IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

New Tech Data Program Strives to Help Partners Adapt to Coronavirus-Related Cloud Challenges

Called Stay Connected, the free resource distributes advice on tackling immediate issues created by spiking adoption of remote work policies, as well as guidance on longer-term, post-pandemic needs and opportunities. By Rich Freeman

Tech Data’s cloud solutions group has introduced a free resource designed to help partners cope with immediate coronavirus-related challenges and plan for longer-term opportunities.

Called Stay Connected, the program uses everything from blogs and videos to podcasts and social media posts to distribute advice on a wide variety of technical, sales, and operational topics. It is open to all channel pros, including those without a Tech Data account.

There are over 35 items available through Stay Connected at present, with more arriving regularly. Among them is a set of a customizable scripts that partners can use to shut down cloud-based virtual servers in Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services automatically when they’re not needed, like at night or during weekends, and then spin them back up automatically during busier times.

“It’s a very good way for us to work with our partners to save end customers dollars,” say Mike Ward, director of cloud sales for Tech Data in the Americas. “Most of our partners don’t have a 7x24 hour need to have those virtual machines up and running.”

Targeted at channel pros with limited experience in administering public cloud platforms, the scripts are accompanied by a training video as well as personalized technical support. “If needed, our presales engineering resources will get on the phone with the partner and ensure that they are creating that script effectively,” Ward says.

Stay Connected materials are organized into broad categories that Tech Data refers to as “the three R’s.” Response resources are designed to assist with short-term needs brought about by the abrupt adoption of work-from-home policies in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Examples, in addition to the cloud server scripts, include a series of “customer immersion experiences” for users new to Microsoft Teams.

“We’re really out there just training individuals and partners on how to use that technology to help them communicate better and collaborate better while they’re working remotely,” Ward says.

Recovery resources look ahead to the increased economic activity expected when distancing restrictions, which have tightened in many places recently in response to surging COVID-19 infection rates, begin to ease again. According to Ward, they include materials about migrating hybrid cloud workloads hosted on premises but accessed via technologies like Microsoft Remote Desktop Services into SaaS environments.

“Customers are really seeing the benefit of just moving that application completely up to the cloud,” he says.

Resilience resources aim to prepare partners for needs and opportunities that will arise after the coronavirus pandemic is over. Examples include integrating the cloud solutions partners have rolled out for customers more closely, and hardening the security infrastructure that protects those systems.

Launching Stay Connected is one of several actions Tech Data’s cloud solutions unit has taken this year in response to spiking demand for cloud solutions. The company has also been rapidly expanding the family of “click-to-run” solutions it introduced early last year. There are over 20 such systems, which are engineered for easy deployment, at present. Another 10 in areas like data management and security are currently in development.

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