Approximately 69 percent of Canadian business leaders recently surveyed by Microsoft Canada say they are confident that their business will survive the pandemic into 2021, and just over half (54 percent) believe their organization will be able to adapt to whatever the upcoming year might hold, this includes a second wave of the pandemic.
“There are several bright spots from this research. I’ve been calling it our Darwinian moment. Those organizations that have leveraged the benefit of technology are not just surviving but thriving. In contrast, those stagnant organizations or those that did not respond to digital transformation have been impacted. Those that put in place a digital strategy, anchored by cloud and data, were able to scale when the pandemic hit their business,” Peesker said.
Also, during the interview, Peesker talked about one of his passion projects: Digital literacy in Canada along with artificial intelligence, the Microsoft Surface, and find out what Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, said to Peesker about flexible, hybrid work strategies.
As the year 2020 gets kicked to the curb, and we usher in 2021, we collectively look into the crystal ball to figure out what may occur during this year in the IT industry.
To do this, we talked with Diane Krakora, founder of Partner Path in Silicon Valley, to make five bold predictions for 2021. Krakora is one of the most influential channel strategists in the industry. In more than two decades of work, Krakora has crafted some of the more progressive channel programs for some of the industry’s biggest names, such as Cisco, Citrix, Dell, Dropbox, Microsoft, SAP, and VMware.
Krakora, along with her colleague Jay McBain, Principal Analyst, Channels, Partnerships & Ecosystem for Forrester Research, developed these five key predictions for the IT marketplace. During the Jolera Interview Series, Krakora reveals the top 5, while providing insight on each.
McBain was a previous guest on the Jolera Interview Series, and you have to watch that video here.
5 Predictions for the 2021 IT Marketplace
Marketplaces will be integral.
This was a 2020 prediction for Krakora and McBain. B2C marketplaces such as Amazon, Alibaba and eBay are making moves to solidify themselves in the B2B sector. But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, growth in marketplaces soared. Find out how marketplaces can add to or compete with other indirect channels.
Non-transacting partners will drive an ecosystem approach.
Non-transacting partners are organizations a bit unknown in the marketplace but yet are driving cloud-based technology purchases. “The old partnering models, frameworks and programs won’t fit the future constellation of partner types,” Krakora said. The reality of the situation is that these channels such as dealer networks, wholesale distribution networks, resellers, retailers, franchises will all be a significant factor in 2021. Find out how this trend is impacting the as-a-service market.
Methodologies will develop to influence the influencers.
This prediction stems from the trifurcation channel model of 1. non-transacting advisors or influencers before the sale, 2. transacting partners and 3. services partners that implement and integrate solutions. What this means is there will be five different partner influencers guiding a customer through their primarily digital journey, on average. The challenge here is to influence as many people as possible. And, there could be a fourth methodology in play for 2021 to go along with non-transacting, transacting and service partners.
Partners will be rewarded based on customer adoption.
In subscription or consumption-based business models, what are the true measures of success? Well, Krakora predicts it will be “adoption” for 2021. Similar to other subscription models, the measures of success will not be revenue or profit, Krakora predicts, but “adoption.” If you get adoption of your product, you get retention and renewal. So which partners are driving customer adoption? How do you measure and reward that adoption, will all be key questions for 2021? However, if you get adoption of your product, you get retention and renewal. Find out how to best drive customer adoption with this prediction.
You will know your ecosystem multiplier.
It’s time to promote your ecosystem multiplier, says Krakora. The marketplace needs to figure out every dollar of hardware, software, and services created or enriched because of the dollar of product sold. “They want to hear there is a big enough pie to make it worth their while to join your program, get certified and direct their mindshare towards your products,” she added. Expect to see about 80 percent of your future partners becoming non-transacting partners. This means you are going to have to make it worth their while, revenue-wise, to join your program, get certified and direct their mindshare towards your products.
During the interview, Krakora summed up the unforgettable year of 2020 and provided key takeaways for the channel community.
Tiffani Bova, the Global Customer Growth Innovation evangelist for Salesforce has done it all in the computer industry. She was one of the first women channel chiefs, for Gateway Computers, Bova then transferred her skills to the field of market research for Gartner Group. It was there that she made bold predictions such as “Cloud Service Brokerages”, which aggregated multiple cloud services from a single source. She also furthered Gartner concepts in the market such as every company would become an IT company and Bi-Model IT.
And Bova continues to think beyond the near term and into the future of the IT industry. Today, Bova says the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has become a catalyst for digital transformation.
The 2019 member of the World’s Top Management 50 Thinkers list, Bova said during the Jolera Interview Series, in the face of a terrible crisis, digital transformation and the as-a-service solutions market is leading the way.
“The as-a-service market has cracked the front office and into customer facing resources such as sales, marketing, and customer service. These areas are now using as-a-service technology and cloud in special ways; in light of what’s going on,” she said.
