Business processes are becoming an increasingly important consideration for any IT integrator delivering solutions to commercial customers. They are also proving to be critical in the context of a virtualised desktop environment.
While most integrators have got the technology and solutions skills down pat, consulting around business processes requires a different type of knowledge and approach. Rodd Consulting’s Rob Ritchie said many VMware server virtualisation partners were well adept at handling back-office requirements and challenges, but didn’t necessarily understand how to deal successfully with the front-end.
“The back-office and the server room in some ways is simple, but out in the front office you have to deal with a lot of people, politics and it really is a different skills set,” he said. “Sure, virtualisation is IT-related, but there are also a lot of business process involved and I’m not sure those skills lie in our industry.”
For Technical Architecture Solutions’ Tony Wilkinson, selling a virtual desktop environment to medium and large enterprise customers was not about the technology solution itself – it was about selling a more efficient business management platform.
“For us, VDI is not the lead sale. The change is the business process re-engineering project and we’re being brought in to advise on protecting data, and making us more efficient,” he said. “VDI, or a mixture of product in the market, are then coming in as the solution.”
Wilkinson said VMware partners had to expand their skills sets if they were going to get customers to adopt desktop virtualisation.
“We have only got a small subset of staff that have had desktop experience, along with the business process experience, which we put into the VDI area. Just because a guy can do the back-end server virtualisation, it doesn’t necessarily mean he can do View,” he said.
Thomas Duryea’s Peter Levett claimed any desktop virtualisation deployment needed to complement business management tools already used by corporate customers, such as Symantec’s Altiris offering.
“We are going through a cultural thing, where we have guys that were focused on the desktop, and guys focused on the server, having to work together because it’s more than doing an XP image. You’ve got to use all these [business process management] tools and complement them by moving to this architecture, or better what they were doing,” he said.
VMware’s Manish Sharma said the advent of cloud computing would trigger a move towards better collaboration, resulting in an ever bigger need for flexible business processes. To assist partners build better capabilities around these areas, VMware will rollout more competencies through its partner program later this year.
“In the beginning, virtualisation was about consolidation and containing cost. Now we are making a leap,” Sharma said. “We are entering the next phase of our partner program, based on competencies. That’s the first step towards having certain partners focusing on certain skills and companies.” Ritchie pointed out the need for business process re-engineering skills would open up new revenue streams for partners.
“From a consulting perspective, there are a lot of dollars for a business processes engagement. In my business, that’s fantastic, and we’re in a good position to grab those dollars. There is an opportunity to get access to another form of dollar and it’s up to you if you want to grab it,” he said.