As deep skills in cloud infrastructure become an increasing demand for the region's channel, a new local Microsoft provider specialising in partner services is stepping in to fill the gap.
Launched generally in late January, after six months of planning and a limited launch among select partners, Microsoft cloud delivery specialist Be Nimble IT has positioned itself as a partner-only service provider, aiming to help other partners make the most of their existing resources while also complementing those internal resources where needed.
At its core, Be Nimble IT is focused on closing the skills gap for partners by drawing on its own professional expertise in public cloud, including Azure, Office 365, Microsoft 365, private clouds and on-premises data centre technologies -- all areas of rapidly increasing demand, both in terms of skills and services delivery.
“What BeNimble IT does is effectively provide partner-only services, so we don't provide services to customers,” the company’s co-founder and senior consultant Ashleigh Rainer told ARN. “We only provide them to the channel, to Microsoft partners."
“We don't sell hardware [and] we don't sell software. We don't sell cloud subscriptions. We only really deliver IT professional services that help Microsoft partners,” he added.
Rainer should have some idea what partners need in this respect, having previously held the role of Microsoft Azure team leader at Dicker Data. Fellow co-founder and sales and services director Haseeb Jamal, meanwhile, has done time at cloud software distributor Rhipe.
Between them, Rainer and Jamal, both of whom worked together for a time at SoftwareONE, have combined their expertise to build a team of over 20 staff members across Sydney and India and North America.
“What we've tried to do is tailor our services to partners,” Rainer said. “And the main thing partners ask us for is cloud migration services. That's where we both saw a lot of demand when we were in roles working in the channel. We wanted to help partners with that.”
As such, the company has built some fairly unique services, such as its Microsoft partner benefits review offering, which sees it help partners to identify all of the benefits they can possibly get as a Microsoft partner, including marketing help, software and entitlements, incentives and rebates.
One of the primary areas of concern among partners that Rainer, Jamal and team aim to address is the question of skills, a hot topic among partners that are finding themselves operating in a market seeing a surging wave of demand for cloud expertise amid a chronic and seemingly worsening skills shortage in the market.
“Partners have a legacy of skill they used to the traditional channel of buying from distributors, buying software and hardware together,” Rainer said. “A lot of them don't have the in-house skills of all the different parts of cloud. So that's where we want to help partners bring them up to speed.
“[Parters] often white label our services, and we often help them with direction about whether a particular offering is what they want to aim at, for example Azure.
“Additionally, when it comes to public cloud, you need to look at these competencies and these certifications to skill up people, and we give them resources for both sales and technical resources and we help them deliver the services,” he added.
In a typical engagement, according to Rainer, Be Nimble IT would deliver the first couple of migrations and services for a partner. In these cases, the partner would shadow the Be Nimble IT team and the company would bring the partner up to speed so that the partner can “hit the ground running”.
“A lot of partners don't know that they can maximise their reseller margins and rebates, so we try to help package it up for them,” Rainer said.