Just a year ago, digital transformation and the as-a-service market was looked at as a “nice to have” or put in place for cost reasons or if an organization was modernizing its data centre.
COVID-19 is driving all this acceleration, she added. Bova described the pandemic as “a black swan event” in the world that has moved businesses to help people work from anywhere; safely. This activity also includes new ways to service customers, while also modernizing the supply chains.
“Do I think COVID-19 is the ultimate catalyst for all those that did not make an investment in digital? Yes! And, for those that were slow to adopt digital fully it too accelerated their progress over the last year. All because of the pandemic,” Bova added.
While at Salesforce, Bova continues to make strategic bets on where the industry is heading. For example, a new piece of research from Salesforce indicates that there are three areas that will dramatically change the way people work.
Health and safety of employees;
Providing up-to-date tools and capabilities for people to do their job; and
Staying connected with customers.
The best-selling author of Growth IQ: Get Smarter About the Choices that Will Make or Break your Business, Bova believes businesses need to work on stabilizing their business while developing a path for workers to return to the offices – and in many cases back to actual work – safely. From there, the business also needs to focus on a get back to a growth strategy that sets the right tone and message for an already weary base of people that have gone through the pandemic.
“It’s amazing how quickly we’ve all rallied around the employees to keep them safe and productive. But it will be time to begin to put people in place in each area and these people should be from all aspects of the business,” Bova said.
Also, during the interview Bova talked about new ways to improve customer experience, her take on diversity issues and what’s in store for the channel and IT overall in 2027.
Toronto, December 9, 2020 — Jolera Inc., a leading multi-national IT service provider, announced that it has recently renewed its SOC 2 Type II certification for its controlled, secure and efficient operations. The certification further reinforces Jolera’s commitment to maintaining a secure and compliant environment to protect customer data.
“Earning this attestation puts Jolera in a new league of benchmarked process and controls maturity – this is a very advantageous position relative to security and operational controls,” said Manish Govindaraj, Chief Operating Officer at Jolera. “This reinforces our commitment to providing our partners and customers the confidence that their data is being handled in accordance with industry standards and that we are operating in a very controlled, efficient and secured manner.”
SOC 2 Type II certifications are given to companies that follow a set of standards encompassing security, availability, processing, integrity and confidentiality of customer data. The SOC 2 Type II certification provides information on the service organization’s system and the suitability of the design and operating effectiveness of controls.
The SOC 2 audit was completed by an independent accounting, tax and business consulting firm. The auditing process examined the controls, procedures and personnel involved in Jolera’s operations for adherence to industry best practices. Upon completion, it was determined that Jolera’s service complied with audit controls and provided a secure service with high availability as of the report date of December 9, 2020.
Jolera offers MSPs & IT solution providers next-generation managed services enabling them to create world-class experiences for their clients. We are dedicated to innovating the way organizations integrate IT with their business, providing organizations with live actionable insights to help them succeed. Our partners receive award-winning solutions built on over 20 years of experience servicing businesses worldwide.
The Canadian Business Unit Leader and National Director of Services for Dell Technologies Canada, Marc Mondesir describes himself as a customer advocate, but most importantly a problem solver.
Since the start of Mondesir’s career at Dell Canada in 1998, he has always focused on helping customers remove obstacles to better achieve their goals. Some of those obstacles can be more daunting than others such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, while others more traditional, like digital transformation. But regardless of how challenging the obstacle can be, Mondesir always works in customer’s point of view rather than basing his strategy purely on his past successes.
And the marketplace today admittedly is like no other time in modern history because of COVID-19. In the last 200 days or so of the pandemic, Mondesir has had to switch gears in terms of his customer approach. He has been positioning digital transformation as a competitive advantage for business for five years, but the pandemic and subsequent lockdown has accelerated that push to transform.
“Digital transformation has gone from providing a competitive advantage to a necessity. And as-a-service solutions compliment that as it helps the customer consume in a flexible way,” he said during the Jolera Interview Series.
Mondesir displays a large quote on his LinkedIn page: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” That quote is from Mahatma Gandhi, Indian social activist.
“I take this quote seriously, and it’s an ode to being anti-consumption, and it speaks to the sign of the times. Things are complicated now with politics, diversity, inclusion issues, and it can be overwhelming. Words are like jet fuel, and it sparks a lot of emotion in people. What I tell myself is happiness is to focus on what you can control. You can look at the world’s problems, but what can I control? I can control my actions and show up every day, and this quote reinforces that.”
Mondesir has his own take on diversity too within the industry. Certainly, he says, there are inequities in pay and power, but there is also an unconscious bias that both fascinates and scares him too.
