Managed service enabler expands on vision to provide more tools, resources
Vendor channel conferences are about getting partners excited about new products and initiatives, and Datto didn’t fail in that regard at its annual DattoCon event this week in San Diego. The managed service enabler unveiled nearly two-dozen new products, upgrades, and partner integrations.
The Lowdown: DattoCon, now in its seventh year, attracted more than 2,900 managed service provider (MSP) partners from around the world to what has become one of the largest channel events. Datto used the gathering as a platform for transmitting its vision for an open, comprehensive managed service ecosystem in which partners can build service practices with its and third-party products.
The Details: Among the new and improved products unveiled at DattoCon:
> Cloud Continuity for PCs: An image-based business continuity service that takes continuous backups and protects critical PC data; MSPs can now recover individual files or an entire PC image without the need for a local appliance, access reliable backups of PC data, and virtualize backup images in the Datto cloud.
> SIRIS 4: A next-generation release of Datto’s flagship backup appliance that boasts improved operational efficiency, reliability, and durability. The enhanced processing power means SIRIS 4 virtualizes 50% faster.
> Datto SaaS Protection for Office 365 with Vade E-Mail Security: Datto partnered with Vade Secure to provide AI-based threat detection of phishing and malware attacks against Microsoft Office 365 users.
> Layer 3 Switches for Cloud Management: The new E310 Series switches allow Datto MSPs to deliver fully managed networking with enterprise-class performance.
> Direct Integration with Intermedia for UCaaS Management: Datto and Intermedia announced full integration of the Intermedia Control Panel for its Unified Communications-as-a-Service and the Autotask PSA platform for more holistic managed service capabilities and functionality.
> Improved Autotask PSA User Experience: Improvements to the professional services automation (PSA) platform gives MSPs easier access to account summaries in the Autotask CRM, configurable layout of sales opportunities, and better reporting on account activity and health checks.
The Impact: Datto continues to expand its managed service capabilities and offerings since its merger with Autotask and change in management, with Tim Weller taking over the helm from founder Austin McChord. The new product announcements, improved functionality of existing products, and integration with allied vendors are giving Datto MSPs greater access to capabilities that will enhance their market value.
The Buzz: “Our announcements today at DattoCon spotlight how Datto continues to innovate in our core product lines that are purpose-built for MSPs,” said Emily Glass, Chief Product Officer. “Prime examples include Datto’s cloud-first Cloud Continuity for PCs, which extends our capabilities to protect all SMB data, and Datto Networking’s new high-performance Layer 3 switches. These additions help MSPs address critical IT issues for clients while creating margin opportunities for partners to grow their managed services.”
The hardware vendor touts fast-growing GreenLake services program and channel as a catalyst for the transition to the consumption-based model
Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) upped the ante on its traditional hardware competitors and cloud rivals by announcing it will transition to an “everything as a service” sales model by 2022, building off the success of its fast-growing GreenLake program. The transition will change the way HPE’s direct and channel partners work with customers while creating persistent recurring revenue for all parties in the go-to-market chain.
The Lowdown: The transition goal, announced at the annual HPE Global Partner Summit in Las Vegas, aims to move the total hardware and services portfolio to a consumption-based model in which customers pay based on what services. The sales model is a departure from the traditional model in which customers buy hardware through a one-time transaction and subscribe to attached maintenance, support, and attached professional services.
The Details: The move is consistent with HPE’s long-term growth and development strategy announced last fall. HPE is building off the success of its GreenLake initiative, in which customers buy servers and other hardware through a pay-as-you-go model similar to cloud computing subscriptions. GreenLake generates more than $2.8 billion in annual revenue and has more than 400 partners selling and supporting customers through the program. HPE says the channel portion of the GreenLake program grew 275% in the last year, making it one of the fastest growing initiatives in the HPE portfolio.
In the short term, HPE will continue to give customer choice in the way they buy products. In other words, customers can choose to buy through a traditional transactional model or through the services-based model. It’s unclear whether customers will continue to have that choice after 2022. HPE plans to unveil GreenLake subscription buying options for products such as Aruba wireless networking hardware as sell as software such as Aruba Central, BlueData, CloudVolumes and OneView.
