29 November 2013

CRN Says "Sitting on the fence is not the answer when it comes to cloud go-to-market strategy"

The path of IT distribution has followed some twists and turns in recent years and the well-understood two-tier system is continuing to evolve. This is driven in part by the fact that Web 2.0 technologies now in the cloud have less complex sales cycles and more easy-to-install offerings.

When it comes to their go-to-market strategies, IT vendors have a choice: channel, direct or a hybrid model. As technologies have become less complex, and therefore easier to sell, there is a line of thought that says let's go direct and keep all the profits ourselves.

Alternatively, we are seeing an increasing number of vendors that wish to hedge their bets and keep a foot in both camps. They have their own direct approach as well as partnering with a distributor. This way, they've covered all their bases, right?

I can see the logic of the hedge-your-bets approach. And for vendors that have had a less than positive channel experience I can understand the appeal. Tales of big brands dominating mind share with marketing muscle and deep pockets are not uncommon.

However, there is a lot to be said for choosing one option - the channel model - and sticking with it.

There's a well-known phrase: "There are only two options regarding commitment; you're either in or you're out. There's no such thing as life in between." And I think that rings true here. Why?

Like most things in life, the more you put in, the more you will probably get out. From the distributor's point of view, my preference of course is for my vendors to opt solely for the channel route.

After all, why should I invest my team's resources, time and effort promoting a vendor, if they are going the direct route too - effectively cannibalising, and in some cases under-cutting, my efforts?

That said, I recognise that for vendors to commit 100 per cent to the channel, distributors and resellers need to bring something extra to the table, something that a vendor cannot do without the channel's help.

This is especially pertinent for lesser known but innovative technology providers that are trying to enter the UK market but struggle to be heard above the hype pushed out by "competitive" brands.

This is where real value-add distribution comes into play, and lots of column inches have been dedicated to the topic. Is the term just another marketing catchphrase? Does it actually mean anything at all? I would say yes, VAD does stand for something.

It stands for the level of service that will ultimately persuade vendors to opt for the channel model. But not all distributors are equal so you want to be sure you are doing business with a real value-adding partner.

How close-knit is the distributor's ecosystem? Are there proven, positive and productive relationships between the distributor and its resellers and end users?

Look for evidence, including the presence of strong account managers with a solid track record in closing business and for regular networking forums that bring together the distributor's community to share experiences and strengthen relationships.
How extensive is the partner base? Your business is unique. You need to be sure that your chosen channel partner has sufficient breadth and depth of choice to meet specific needs.

This includes looking at your vertical expertise or technology offering - do you need someone who understands security, for example? Make sure that your chosen distributor can match you to business partners that understand your requirements, and can address them.

Are there any services on offer to help sales? Companies are generally more successful if they are supported throughout the sales process. Perhaps there is a tailored vendor support launch pack, pre-sales and technical training, a virtual marketing team or an end-user demand generation platform. If there are no additional services, look elsewhere.

I am passionate about maintaining the value in distribution and I firmly believe that vendors will be more successful if they are supported and rewarded through strong channel partnerships and enabled with the right tools.

But make a decision and stick with it. Take the direct route or go through the channel - but don't hedge your bets. That's a diluted approach that doesn't work. If that is your chosen strategy, at best your business will not realise its full ambitions, and at worst it will fail completely.

The choice is yours.

25 November 2013

Cloud Distribution Inks Exclusive UK & Eire Partnership Deal With WatchDox

Reading, UK – 25th November 2013 – Security and networking value added distributor (VAD) Cloud Distribution has signed a distribution agreement with WatchDox, a provider of secure file sharing, synchronising, collaboration, editing, annotating and mobile productivity solutions. The WatchDox offering is the most secure way to enable increased workflow and mobile collaboration by allowing end-users to access, share and control critical documents wherever they go on any tablet, smartphone, or PC, and even on devices beyond the IT department’s control. With immediate effect, WatchDox will enhance Cloud Distribution’s Enterprise Mobility stack and Cloud Distribution will become WatchDox’s sole distributor across the U.K. and Ireland.

Cloud Distribution’s Enterprise Mobility solution enables value added resellers (VARs) to promote an enterprise-class solution as a product sale or managed offering, including secure Wi-Fi connectivity, network access control, device management, data centric security and device APT and malware protection. WatchDox significantly enhances Cloud Distribution’s portfolio, particularly for organisations in industries such as technology, finance, legal and manufacturing, where sensitive information has to be shared externally.

“The need to deliver a secure enterprise mobility strategy is one of the most pressing issues that IT security teams are tackling today as mobile workforces are only set to grow. The addition of WatchDox means that our Enterprise Mobility stack can deliver a complete solution for resellers to offer their end users, all of whom are striving to prevent data loss, mitigate security breaches and meet compliance regulations,” said Adam Davison, director at Cloud Distribution.

“More enterprises are moving away from consumer Dropbox-type file sharing and mobile solutions due to security concerns. WatchDox provides the enterprise-level secure mobility and collaboration functionality that organisations need,” said Ryan Kalember, chief product officer at WatchDox. “Having recently established our EMEA headquarters in London, we sought a distribution partner in the U.K. With its rich IT security credentials and expertise in introducing new technologies to the U.K. market, Cloud Distribution was the obvious choice for WatchDox.”

Dave Henderson, Sales Director at, the UK’s leading mobility integrator, Bluefort Security, said, “The mobile challenges of security, collaboration and secure sync are almost universal among our customers. With WatchDox now part of Cloud Distribution’s portfolio, we can now offer a complete end to end secure mobile enterprise security solution, from MDM,MAM,  zero day malware protection right through to secure file share, edit and collaboration.”

Vendors included in Cloud Distribution’s Enterprise Mobility solution are:

·         Aerohive Networks - Simplified cloud-managed Wi-Fi and networking
·         Meraki                   – Next-generation wireless connectivity
·         Maas360                 – Gartner leader for cloud-based mobile device management
·         Lacoon Security      – Zero day malware, APT and AV protection for mobile devices
·         Watchful Software  – Data-centric security, DLP and ERM
·         WatchDox               – Secure sharing, control and collaboration with files on the move

All the technologies in Cloud Distribution’s Enterprise Mobility solution are next-generation, cloud-based and easy to deploy, delivering faster and easier sales cycles for resellers. The solutions can be sold as stand-alone offerings, bundled or as partner-branded managed services, enabling resellers to create their own bespoke enterprise mobility solutions that meet the needs of their end users.  


About Cloud Distribution
Cloud Distribution is a value-added distributor of disruptive next-generation security and networking solutions that VARs can take to market quickly and easily. It currently distributes Meraki, PepLink, Talon Storage Solutions, Lastline Inc, Lacoon Security, WatchDox, Watchful and Fiberlink. Its portfolio of disruptive security and networking solutions helps resellers to differentiate themselves from the competition and create new markets to sell in.  The company was founded in 2009 by senior executives with a wealth of experience in the security, networking and optimisation space. Its philosophy is to take innovative, cutting-edge vendors into the UK market by recruiting and working together with skilled, reputable, market making partners.  For further information please visit www.cloud-distribution.com. Follow us on Twitter @cloudtweeters.

About WatchDox 
WatchDox enables organizations to access, protect and control their critical documents wherever they go on any tablet, smartphone or PC, even those beyond the IT department’s control. With WatchDox technology, organizations can collaborate securely with partners, safely adopt bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives, and destroy their documents remotely if a device goes missing. More than 100 of the Fortune 1000 – including many of the world’s leading financial institutions, manufacturers and government agencies – depend on WatchDox secure file-sharing solutions. For more information, please visit http://www.watchdox.com.