“There’s a quote out there that ‘software is eating the world,’ and it’s true. Software is everywhere, and it is automating a lot of the aspects of our lives. Software is a series of algorithms. People program those algorithms to interpret the world, so the person who builds these algorithms, if they have inherited biases, may end up coding them into the software. What does that do to the fabric of our society? Could we find ourselves going back to the drawing board in terms of the progress we have made this far?”
During the interview, Mondesir also talks about Dell’s innovation, the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reflects on his time running an all-ages dance hall.
Citrix Systems Inc. was founded in Texas back in 1989. In the past 30 or so years, Citrix has evolved from a developer of remote access software for Microsoft Windows to an internationally known provider of desktop virtualization, software-as-a-service, and cloud technologies. Recently, Citrix has embarked on a rebranding strategy that looks to position the company as “the new face of work.”
The overall concept of the new corporate identity for Citrix is to freshen up the overall employee experience. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, remote working has become the new normal. However, this change was already trending well before the outbreak of the COVID-19. According to the 2019 Buffer State of the Remote Worker report, 99 percent of workers would like to work remote, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers.
This prevailing movement has encouraged Citrix to rebrand itself along the lines of this new way of working. The company no longer views work as a place. Instead, it looks at it as an experience where people can execute tasks and strive for achievement with minimal distractions and interruptions.
Leading the charge in Canada is Edward Rodriguez, the Vice President of Sales and General Manager of Citrix Canada. Rodriguez has been at the helm of Citrix Canada for more than two years and, during the Jolera Interview Series, said he looks to grow Citrix Canada by improving the way people work.
“At Citrix, we believe we can grow the company by working on getting the most out of our employees. We provide an experience that empowers them to do their best. Superior employee experience is essential in fueling business goals such as attracting and retaining talent, boosting customer satisfaction, increasing brand loyalty, and ultimately increasing revenue,” he said.
To that end, Citrix has developed several secure, intelligent workspace technologies that bring tools, apps, content and devices into a single user experience that can be customized to fit any individual’s needs while helping them evolve their work style.
During his 20-plus year career, Rodriguez has focused on improving individual employee performance to grow the business.
“When you do that, it helps boost productivity and creates a sense of accomplishment for the employees, fostering engagement and drives passionate, purposeful, innovative thinking. We all know this is something we need to continue in the evolution of business,” Rodriguez added.
One of Citrix’s new brand awareness campaign’s underlining themes is attempting to tame work complexity. A typical workday could see someone dealing with more than a dozen apps, spending a quarter of their day searching for data to make the right business decision while continually being interrupted by texts, chats and application alerts.
During the Jolera Interview Series, Rodriguez outlines the new Citrix corporate identity program and its means to the Canadian market.
He also talks about the as-a-service market, mentoring young professionals, and handling the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
Jay McBain, the Principal Analyst – Channels, Partnerships & Alliances at Forrester Research, talks to roughly 500 companies about channel programs every year. If you think that is a lot, it just skims the surface, according to McBain, who has himself transitioned from a Channel Chief for Lenovo and Autotask to an influencer at Forrester Research during his career.
During the Jolera Interview Series, McBain recognizes more than 10,000 companies in the world that run some channel program. There are also approximately 175,000 software companies doing business, of which only 10 percent have a channel program.
If you add in the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and Blockchain, to name a few, then there could be more than 800,000 other companies to add to the channel mix. Of the emerging technology companies, only 10 percent of those organizations are running a channel program.
All this activity leads McBain to one conclusion: “Channels are about to explode.”
According to McBain’s research, the transformation IT vendors and channel partners have gone through in the last 18 months is more than what business has seen in the past 39 years combined.
“Partnerships are changing, the way we go to market is changing, and customer behaviours are changing, the growth of marketplaces and ecosystems are becoming more important,” he added.
This is where the as-a-service market kicks in. Recent data captured from CEOs from several industries help paint a direction for the as-a-service world. McBain says that 76 percent of CEOs tracked in this survey believe their current business model will be unrecognizable in the next five years. The market is moving quickly to subscription and consumption-based models such as Netflix.
“Everything will be as-a-service whether it is driving a car, renting a forklift, or buying paper-clips. You have to be rethinking your business model for as-a-service.”
All this activity in the as-a-service market has led to the creation of super-marketplaces, McBain said.
He added that if there is one trend to focus on for Managed Services Providers (MSP) today, its super-marketplaces because they will impact the channel dramatically.
And most of these super-marketplaces we know already, such as Amazon and Alibaba. But, the COVID-19 pandemic has only escalated their relevance in the market, and now we learn from a joint Forrester/McKinsey study that super-marketplaces have grown more in the last three months than during the previous ten years combined.
“In the U.S. alone, about 1/3 of all the dollars in the economy flow through super-marketplaces. We predicted 17 percent of the IT industry would flow through super-marketplaces – that’s $3.6 trillion by 2023. What COVID-19 has done is driven that prediction to next year,” McBain said.