The Impact: The consumption-based model has benefits to vendors like HPE and customers, alike. For customers, consumption or subscription pricing normalizes expenses and makes expenses predictable, as well as grants greater flexibility in deploying, upgrading and managing infrastructure. For vendors and partners, the model creates predictable revenue, scales resources, creates persistent customer engagements, and – if executed correctly – generates better profits. HPE committing to the XaaS model within three years will give it a head start in transitioning partners and customers.
Background: Many traditional hardware vendors such as Dell Technologies and Lenovo, as well as new entrants such as Microsoft and Google, are selling hardware through subscription models. However, HPE is one of the first large hardware vendors to commit to a total consumption-based model. HPE believes subscription-based selling and engagements aligns with the customer need for hybrid infrastructure, in which local devices attach to cloud services for greater functionality and utility.
The Buzz: “Larger enterprise customers continue to go as a service, but also have on-premises,” said Davis. “We will have right-sized offerings for midmarket and the lower end of the enterprise. Large enterprises have access to data centers, but smaller companies don’t,” said Paul Davis, president of HPE’s hybrid IT business and chief sales officer.
“From a technology perspective, the news also provides yet more evidence that for the vast majority of businesses, the future of the cloud is a hybrid one that can leverage both on-premise (or co-located) computing resources and elements of the public cloud. Companies need the flexibility to have capabilities in both worlds, to have additional choices in who manages those resources and how they’re paid for, and to have the ability to easily move back and forth between them as needs evolve. Hybrid cloud options are really the only ones that can meet this range of needs,” said Bob O’Donnell, a research analyst at TECHanalysis Research.
Channelnomics Point of View: XaaS is the next logical step in go-to-market evolution for hardware vendors. Many traditional hardware vendors watched their cloud counterparts in awe as they amassed fortunes selling cloud subscriptions and generating massive recurring revenue. Selling hardware as a service isn’t easy as someone — most often the vendor — must cover the capital expense of manufacturing and distribution while waiting for the compounding recurring revenue. HPE seems to think it’s solved the upfront expense challenge. A contributing factor to HPE’s confidence is likely its channel partners. Analysts agree that HPE has a distinct advantage over rivals that are slowly transitioning to XaaS because of its large ecosystem of reseller and integrator partners that are capable of linking multiple products to its on-premises and hybrid products to create holistic systems. HPE’s decision to go XaaS will likely prove prophetic and lead others like Dell, Lenovo, IBM and Cisco to accelerate their hardware subscription efforts.
Add-on promises better data quality in distributed environments
Data quality specialist Syncsort today launched an addition to its Trillium family of DQ solutions that specifically targets large volumes of enterprise data on-premises or in the cloud.
The Lowdown: The new Trillium DQ for Big Data offers profiling, cleansing, standardization and matching including strong entity resolution on distributed architectures, on-premises and in the cloud. The capabilities are aimed at helping organizations with Big Data programs improve the quality of data used in insights and governance initiatives such as fraud detection, anti-money laundering, omni-channel marketing, predictive analytics, data science and machine learning.
The Details: For both cloud and on-premises applications, Trillium DQ for Big Data features:
• A unified solution to address quality issues in the data lake
• Scalable profiling of high volumes of data and comprehensive matching of complex entities to help ensure data quality and build a 360-degree view of key entities for business-critical applications and AI pipelines within the data lake
• An interface for non-technical users with built-in business rules and drill-down capabilities used to discover DQ issues and anomalies
• Design-once-deploy-anywhere design for running data quality jobs natively to Big Data execution frameworks such as Hadoop MapReduce and Spark or through real-time services with no additional coding or tuning requirements
The Buzz: “Recent Syncsort research revealed more than 72 percent of respondents reported sub-optimal data quality negatively impacting business decisions,” said Dr. Tendu Yogurtcu, CTO at Syncsort. “Almost half also found un-trustworthy results or inaccurate insights from analytics were due to a lack of quality in the data fed into downstream application such as AI and machine learning. By providing integrated data profiling, cleansing, standardization and matching on distributed and cloud platforms, we are empowering organizations to resolve the data quality issues and drive significant business value from their data.”
