Clusters will also figure prominently in the commerce platform D&H is currently developing, which augments the purchasing and billing features provided by the company’s current marketplace with additional functionality. Scheduled for release in the second quarter of the year, the new system will include tools for finding, selecting, and customizing bundles. Users will be able to supplement items in D&H’s product catalog with offerings of their own as well.
“It’s going to allow you to add in your own products and services into that platform and manage the invoicing process that goes along with it, and the sales process,” Bystrak says.
Additional features in the new platform include the ability to add partner branding and to import contract and invoicing data directly into leading PSA solutions. The system will integrate with ConnectWise Manage and Datto Inc.’s Autotask PSA product to start. Support for additional platforms is likely in the future as well, according to Bystrak.
Other elements of D&H’s cloud strategy include a program called Success Path to the Cloud that’s designed to help partners build subscription-based cloud and managed service businesses. As ChannelPro reported in February, prodding traditional resellers to become MSPs is a central pillar of Bystrak’s plans.
“There’s a lot of ways and different channels that are selling cloud out there today, but we believe the one that is most poised to win is the managed service provider channel,” he told conference-goers yesterday.
To further aid VARs on their journey into managed services, D&H will soon introduce a cluster combining multiple managed service line-of-business tools. Details on which solutions the cluster will include, and from which vendors, are forthcoming.
In parallel with the release of offerings like that, D&H will be hiring cloud personnel aggressively. Bystrak plans to double the size of his cloud salesforce, for example, and add a new team of cloud architects and technicians.
“We want to have people that can help you design the solutions to go in those opportunities and really get in the weeds and under the hood to make sure that everything works to solve your customers’ business problems,” he says.
New field-based business development managers, meanwhile, will provide individual guidance on planning and running a successful cloud solutions practice. According to Bystrak, most distributors provide that kind of hands-on assistance only to larger partners.
“We do a great job supporting the smaller-sized SMB partners,” he says. “Some of the other distributors don’t necessarily focus on that partner base, and that’s where we thrive.”
Cloud computing is one of several heavily-funded strategic growth areas for D&H. Digital signage, conferencing products, and other pro AV solutions are another, as ChannelPro reported yesterday.