By Peter Flischman, Cloud Integration Manager at Axiz

Change is inescapable, and the more we take control of change, the more we benefit. Former US president Barack Obama said it best: “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”

Those words work well to articulate the digital changes we’re witnessing across the business world. So much has been written and said about digital transformation, much of it aspirational. Then the pandemic arrived and quickly defined the consequences of a digitised world. Hybrid workplaces emerged from the hard lessons that followed and, with that, a new appreciation of what the cloud means to modern organisations.

It’s vitally important that channel operators understand what’s happening. To grasp the shift, we should go back to before the pandemic.

Several years ago, Axiz made the strategic decision to become a cloud service provider and enabler. We recognised that we must expand beyond our role as a leading technology distributor. We didn’t cannibalise or destroy that valuable business division. Instead, we looked at how Axiz could leverage the cloud to better represent the 50-plus vendors in our stable and enable our channel customers to bring the cloud to their customers.

It’s been a learning experience, and the number one problem we encounter is a misunderstanding of what the cloud could be. Most organisations – and even channel resellers – often see the cloud as a cheap way to create off-site backups. Few looked beyond that and even fewer had cloud strategies. In hindsight, they didn’t know how to look at the cloud in new ways. As a distributor, it was easier for Axiz to appreciate the cloud’s many different opportunities. But for many others, these remained aspirational and theoretical.

Then the pandemic arrived and placed new pressures on businesses. They added new cloud services to remain operational and flexible, especially to support remote workers. This step has set the stage for a new cloud era.

Now is the time for channel partners to take the cloud to their customers. The paradigms introduced by hybrid and remote working are gateways to the cloud’s many other features. For example, more companies want to know about single sign-on services covering cloud and on-premises services locally and remotely. Many businesses now want to discuss cloud-powered security that follows users and data. And a substantial number of organisations are selectively culling older systems, replacing them with managed services.

Axiz provides a significant advantage for the channel. We represent dozens of vendors, including the Microsoft Azure cloud environment, VMware virtualisation, Veeam data management, Cisco cloud solutions, HPE GreenLake services, Adobe cloud services, Citrix virtual desktops, Veritas multicloud data management and many more prominent brands.

Ultimately, customers want two things from the cloud: clear outcomes and simple interactions. They want strategies that combine cloud features to realise business goals, and they want one voice – not a chorus – from their solution partners.

Those needs reflect Axiz’s cloud strategy. Our channel partners need support and strategy, which is why Axiz has established a virtual marketplace where partners can mix and match services with physical hardware and other partner offerings. We provide access to vendor services and products, and we also support our channel partners by joining strategy discussions with their customers, supporting partner skill development and offering financing choices. Axiz helps channel companies evolve to deliver the cloud.

There is no better time to add cloud services to your portfolio. Hybrid working is enlightening companies about what the cloud can achieve for them. But it’s not a foregone outcome – many organisations may not succeed at first, because they don’t sufficiently adopt the right cloud choices. This point brings me back to President Obama’s quote: we’re not waiting for the people who will introduce cloud to Africa’s companies. We are those people! And Axiz is the distributor to help support that change.

The cloud has arrived, and attitudes have changed. How are you changing in the channel to make it happen for your customers?