Recently appointed regional channels manager for Veritas, Archie Wilson, has highlighted partnerships with local and niche managed service providers (MSPs) as key to the storage vendor's future growth in the mid-market space.
Speaking to ARN during its annual conference last week, Wilson said Veritas would be concentrating on expanding its partnerships with locally-based services companies, such as Kaz and Volante. But more particularly, it would be looking to boost the ranks of what he termed its tier-three layer of services partners: niche or specialist players.
"We have done a lot of business in handling and recovery, but as we move into a market driven by cluster solutions, we want to work together with MSPs," he said.
"It's an area we don't have an existing pillar for at the moment. A lot of these MSPs have evolved from our traditional reseller base: for example, Volante and Unisys. But our licensing and engagement models are not in tune with them.
"We want to ensure we can work with them in the area of managed services."
Wilson identified Anite International as one example of the specialised services companies now being sought as a partner by Veritas.
Those doing IP network integration, like NetStar and Damovo, were also companies Veritas needed to partner with, he added.
Touting the MSP model as the fastest growing part of the industry, Wilson said vendors were experiencing a shift in traditional channel relationships as resellers increasingly evolved into service providers.
"For example our relationship with Commander: we previously dealt with them as a reseller, and now as an MSP," he said.
Another problem with working together with MSPs was that many vendors still considered these companies as customers, Wilson said.
"Vendors have to realise you need to do customer transactions with the service provider," he said.
While dismissive of the Applications Service Provider (ASP) services model, Wilson said there was plenty of opportunity for the channel to provide outsourced services at an infrastructure or networking level.
"The ASP model has never been big in Australia, but this approach has happened at an infrastructure level without the 'applications' part," he said. "ASP won't ever take off. But if service providers look at the pain point for their customers and build up the customer's confidence, they then may find customers will hand applications over to them."
Wilson's sentiments were echoed in a recent IDC report, which found organisations were increasingly looking at outsourcing as a vehicle to procure a host of other diverse services.
While most organisations had shifted to a model of select outsourcing instead of a whole of IT approach, they still didn't want 10 or more different vendors to deal with, IDC analyst, Aprajita Sharma, said. Those MSPs that could provide desktop and security services for example, stood a good chance of having both of those skills utilised by an organisation, she said.
IDC forecasts the services market will be worth $11.3 billion by the end of this year, based on a compounded annual growth rate of 6.8 per cent. Currently, outsourcing accounts for 47.5 per cent of this market. Sharma said IDC expected it would continue to represent around half of the total services market right through to 2008.