The BYOD challenge: where do the opportunities lie for the channel?


BYOD Mobile IT specialist

Bruce Hockin, Head of Solutions Strategy at Avnet Technology Solutions

At the moment, there’s plenty of talk about how the growth in smartphones and tablets will stretch IT departments through the user-driven ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) phenomenon.

The figures alone demonstrate that this is a significant market opportunity the channel can’t afford to ignore. The recent Worldwide Tablet Computer Market Forecast from Infinite Research claims that over the next five years, total shipments of tablet computers to enterprises around the world are expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 48% with shipments rising from 13.6 million units in 2011 to 96.3 million units in 2016.

How is this changing the enterprise?

Well, since people now expect to connect to enterprise networks with their personal mobile devices once they’re at their desks, it’s driving demand for secure, wireless networks but it’s also putting more pressure on IT departments to put plans in place for supporting this trend.

But how should companies address BYOD?

As a first step, BYOD should be treated as a subset of a broader mobility strategy in an organisation.

To set up BYOD policies, firstly companies need to define their objectives to achieve results tailored to their business needs. Dependent on individual company goals, BYOD can achieve the following:

  • Help boost overall productivity
  • Simplify access to information
  • Reduce a company’s mobile spending
  • Satisfy user demands for device choice and improve worker morale

Therefore the main benefits include:

  • Increasing the accessibility of information
  • Driving advancements in corporate technology
  • Lowering costs
  • Simplifying applications and delivery mechanisms
  • Helping to support green initiatives: less devices = lower carbon footprint
  • Providing a better remote working-life balance

The importance of partnerships

To help implement new BYOD standards that suit business needs efficiently and effectively, the support of a well-established solutions distribution partner is a viable option. With this type of partnership, resellers can build on core competencies and deliver new solutions which help customers adapt to the demands of flexible, mobile working.

It’s important to realise though, that there’s no ‘one solution fits all’ with BYOD. Resellers need to help their customers look at the entire technology ecosystem, including considering Mobile Device Management (MDM) as well as how they implement apps and manage access control.

Mobile Device Management, otherwise known as ‘MDM’

At the moment, a key technology which is driving and enabling BYOD adoption is mobile device management (MDM). Some analysts predict that revenue in the MDM space will grow by 15% to 20% in the next three years – as BYOD drives the explosion of mobile devices and applications, mobile monitoring is becoming more of a requirement.

It’s essential to address MDM when looking at implementing a BYOD policy – in a nutshell: MDM is the ability for organisations to secure, monitor, manage and support mobile devices with access to the enterprise communication infrastructure.

What does MDM do?

The MDM software allows corporate IT departments to manage multiple devices using Over-The-Air programming (OTA). MDM’s role is multifaceted as it enables an organisation to configure, enrol devices, enforce policies, enable effective information security and assist with resolving technical issues – addressing all of the key challenges. Management can also include configuring single or multiple devices along with making software and operating updates. In addition, MDM permits organisations to lock and wipe devices in the event of loss or theft.

All of these features reduce support costs and minimise risk.

Essential for BYOD: application publishing

Paramount to MDM is application publishing and organisations need to identify which applications they can leverage – be it communication, productivity or virtual desktop tools – to help drive innovation and success throughout their organisation.

For example, companies are implementing productivity apps like: presentation tools and Business Intelligence (BI) application viewers; collaboration apps such as: unified communications, messaging, cloud storage and intranet access tools; and remote desktop apps like Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions.

BYOD company checklist: for customers

Once you have helped your customer consider the benefits and goals of BYOD for their company, a good way of working out if their BYOD strategy is comprehensive is to tick off the following areas of concern:

Some questions you can ask your customers are:

  • What devices need to be supported?
  • Which applications will be used?
  •  Are data and app ownerships clearly defined?
  • Do you have a security policy in place?
  • Do you have an acceptable use policy for employees?
  • What’s the employee exit strategy when connecting to the corporate network?

