IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Tech Data Expands Cloud Solution Factory and Practice Builder Program

Showcased at Microsoft’s 2019 Inspire partner conference, the 16 “click-to-run” solutions and cloud business enablement offerings are designed to help channel pros get new cloud services to market rapidly. By Rich Freeman

In the latest expansion of a continuing effort to help traditional resellers become cloud service providers, Tech Data has rolled out new “click-to-run” cloud solutions and enablement programs.

Announced during Microsoft’s Inspire conference, which concluded today in Las Vegas, the new offerings focus extensively on Microsoft’s Azure public cloud and cloud-based Office 365 productivity suite.

The 16 cloud solutions introduced this week are the latest additions to the Cloud Solution Factory that Tech Data launched in February. They span from Veeam Backup for Office 365 and Veeam Cloud Connect on Azure to NetApp SaaS Backup and Docker Enterprise Edition. Each one includes pre-assembled and validated code plus a set of accompanying collateral, battle cards, training materials, and more.

“They’re ready to go,” says Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of Tech Data’s cloud business in the Americas. “There’s some tweaking that needs to be done, but literally it can be done on the phone with one of our specialists.” Additional solutions will join this initial crop on a regular basis, she continues.

The new enablement courses also unveiled this week are delivered through Tech Data’s digital Practice Builder platform. Organized around solution- and vendor-specific “paths,” they’re designed to help partners plan and launch new cloud service offerings in as little as 90 days.

Solution-focused paths available now cover core cloud, cloud data protection, and modern workplace offerings. Vendor-focused paths address a variety of solutions based on technology from Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and Google’s G Suite platform. 

Examples of Microsoft-related vendor programs include one that shows partners how to launch a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) practice and another that provides guidance on developing a Microsoft Azure practice. Named Azure Express and available exclusively in the U.S. at present, with global rollout to follow, the latter of those offerings was developed collaboratively with Microsoft itself. 

Originally a hands-on, multi-month process, Practice Builder is designed to help cloud newcomers get a service business up and running. The digital version of the program, which debuted last October, makes the Practice Builder methodology available to a wider number of partners than the face-to-face version can accommodate.

Self-paced, online offerings, digital Practice Builder programs like the ones introduced this week are backed by coaches and concierges offering personalized assistance. “We do have real people who are watching your progress,” Nethercoat says. “They’re reaching out, and of course they are always available digitally via the platform at any time to have a conversation.”

To date, over 900 partners have utilized digital Practice Builder resources.

The latest digital Practice Builder sessions target companies that have completed the process for establishing a cloud service practice and now wish to expand it. Partners that already have mature cloud delivery skills, however, can skip past the introductory materials and go straight to the new solution and vendor paths.

“That is the beauty of the program,” says Sergio Farache, senior vice president for global cloud solutions at Tech Data. “You can be a partner that is just starting with the process or a partner that is already very advanced that only wants to add one specific competency.”

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