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Introduction

HCI Highly Converged Infrastructure (HCI) is an emerging market that’s now beginning to get very crowded. Most of the market messages are about better customer TCO, due in part to a smaller datacenter footprint for end users.

There are huge advantages for the HCI partners, as well. That’s because HCI solutions are easier to install, and simpler to manage, than traditional systems (servers and storage), allowing partners to focus on higher margin sales such as services. This frees the partners from doing the traditional rote work of configuration, testing, product integration and move the channel’s emerging sweet spot – higher value, higher margin, greater differentiation of services.

The reality is that HCI is the next evolution of the IT market, driven by the need for IT to drive information effectiveness through infrastructure efficiency. It is the logical evolution of the IT market, because it is an integrated solution that requires less hands-on tweaking and tuning to achieve production-level deployments.

The HCI effect extends to new technologies that are becoming part of the overall HCI solution – such as flash storage and I/O devices that handle larger datasets better and faster, than before.

There are many players in the market. All of this creates a lot of market “noise” that is often difficult for customers to sort out, as they evaluate and consider next-generation IT systems.

Gridstore is one of the leading vendors, offering its solution through the channel, a ready-to-go solution that makes the tasks of installation, deployment and maintenance easier, and less expensive, to do. This high level of technology integration allows the channel to focus on selling higher value services, without the need to focus on product integration. Their attention can be turned to solutions!

Gridstore’s business model is attractive. Its streamlined channel strategy is how these powerful solutions are becoming more profitable for the channel to sell.

Supplier differentiation is key in the market

Supplier differentiation is especially key in crowded markets.  This can be done through strategic alliances and channel partners.  These are two independent motions, however they are most effective when aligned.  Neuralytix believes that vendors must look for alignment when picking their partners well and strategic alliances to run like a well-oiled machine.

Strategic Alliances

Strategic partners can help differentiate from the pack. Top considerations for channel selection include the following:

  • Align with partners that have a similar corporate culture,
  • Go to market with partners that have similar rules of engagement
  • Have a common route to market,

Some advantage to the right alliances may create credibility and validation if the right alliance is created.  Another benefit will be access to end user customers and channels approached in a consolidated manner.

Neuralytix applauds Gridstore’s alliance with Microsoft. This is a wise and mutually beneficial arrangement.  Microsoft Hyper-V is prominent among small, medium and even larger enterprises, as it avoids the VMware “tax”. This alignment produces better results, with less friction and less grinding of teeth, than mismatched pairs. The leverage Microsoft partners gain by partnering with Gridstore allows partners to deliver true solution selling. The partnership with Microsoft is synergistic since Microsoft shares the vision in the go-to-market of leveraging partners to deliver solutions versus products for customers.

Differentiation on the Route to Market

Gridstore sees itself for what it is – a systems vendor, while partners take the product to build solutions for customers. Gridstore differentiates its channel partnerships by:

  1. Sharing the roadmap with partners on a regular basis – this is key for partners as they plan their own independent business and the visibility to prepare for what lies ahead.
  2. Having a technology advisory council run by the company’s CTO. This is a very wise, and a true differentiator. Many suppliers conduct partner councils run by sales or product marketing.  Those councils are good but using the CTO further reinforces Gridstore’s position as a technology supplier.
  3. Simplifying the partner program. Too many times, especially with larger or more established vendors, the partner programs are too complex and complicated.

This is not true for Gridstore. All Gridstore partners are registered partners, with a two-tiered structure. The distinction comes in the sales motion: partners who find and sell a solution see higher margin than those who simply deliver a solution that they did not uncover.

The IT market/the world is already complicated.  The simplicity of the effective Gridstore program is refreshing.

Recommendations/ Actions for Gridstore

With the appliance already created, Gridstore is focusing on a solutions approach. With a goal to be 100% indirect, Gridstore is looking to expand the partner community.  Gridstore needs to expand/grow its partner community. The alignment with Microsoft provides fertile ground for growth. This requires education, education and education for both partners and customers.

Conclusion

The company’s business approach is clear: Do not compete with partners. Rather, support the partners building a runway for mutual success. Gridstore is very channel-centric in its model.  It recognizes and values its partners’ services capabilities to deliver solutions.  In the past many channel partners focus on configuring and integrating solutions.   Gridstore is upping the ante by allowing partners to focus on services. In the process, Gridstore is generating more profitability for Gridstore and most importantly, its partners.

 

 

 

This Research Note is sponsored by Gridstore. All the opinions are those of Neuralytix and our analysts.

 

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