Reseller role

The opportunity for the channel lies in BYOD implementations because this typically includes both server and client components. With BYOD, a reseller’s role is not just to support customer rollouts with hardware, software and services but to understand and advise customers on policy definition and process support. Without getting the strategy and application publishing right, BYOD is just a buzz word.


Posted under BYOD; celebrating mobility

Cloud Computing: Forget the hype, what are the roles the channel can play?

Cloud computing specialist

Stephen Ennis, Director of Services, EMEA

A real opportunity

Having worked with cloud services for some time now, I’ve seen plenty of confusion around what’s reality and what’s hype where the Cloud is concerned. With well respected analysts like Gartner predicting Cloud Computing services will become a £95.7 billion ($150 billion) market in the next two years though, resellers do need to act now to seize a slice of the opportunity.

In my experience, resellers across EMEA want to know how they can step up to take real and practical cloud service propositions to market but it can be pretty daunting to work out a strategy if they’re not sure how to deal with the Cloud in general. One thing’s for sure, they need to look at achieving high ROI in their local markets.

So… how do they do this? Here are a few tips:

  • Look at how to expand your product portfolio to include the most in-demand cloud solutions for your market to quickly develop technology expertise to drive business growth
  • Work with a well-known IT partner who has the necessary skills and who possesses local market knowledge to enable you to develop strong know-how in cloud services
  • Recognise that cloud is not dissimilar to other technologies in that customers need it to be positioned, evaluated, implemented and integrated into their IT environment. Also, feel assured that the channel can fulfil these key customer requirements very well

The roles of the channel:

To deduce what cloud strategy can work best for you and your customers’ needs, you can consider five roles. You should be aware you can fit into one or more of these roles and can take on different roles depending on your customer engagement.

  1. Cloud Advisors: If you help customers demystify and understand the Cloud and provide advice on key decisions, this is your role. If an IT manager is considering outsourcing some applications, you as the Advisor, are there to offer counsel on which functions to move to the Cloud, you outline the pros and cons and create the migration strategy as well as complete a risk versus reward analysis. Building customer trust and establishing early credibility is the key to being successful as a Cloud Advisor.
  2. Cloud Builders: If you build private Cloud infrastructures either on or off-premise for your customers, you fit into this category. You will deliver cloud solutions, often turn-key, designed and built for your individual customer’s requirements. If you’re a Cloud Builder reseller you don’t generally own or operate the resulting cloud solution.
  3. Cloud Providers: Your role is similar to that of a Cloud Builder – you create cloud infrastructures. Where you differ is that you’ll deploy this “as a Service” (XaaS) and will host it yourself, making it available to your customers. As a Provider, you need to take more of an advisory role. You help your customers understand business transformation and how to evaluate the financial and technical merits of an off-premise cloud solution.
  4. Cloud Resellers: Quite simply, you sell cloud services from another organisation or a supplier. You help your end user select the correct cloud service(s) and evaluate which solution out of your portfolio best suits an organisation’s needs. For this role, you require in-depth knowledge of your customers’ businesses, which can often be a challenge if you’re not working with the right partner to show customers how to implement the Cloud.
  5. Cloud Integrators: You construct ‘the glue’ between private and public clouds or between traditional IT and other cloud infrastructures. You help take away much of the complexity of cloud solutions by providing customers with fully integrated multi-dimensional solutions whilst incorporating the best of traditional IT and cloud.

The reality of Cloud Computing for the channel

Resellers can take on many roles. If we consider a traditional IT landscape today, you may have a private cloud being built on-premise (Cloud Builder role) which may also include some external cloud services from a 3rd party (Cloud Reseller role) and they’d be integrating those together (Cloud Integrator role). In that scenario the reseller would be fulfilling three of the aforementioned channel roles.

Start with defining your role

Using these categories to define your own role in the Cloud Computing phenomenon is a great place to begin. Working with an experienced partner can reassure you about what roles you can fulfil and more importantly, can ensure you’re getting the in-depth training you need to advise customers proficiently. This will enable you to help customers make more informed business decisions for today and tomorrow’s cloud requirements.

Posted under Cloud Computing