“Analysis of data quality process flow results is essential for data analysts to support continuous data quality improvement and deliver optimal results within targeted time windows,” Yogurtcu added. “With the new Syncsort Trillium product, we are enabling them to easily profile large, more diverse data sources in a few simple steps, explore the results of the profiling from a business-friendly user interface to discover new insights and issues and monitor the quality of their data to allow delivery of reports and findings readily to business leaders. Data analysts and data quality specialists can also design, develop and deploy highly-scalable data quality solutions in their data pipelines or in real-time to cleanse, standardize, match and resolve entities without technical expertise in Big Data and distributed architectures.”
The two server market leaders say they’re lowering prices to aid partners, but the channel impact could be much different
As Hewlett Packard Enterprise kicks off its annual Global Partner Summit in Las Vegas, Dell Technologies is telling the channel that it’s lowering server prices to better compete with its chief rival and continue to gain market share. The Dell announcement is the latest in a string of pricing cut announcements by both companies as the server market gets more competitive and commoditized, bringing the net impact on channel partners into question.
The Lowdown: In a report by CRN, Dell says it’s made significant adjustments on the list price of many servers over the past several months to better position itself against HPE. Dell declined to give specifics on the models or the adjustments, but solution providers did say Dell is working with them to win in competitive deals. The inference is Dell is getting more aggressive in special pricing than actual price adjustments.
The Details: In April, HPE announced a 5% price cut on its ProLiant server line as a means of stimulating customer buying consideration and gain market share through direct and partner sales channels. At the same time, HPE announced price cuts up to 8% on its 3Par, Nimble, SimpliVity, and Synergy storage hardware products.
The price jockeying between Dell and HPE comes as the server market is showing signs of cooling. According to IDC, server sales in the first quarter of 2019 increased in revenue by 4.4% while the actual unit shipments fell 5.1%. The difference in revenue increases and unit shipment decreases is average sale price. IDC says average sale prices increased offsetting the decline in product volume sold. In terms of market share, Dell maintains its overall leadership at roundly 20% while HPE remains in second place with its share slipping by nearly 1% to 17.8%.
The Impact: Lower prices may help draw customers over the line in the sales process, but it’s not always healthy for partners. Details from Dell and HPE are scant, but partner testimonials indicate both companies are working to win competitive deals as well as grow market share. However, lower pricing – particularly through nonstandard pricing processes – often work against partner interests and profitability. Special pricing will lower the cost to customers, but often compresses organic partner margins and limits partners’ ability to markup their price to the customer.
Channelnomics Point of View: Lowering prices on already commoditized products is likely not a good indication for the channel. Businesses are increasingly turning to public and hybrid cloud infrastructure – particularly in the SMB and midmarket segments – as an alternative to buying and maintaining data centers full of servers. Lowering prices may maintain the status quo, but will not do anything to turn the tide away from cloud adoption and migration. More promising are the device as a service (DaaS) models, such as HPE Green Lake, in which customers subscribe to hardware rather than buying. DaaS won’t reverse pricing commoditization, but it will transform the sales and revenue relationship from transactional to persistent and increase the customer’s lifetime value.
A new survey shows many businesses report high network latency is impacting deployments, use of the Microsoft productivity suite
Old gateway appliances and high network latency are at the root of slowed adoption and migration of Microsoft cloud-connected Office 365 productivity suite, according to a new study by security vendor Zsacler.
The Lowdown: The study, 2019 Office 365 Migration Survey, found that 41 percent of enterprises cited high network congestion as a major factor impacting user experience of the productivity suite. Most enterprises are looking to bypass their network gateways and make direct internet connections to make Office 365 more efficient and effective, the survey found.
The Details: Of the enterprises participating in the Zscaler survey, nearly 40% claimed that the need for upgrading their gateway appliances is impeding their ability to adopt Office 365. Another 63% say that network performance and high latency issues is impeding user experiences with the productivity suite.
