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5 for 15: Ian Raper, Riverbed regional vice-president

5 for 15: Ian Raper, Riverbed regional vice-president

The keys to 2015 from industry leaders

Riverbed regional vice president, Ian Raper.

Riverbed regional vice president, Ian Raper.

1. Key channel plays for 2015?

It is no longer good enough to just sell, or supply ‘tin’ in response to a customer request – resellers need to become service providers in order to deliver value to end users and, ultimately, have their businesses thrive. We recognise this shift and so we’re continuing to invest in our partners to deliver technology to their customers as-a-service.

Partners know if they start ‘talking tin’, the margins become very small, very quickly. What they would rather do is create service revenue because they can continue to add value in the future, becoming irreplaceable by making the customer’s business work.

As part of this strategy, we’re also continuing to develop our relationships with other technology vendors to make it easier for our partners to assemble services the customer wants. This is a key component of how we support our partners in the shift to a services model of delivery rather than having them buy separate components and trying to figure out how to mesh them all together.

2. Key technology for 2015?

As businesses continue with BYOD, connected devices (IoT), mobile, and SaaS applications, the amount of traffic on the network grows exponentially.

This new, complex IT environment drives the need for greater – and more granular – levels of visibility and performance management rather than availability management as was previously accepted by the business.

With so much business depending on the flawless performance of applications and networks, companies need to prevent outages before they happen rather than troubleshooting them after the fact. This is exactly why network performance management solutions will be a key technology this year – they give service providers and end users the visibility and control they need in hybrid IT environments, as more people and devices are connected to the network.

3. Key message to the channel for 2015?

It’s becoming clear that application performance equals business performance. In this world, business objectives – not technical constraints – should drive technology decisions so that data and applications best serve the business. This goes to the concept of designing for function.

Technology should never be allowed to get in the way of business objectives – sometimes customers will need to build, sometimes buy and sometimes subscribe to services to achieve their goals. The channel needs to be prepared – and empowered – to offer technology according to what makes best sense to the customer, with the right services to ensure its success.

4. Key warning to the channel for 2015?

To put it simply, make sure you sell what people want to buy. Customers don’t want to buy a particular product, they want to buy the outcome – and these days this is preferably via a consumption model. Offering a discount for a particular product will not succeed, offering to assist or achieve a customer goal will.

Read more: 5 for 15: Matt Jones, Xebra director

For example, if a customer wants to move to a Cloud platform but they don’t know how to do it, the successful partner provides the service(s) to get them there. Ultimately, customers are looking for someone to solve a problem – they don’t care what technology you use, they just want it to work.

5. Key to Riverbed for 2015?

The key for us this year is to be much clearer about how we frame the capabilities we can offer our customers. We’re known for our WAN optimisation, but today we can optimise and accelerate anything, anywhere. Wherever today’s hybrid enterprise takes the customer, we can ensure their employees can work where it makes the best sense for the business.

Given our 100 per cent channel strategy, our partners are a critical component of the dialogue we have with customers. As part of this plan, this year we will be expanding our channel program in order to enable partners to start this conversation with both prospective and existing clients.

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