THE SERVER CLOSET’S DEAD! Long live the cloud!
Or so goes conventional wisdom, anyway, which holds that on-site infrastructure is fading into antiquity, and taking hardware-related revenues with it.
Not so fast, counters power and availability vendor APC by Schneider Electric. Demand for on-site infrastructure may be declining, but there are still plenty of ways to profit from it if you’re willing to evolve your business model. APC wants to help channel pros do just that.
“We’re helping our partners reach into new markets,” says Katie Boeh, the West Kingston, R.I.-based company’s director of channel marketing and communication.
Edge computing is among the biggest of those markets. Internet of Things solutions are generating masses of information, and businesses eager to get their hands on it faster and more securely are increasingly deploying IT resources right where the data’s generated, on the so-called “edge of the network.” All that hardware needs power protection, and APC’s Edge IT Program aims to make meeting that need easier for the company’s partners.
A Repeatable Solution
At the heart of the recently revamped offering is a new, graphical tool called the Local Edge Configurator that helps channel pros create reusable edge computing architectures complete with all the uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution units, racks, and additional items needed to support edge-friendly storage, networking, and converged or hyperconverged infrastructure systems from Cisco, Nutanix, Dell EMC, and others.
“We really felt that our partners needed a way to build a solution for these local edge environments that was fast, that was local, that was easy to visualize, and very easy to repeat across multiple architectures,” Boeh says.
Edge IT Program enrollees get discounts too. Include APC by Schneider Electric products from three eligible categories in your reference architectures, for example, and you’ll pay 7 percent less for them. Roll five product categories into your solutions and the savings rise to 15 percent.
Edge computing isn’t the only local hardware option APC urges channel pros to consider, though. MSPs can make money supporting UPS hardware remotely as well.
“We’re trying to encourage our partners to build a proactive power management and monitoring service as part of their managed services offering,” Boeh says.
In support of that effort, APC by Schneider Electric added a managed services specialization to its Global Channel Partner Program last May. Members who successfully complete three self-paced, roughly 20-minute free online courses get access to sales, technical, and marketing support; financial incentives; and a series of plug-ins the company has created that enable MSPs to administer APC Smart-UPS systems via RMM tools from ConnectWise, Kaseya, and others.
Partners who don’t use one of those tools can tap into the web management portal recently added to APC’s SmartConnect program instead. Either way, they’ll know immediately when a UPS has switched on its battery in response to a power outage or needs a new battery. According to Boeh, information like that can help MSPs dramatically reduce the 25 percent of unplanned downtime caused by poorly managed UPS hardware.
“It’s a big pain point,” she says.
At present, close to 350 partners have earned APC’s MSP certification. Boeh emphasizes, though, that the company has plenty to offer all of the 21,000 members in its Global Channel Partner Program, some 4,000 of which are in North America. Depending on which level of the four-tier program they qualify for, members receive deal registration, marketing development funds, and the ability to earn points every time they make a sale that they can then exchange for distribution credit, gifts, and other goodies.
Boeh is looking to introduce more partners to rewards like those.
“The last few years we’ve focused more on quality over quantity,” says Boeh of her team’s recent partner recruiting efforts. “We’re getting into more of a growth mindset.” Cloud or no cloud, APC needs all the help it can get powering and protecting local hardware.