The Impact: If the Zscaler survey is taken at face value, the network latency and impact of underperforming legacy hardware are challenges and opportunities. Solution providers can improve customer engagements and experiences by either upgrading their legacy equipment to help improve performance or migrate users to cloud-based alternatives. In either case, the Zscaler study shows attached sales opportunities for solution providers selling subscriptions and professional services to Office 365.
Background: Microsoft Office is one of the most successful and prolific software suites every brought to market. Currently, according to Microsoft, more than 1.2 billion seats of Office are in use. Office 365 is a the highly successful successor to the on-premises licenses and gateway to other cloud services. However, Office 365 has only achieved 10% penetration, giving it tremendous headroom for growth as Microsoft continues to ween the market off its traditional licensed version.
The Buzz: “Modern cloud applications require modern cloud architectures. Many organizations mistakenly deploy Office 365 on top of their current legacy networks, which leaves users with a poor experience and dropped connections,” said Punit Minocha, senior vice president of Business and Corporate Development at Zscaler. “Office 365 was designed to be located as close to the user as possible, but traditional networks fail to deliver the same advantage.”
Gives partners single sign-on and single-screen management via Now
The company has reinvented its marketplace site as an e-commerce platform for third-party solutions and released ConnectWise Now, an interactive interface that lets partners manage all areas of their business – sales, marketing, customer service, finance, etc. – from a single location.
The Lowdown: ConnectWise, which offers an as-a-service platform for professional service automation, remote control and access, remote monitoring and management (RMM), quote proposal and automation, and cybersecurity risk assessment, made the announcements at its IT Nation Explore conference in Orlando, Florida.
The Details: The new-and-improved ConnectWise Marketplace provides support for license and usage-based purchasing and billing. For partners, the new transactional capabilities will be available around-the-clock starting June 24; non-partners can expect to have access to those features sometime this summer.
While Webroot’s and Bitdefender’s products are the only ones available at the marketplace currently, more solutions will be rolled out in the coming weeks and months.
As for ConnectWise Now, company officials said it provides partners with “more control over their business than ever before” by placing aggregate data in a single location and presenting dashboards that provide visibility into active remote-control sessions, cloud health, high-priority tickets, patch compliance, sales pipelines, and other metrics.
In addition, ConnectWise has enabled single sign-on (SSO) for its entire product portfolio, allowing partners to manage user access to all applications in one place.
The Buzz: “We pride ourselves on the service and support we provide our partners, but not everyone wants or needs to spend time going through a ConnectWise account manager to purchase a third-party solution,” said Jason Magee, CEO of ConnectWise. “When you already know the solution you want, you should be able to make a fast, simple transaction so you can get back to the business of serving your customers. That’s what the reinvention of the Marketplace is all about.”
“We understand that having accurate knowledge of your organization and the teams you manage is absolutely crucial to making better business decisions,” said Jeff Bishop, Chief Product Officer at ConnectWise, in discussing the benefits of ConnectWise Now. “That’s why we’ve been working on improving the overall alignment of our product suite, including creating a single screen where all application data can be accessed and viewed, and in a way, that can be tailored to suit your needs. And because ConnectWise is dedicated to the security of our overall suite and your systems, we have released single sign-on for all applications.”
Launches Duet, App Framework for partners
To break down silos and bring together customer-facing teams at organizations, Zendesk this week unveiled Duet, which combines the power of the company’s Sell and Support offerings.
The Lowdown: Duet creates cohesive experiences by allowing both pre-sales and post-sales teams to use the same platform.
The Details: Duet is now available for $59 per user per month.
Meanwhile, the Zendesk App Framework for Sell provides an open, accessible way for companies to integrate third-party systems and create a unified experience with the tools they already use across marketing, sales, service, etc.
With the framework, partners such as Mailchimp and GetResponse can embed third-party actions and data right within Sell and Support. In addition, company-specific information and custom objects can be brought into the Sell and Support apps from Zendesk Sunshine, Zendesk’s CRM platform.
