5 for 15: Stuart Mills, CenturyLink A/NZ regional director

5 for 15: Stuart Mills, CenturyLink A/NZ regional director

The keys to 2015 from industry leaders

CenturyLink A/NZ regional director, Stuart Mills

CenturyLink A/NZ regional director, Stuart Mills

1. Key channel plays for 2015

Customer needs are now clearly being aligned to outcomes rather than inputs. These can be delivered in a range of ways including traditional on-site purchases and installations, selective sourcing of managed services to preferred partners, use of various Cloud models, or the use of all of these at once in a hybrid IT environment.

The channel of 2015 and beyond should aim to move its deliverables from tangible inputs to tangible outputs and outcomes, and make fluid use of all delivery models to achieve these.

2. Key technology for 2015

The era of Big Data is now upon us, and service providers are emerging that bring complex computing capabilities to the mid-market, through as-a-service Big Data offerings. This will enable the wider market to access critical information about their business and customers to assist them to get ahead of their competition.

An example is Orchestrate, which provide No SQL database capabilities in the Cloud, and a range of packaged analytics services to wrap around these. This means that new data sets can be built, analysed and updated on a rapid and regular basis, whilst renting short-term resources for a lower cost than doing it in-house.

3. Key message to the channel for 2015

Look to the future – what will be the next technologies and services that can be presented to your customers from 2015-2020? Get on board early and establish best-in-class skill sets ahead of the market to offer consulting, design, build, migration, management and reporting around these. Make use of global vendors rather than building your own, and use these components to create end-user outcomes that combine multiple services into one.

Also, consider offering your customers international services, by leveraging relationships with global Cloud vendors and service providers. Often the implementations will be similar to those in Australia, meaning end clients will trust their preferred Australian partner if international services are now on offer, and this will increase your revenue and share of wallet in the account.

4. Key warning to the channel for 2015

The next few years will see rapid shifts in the Cloud Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) markets as vendors consolidate around different value propositions, and global vendors likely out-scale local operators. Not all vendors are channel-aligned, so the key for channel players will be to ensure that they are able to offer customers the power of the global Cloud, channel-friendly vendors to work with, perhaps under their own brand, but without the costs and effort of continuing to develop their own, or using a smaller provider who cannot win the scale and feature race.

5. Key to your company’s success in 2015

Remain flexible, work with multiple cloud and other vendors to give customers choice and agility around workloads, and differentiate through specialised integration services that glue these together to produce an end outcome your customers need. Keep an eye to the future and adopt new services early to gain a market edge. Deliver outcomes not inputs.

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