2019 was all about constructing a cloud business for D&H. 2020, by contrast, will be about cashing in on that investment.
“A lot of what we’re doing when it comes to cloud is really sliding full force into execution mode,” says Jason Bystrak, the distributor’s vice president of cloud. Bystrak spoke with ChannelPro earlier this week on the eve of the company’s THREADcast event, held online today in place of an in-person conference originally scheduled to take place in southern California but canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The new emphasis on execution is a big switch for D&H from last year, which began with Bystrak stepping into his current role after an earlier stint as vice president of North American cloud channel sales at Ingram Micro. In a matter of months, Bystrak’s team—now 34 employees strong, up from four scarcely over a year ago—rolled out an all-new cloud marketplace with functionality for selling “clusters” of software, hardware, and services and helped introduce “everything-as-a-service” bundles combining cloud solutions with complementary products in areas like collaboration, unified communications, and storage.
The payoff on those efforts has been strong to date. D&H’s cloud revenue grew by triple digits in 2019, and remains on a “hockey stick” trajectory now. “March is going to be, for almost every measurable metric that we track, our biggest month ever,” Bystrak says.
That, moreover, was before coronavirus-related “stay at home” orders set to cover more than half the U.S. population by week’s end sent businesses large and small dashing to equip suddenly homebound employees with cloud-based collaboration and productivity tools. D&H is already feeling the impact of that spike in demand.
“People are looking to how they stay connected remotely, how do they communicate with their customers, and even internally amongst their teams,” says Bystrak, adding that sales of Microsoft Teams, unified communications services from Intermedia and RingCentral, and file sync and share offerings from Dropbox, Axcient, and others are all up sharply as a result.
“There’s also been an increase in people looking to make sure that they’re able to manage remote environments,” Bystrak says. “We’ve seen an increase in people asking more proactively about Microsoft Azure, how to build those environments out and how to make sure they stay secure.”
Azure services were already on the rise for D&H. “That’s been a hot area for us lately,” Bystrak says. His group has been working steadily to fuel that fire by investing in enablement programs on building Azure service practices.
“Partners are really looking for direction,” Bystrak says. Many are looking for starter solutions to market as well, he adds, so D&H has created pre-assembled “grab and go” options in areas like BDR, file sync and share, and virtual workspaces. A team of cloud technical specialists is then available to help partners with tasks like needs assessment, drafting proposals, and closing deals.
“They really become kind of an extension of our partners’ technical bench when it comes to Azure,” Bystrak says.