During the interview, McBain provided insights on the trifurcated channel, the lasting impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on IT, and who the winners will be in the age of the super-marketplaces.
Two decades ago, the term RMM or Remote Monitoring and Management was not in anyone’s IT vocabulary. Back then, Gavin Garbutt founded N-able Technologies in Ottawa and developed an RMM solution that fits well in the SMB market and created a new managed services economy for the channel.
Today, Garbutt is starting a new venture called Augmentt. Once again, creating a new channel of revenue for managed services providers (MSPs) with a Software-as-a-Service solution helps MSPs better understand their customers’ SaaS usage, apps, and the costs associated with those apps, identify shadow IT and enforce security policies.
According to Garbutt, Augmentt tries to solve the same problem that N-able tackled 20 years ago.
“The idea of N-able was started when I was at a cocktail party at Christmas time. I talked to a $5 million VAR (Value Added Reseller) and asked him if there was one thing, he could use that would propel his business forward from a profitability and operational perspective,” he said.
The business owner told Garbutt a remote monitoring tool that would inform him of issues ahead of time would be ideal. This type of tool could save the VAR precious time and money from dispatching a truck filled with technicians. This tool could also fix the issue remotely or pinpoint what equipment the technicians needed to bring for onsite remediation. Garbutt’s response to the VAR owner was solutions such as HP OpenView, CA Unicenter, and IBM Tivoli already existed for that. However, those solutions were all enterprise-grade and not well suited for small to medium-sized businesses.
“Eureka! Here’s an opportunity,” Garbutt said.
Fast forward 20 years and all those devices MSPs are handling have moved to the cloud, and the important part of IT is no longer monitoring the actual devices but the applications that run on them.
“So, my view is the next pivot is on cloud services and apps management. This is how MSPs can help customers improve their performance,” he said.
Garbutt does not consider himself to be a pioneer. Instead, he described himself as a person who worked to innovate industries. When starting N-able, he looked at the current landscape and saw the MSP model at 120 devices managed per technician and thought, how can I get that up to 1,000, while still improving service delivery?
“N-able started just after the Dot-Com bust. We tried to create technology to help VARs, at the time, move away from a reactive services model. Back then, their real value was to be inside the customer’s environment and work to fix things. We changed that with remote monitoring and management tools, which took those businesses to a new level. My aspiration was let us take the old model where we managed 120 devices per technician at $60 per month, per device and increase it to 800 or 1,000 per technician: still at $60 a device per month. That now increases your EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) profit by 20 to 30 percent.”
Garbutt’s approach to entrepreneurship is to “go big or go home” and to have the ambition that you can make a difference in a large industry or with a small business owner.
Also, during the interview, Garbutt talking about his experience starting a company during a worldwide pandemic. He also spoke about his leadership style in times of crisis and what the second “T” stands for in his new company Augmentt.
If you ask Denis Gaudreault, the Country Manager of Intel Canada, to describe the chip-making giant, you might be surprised at his answer. Since Intel gained mainstream notoriety with its “Intel Inside” marketing campaign in 1989, the company has been best known for its microprocessors. He mentioned that many do not realize Intel has been in business for more than 50 years. Through Intel’s history, the company has gone through many different stages. Today, Intel is a data-centric company that builds technology from end-to-end such as edge devices all the way up to the data center.
“We do the full spectrum of digital transformation,” Gaudreault said.
While Gaudreault admits he does not have a crystal ball, he did say the COVID-19 global pandemic and the subsequent lockdown has accelerated the realization of digital transformation.
“We are on our way, and we have been advocating for this, especially in Canada, for quite some time. Now people have realized how critical this is to an organization, and we see the behaviour change.”
Gaudreault added that telehealth and education are two sectors that he has seen a massive acceleration for digital transformation in Canada. In its own way, Intel is working to address the many new waves of innovation, such as Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things and 5G. According to Gaudreault, all these new waves of innovation are key elements of the company’s strategy.
“We see them as leads for digital transformation, and they provide an important infusion to our solutions,” he said.
Intel has always been a channel-centric organization from early in the company’s history. In the past year, the Canadian operation has developed several partner programs to ensure business continuation during this difficult lockdown.
“There has been a big shift already to the as-a-service model, and with the pandemic, this has only accelerated. The as-a-service model helps to save on capital expenditure and provides more agility and flexibility. Those who went that route, I believe, reacted better to the pandemic,” Gaudreault said.
Gaudreault also brought up his passion for career development, and during the Jolera Interview Series, he spoke about how important it is to be life-long learners. Intel Canada has added significant investment in this area for training and building career plans for its staff.
“We push people to develop themselves, and it’s not only good for their career, but it helps Intel evolve and grow as well,” he added.
Gaudreault also gave his perspective on what young professionals will say about the COVID-19 lockdown in 20 years and how leaders will be seen based on how they acted during the crisis.