Tech Data Corp. has equipped resellers in Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider program with new ways to give their clients self-serve access to its StreamOne cloud e-commerce platform.
In a Tuesday announcement at Microsoft’s 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, where the Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor is a diamond-level sponsor, Tech Data introduced a new storefront tool that CSP resellers can use to let customers research, implement, and pay for an extensive inventory of cloud-based solutions on a white-label basis via the partner’s own website.
Officially known as Tech Data Cloud's Private Label Marketplace, the new offering responds to requests from partners for an ordering, provisioning, and billing solution appropriate for customers who expect online tools to be point-and-click easy, according to John Tonnison, Tech Data’s executive vice president for cloud computing and chief information officer.
“StreamOne is more a business platform that’s been designed for the business between our partners and us,” he says. The new Private Label Marketplace, by contrast, is “a far more user experience focused, very dynamic, very rich stand-alone platform for a reseller to brand as their own and make their cloud marketplace for everything Microsoft.”
Solution providers with existing storefronts, meanwhile, can now tap into StreamOne’s backend infrastructure utilizing a new set of 14 APIs also unveiled on Tuesday.
“They can totally make [StreamOne] their own by just using all of our dynamic subscription-consumption kind of digital era services in an API form,” Tonnison says.
The new APIs are available immediately in the U.S. and Europe, with access in Canada expected this fall. That same timing applies to Tech Data’s third cloud-related announcement Tuesday as well: For the first time, Microsoft CSP resellers in Tech Data’s channel can procure Microsoft Azure platform-as-a-service offerings via StreamOne in addition to software-as-a-service applications like Office 365 and Dynamics CRM. To make consuming Azure services easier for both partners and end users, moreover, Tech Data has created pre-configured bundles for backup and site recovery, file storage, SQL Server databases, and virtual machines.
Though it’s available today in the same countries as its new APIs and Azure services, Tech Data doesn’t plan to promote the Private Label Marketplace heavily until it after it collects and incorporates feedback from a handful of early adopters.
“Like any good roll out of software, we want to make sure that our partners are having a great experience,” says Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of Tech Data Cloud for the Americas.
Tech Data’s latest cloud platform updates come three months after a series of similar announcements by Ingram Micro Inc., of Irvine, Calif. According to Tonnison, however, the Private Label Marketplace’s modern, intuitive interface is a differentiating strength.
“It is striking, it is fresh, [and] it’s simple, simple, simple,” he says.
Also announced by Tech Data at WPC on Tuesday was a new partner enablement resource designed to help resellers refine their cloud skills and processes. Through an agreement with Cary, N.C.-based learning services and professional development provider Global Knowledge Training LLC, resellers now have access to an online tool that assesses their cloud-related business practices and identifies opportunities for improvement. Partners can then engage in a paid consulting engagement with Global Knowledge experts to develop a customized plan for rectifying those gaps.
The new program is targeted chiefly at resellers who dabble in the cloud presently but have yet to truly embrace or master it, according to Reza Honarmand, Tech Data’s vice president of software and cloud services for Europe.
“Really what we’re trying to do is get as many of those partners transitioned as possible,” he says.
The distributor also hopes to help somewhat more experienced resellers close cloud deals and deliver cloud services more efficiently and hence profitably, adds Tonnison.
“This is a tool and a structure and a framework that’s going to help the resellers scale those engagements,” he says.
As with the other services unveiled today, the new cloud assessment tool is available immediately in the U.S. and Europe, and will become available in Canada this fall.