The Impact: Zendesk is working closely not only with development partners but also with systems integrators to enhance the customer experience. Through their planning, design, and deployment services, integration partners are helping companies digitally transform their businesses.
Background: In a recent survey of SMBs, Zendesk found that 86% of software purchasers said the ability to share customer data between sales and support tools is a very important consideration when evaluating software. That ability becomes even more important in fast-growing businesses with resource-constrained sales and service teams.
The Buzz: “The days of thinking about customers as living in separate sales and support clouds is over. Customer experience transcends any single function or team,” said Mikkel Svane, Zendesk founder, CEO, and chairman. “With Duet, we’re changing the CRM landscape forever by breaking down the walls between customer-facing teams and making it easy for companies to get started quickly with a joint offering for sales and service.”
“We’re using Zendesk Sell and Support to make it easier for the entire organization to surface and act on relevant information,” said Simon Rodrigue, senior vice president and chief digital officer at Staples Canada. “By giving our sales and support teams everything they need in one platform, they’re able to effectively and efficiently collaborate and improve the customer experience.”
New device family aims to give small orgs big management, security features
HPE’s Aruba this week launched a new family of wireless access points designed to give SMBs the performance and security features traditionally limited to large enterprises.
The Lowdown: The new Aruba Instant On portfolio features Aruba’s 802.11ac Wave 2 technology and combines the networking vendor’s business-grade Wi-Fi feature set in a bundle that includes simplified setup and management and hardened security.
The Details: The new devices should be of interest to SMB organizations that are increasingly tasked to deliver always-on connectivity and need secure and scalable systems but without the setup and management overhead most enterprise systems entail.
The Aruba Instant On family features:
• A simplified mobile app for setup and management
• Two management modes via the Instant On mobile app or cloud-based Web portal
• Compliance with the latest authentication protocols such as WPA2/WPA3
• Smart Mesh technology for network expansion to hard-to-wire areas
• Ceiling, wall mount, and desktop options to suit a variety of SMB environments
The Buzz: “Aruba is leveraging its extensive experience in enterprise networking to bring high-speed wireless connectivity to small businesses that need secure, scalable Wi-Fi with simplified setup and management,” said David Dennis, executive vice president of product management at technology distributor Synnex. “The SMB market is a focus for Synnex and our market-leading Varnex community of partners dedicated to providing great technology solutions at affordable prices. As the largest stocking distributor for Aruba, Synnex sees an enormous market opportunity with this new portfolio of products.”
“The quality and security of Wi-Fi connectivity is a real consideration for small-business customers when they’re deciding where to play, stay, dine, and do business because so much about the overall experience is tied to staying connected,” said Zeus Kerravala, analyst at ZK Research. “The introduction of Aruba Instant On gives small businesses the ability to simply and easily deploy a wireless solution that can be managed remotely by even non-tech savvy people from any mobile device.”
“Savvy small-business owners understand that, in order to compete and win in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace, they must deliver a seamless and secure wireless experience to their employees, customers, and guests,” said Norm Lillis, vice president of small business at direct market reseller (DMR) giant CDW. “Together with Aruba’s Instant On platform and CDW’s expertise, our small-business clients will be able to better meet the growing needs of their business.”
Riverbed will offer Versa’s software-defined networking products alongside its network optimization and management systems
Riverbed is expanding its the software-defined wide area network (SD-WAN) capabilities through an OEM partnership with Versa Networks. The arrangement will fill a gap in the Riverbed network optimization and performance management portfolio.
The Lowdown: Through the Versa partnership, Riverbed will expand its capabilities and product depth in the burgeoning SD-WAN markets segment. The arrangement gives Riverbed access and ability to sell Versa’s Secure Cloud IP software platform. With the addition of Versa’s technology, Riverbed plans to address SD-WAN market opportunities in the large enterprise and Global 2000 market segments.
The Details: Riverbed sees Versa’s SD-WAN technology as a complement to its existing Riverbed SteelConnect SD-WAN solution. Riverbed says the two technologies will have greater scalability, applicability to large enterprise and carrier-grade networking needs, and advanced security features. Riverbed will market the Versa products with its global support and professional services capabilities.
The Buzz: “The agreement with Versa Networks allows Riverbed to provide our customers with a broader set of choices and address the modern networking needs of organizations of all types and sizes – large, medium and small, cloud-first, hybrid and traditional – across the globe,” said Paul Mountford, CEO at Riverbed. “Versa’s enterprise-class technology complements Riverbed’s leading SD-WAN, application acceleration and digital experience management solutions nicely, and will be backed by Riverbed’s leading support and professional services that customers rely on. This expanded portfolio allows Riverbed to more fully go after our large enterprise installed base, which includes the vast majority of the Fortune 2000, and will empower our customers to choose the right SD-WAN solution to help them transform their networks, gain agility and remain competitive in their respective industries.”
“Riverbed is a trusted leader in enterprise wide area networking and digital performance. Our partnership will provide customers with a complete family of next-generation networking and security solutions for today’s digital world with multi-cloud, multi-transport networks,” said Kelly Ahuja, CEO at Versa Networks. “Versa is teaming up with Riverbed to leverage the organization’s global reach into large enterprise, industry-leading support and services, and expertise and leadership in digital performance, which will drive greater opportunities for Versa and a strong offering for enterprise customers.”
New combined offering brings simple audio to conference and huddle rooms through a subscription model
Everyone who has ever tried initiating a conference call in a meeting room has probably uttered that line from the old Verizon commercials, “Can you hear me now?” Establishing clear audio connections in video-enabled conference rooms is a real chore, which is why LogMeIn and Dolby Laboratories are teaming to create a simple, clear audio solution for meeting rooms that’s sold through a subscription model.
The Lowdown: The collaboration between the two companies will combine LogMeIn’s GoToRoom technology with Dolby Voice technology for simply activated audio connections that deliver clear and consistent sound quality.
The Details: Dolby Voice is part of the company’s Room-as-a-Service offering and model. As an add-on to the GoToRoom service, partners can sell the combined LogMeIn and Dolby platform through a subscription model. Dolby says subscription pricing removes the high upfront cost of equipping and supporting multiple meeting rooms and simplifies deployment.
The Impact: After many years of the promise of simplified communications and collaboration platforms, videoconferencing is quickly becoming the norm for individual desktops in meeting rooms. Users often complain, though, of sound and video quality, particularly in meeting room settings where equipment is often difficult to configure and operate. End users are looking for simple systems with high quality to meet their needs and expectations. On paper, the LogMeIn-Dolby system aims to meet that market need.
Background: Video collaboration is a hot market segment, as demonstrated by the recent Zoom initial public offering. The competitor to LogMeIn went public in April and within weeks doubled its value as its simple and effective service wowed analysts, investors, and customers alike. According to IDC, the video onferencing market will reach $1.6 billion annually in 2020.
The Buzz: “With most conferencing solutions today, people spend far too much time struggling to be heard or figuring out what is being said by participants. Dolby’s expertise in audio and video technologies enables us to deliver a natural, life-like, and intuitive conferencing experience with Dolby Voice,” said Andrew Border, vice president of the Communications Business Group at Dolby. “With LogMeIn’s leadership in the collaboration and communication market, along with our shared passion for delivering spectacular user experiences, we will now be able to deliver Dolby Voice to a larger audience.”
“As an innovator in audio and video technologies, Dolby brings an immense amount of expertise to our vision of creating best-in-class, video-enabled spaces [that are] easy to set up and manage,” said Mark Strassman, senior vice president and general manager of UCC at LogMeIn. “With companies increasingly dispersed, and analyst firms such as Aragon Research predicting that by 2022 65% of conference rooms will be video-enabled, it’s more important than ever to offer the most realistic in-room experience so that colleagues, customers, and partners can feel like they are in the same space whether they are sitting across the table or across the globe. Through our collaboration with Dolby, we are closer than ever to achieving that goal, and we look forward to delivering this to the market later this summer.”