LOB Software – Growing Trend Among Small Businesses

Most of us are familiar with the most common types of horizontal business software, such as productivity suites or accounting packages, but many small firms are also using software that is tailored specifically for their type of business.  We have all experienced some of the more commonplace vertical-specific software – for example, every time we make a purchase at a retailer point of sale (POS) software is used to “ring up” the sale or when a visit to the doctor entails our healthcare provider updating our medical information in an HRMS (medical records management) system.  As many different types of businesses exist, there are specialized software applications to help run them, many of which we might not be aware of.

Small businesses spent a lot of money on software to help them run their businesses more profitably.  In the US alone, SBs are expected to spend over $20 billion next year on software, of which over $2.9 billion will be for Line of Business (LOB) or vertical-specific software. SB spending on LOB software is expected to reach $4 billion by 2023… a fair chunk of change.  The Professional Business Services, Other Services and Retail sectors are leading spenders on LOB software.

As with every other innovation, vertical software has evolved in basically two ways. Some have been formed organically.  For example, back in the 1980s, Self Service Furniture was just a furniture store in the Pacific Northwest.  They found that they needed to replace their outdated software to help them run their business, but nothing off-the-shelf really worked for them.  So, they developed their own software, in-house.  Word got around to other furniture dealers and the rest is history. Today they are a software vendor (Genesis Software Systems) selling their proprietary application to other furniture stores in the U.S. and Europe.

Other vertically-oriented software has been specially developed by large vendors, such as SAP and Oracle.  Both vendors offer a broad spectrum of vertical-specific software tailored for a wide variety of industries. Each vendor offers software for about 30 different verticals, such as energy, financial services, manufacturing, public sector services and services sector. Both companies originally created software for larger firms. Recognizing the need and business opportunity within smaller companies, each offer scaled down versions of their enterprise-level software suites.

Because business needs differ based on industry, vertical-specific software can be augmented by horizontal apps, such as CRM, that are geared towards specific industries.  Examples include ApparelMagic which offers CRM, ERP, and accounting integrated with solutions strictly for the fashion industry, such as apparel inventory control. Another example is AgencyBloc, software which performs functions such as CRM and marketing automation with integrated commissions processing for insurance agencies only.

Going forward, software vendors need to bear in mind that businesses, particularly small businesses, need software applications that closely align with their business and “speak their language.”  Firms want and need software that requires as little training and customization as possible.  Vertical/LOB software is expected to grow significantly, particularly cloud-based, and the most successful software vendors will partner with hardware manufacturers and services providers to offer complete packages for small firms.

~Eileen Zimbler, Vice President

Bangladesh & Sri Lanka . . . on a Gradual Path Towards Digital Transformation

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are two vital countries in the SAARC area (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation). Bangladesh economy is mostly market-based and export-oriented and has been on a rapid growth path in recent times. Their GDP growth has almost reached 8% annually. Technology adoption has been a key component of the nation’s growth and development. The government has also been promoting the Digital Bangladesh scheme as part of its efforts to develop the growing ICT sector. As per Mr. Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT adviser to the prime minister, “It is likely that Bangladesh will become a major player in the ICT sector in future”. 

In the case of Sri Lanka, the country has plans to create a ‘knowledge-based social market economy’ and an ‘export-oriented economy’ to encourage economic growth.The government boosts the ICT industry. Key bodies that strongly influence the ICT sector include,- The Information & Communication Technology Agency (ICTA) as the government ICT agent, Computer Society of Sri Lanka and Sri Lanka Association of Software and Service Companies (SLASSCOM). Sri Lanka also has few government owned and privately managed IT Parks.

Digital Bangladesh -A Long-Ranging Vision for the Future IT Growth of the Country
Digital Bangladesh with Vision 2021 provides a huge incentive for enhanced utilization of digital technology in the country. Vision 2021 is an envisaged image of where Bangladesh should target to reach by 2021 for example 50 years after Bangladesh’s independence.

A vital constituent of Vision 2021 is Digital Bangladesh. Its key intention is to ensure socioeconomic change through heightened and focused ICT adoption. A typical example of the implementation of Digital Bangladesh is in improving literacy and digital skills and awareness. This is only possible through incorporating ICT as a part of the overall education syllabus. This will help to prepare the future workforce of the nation.

Some Key Digital Applications
Let us mention some innovative examples of digital applications in use in Bangladesh. One is in Land Records. Some new-age applications have come about like ‘e-Filing’ and Digital Land Records that are fast, efficient and preferred by the citizens. The earlier manual method was time-consuming, and citizens wasted a lot of time just chasing different stakeholders & government officials. The entire process is now online.

Another is Mobile Health.  mHealth, or mobile health, is a unique tactic that uses mobile technologies (mobile phones, tablets, etc.) to extend health services and info to patients. Experts concur that the Bangladesh mobile revolution has shaped a massive opportunity to implement mHealth to transform the way healthcare is delivered in the country.

bKash is a vital mobile financial service in Bangladesh regulated by a central bank that provides a myriad of cheap digital services. Some of these services are money transfers, payroll, mobile wallet and savings account. No wonder the utilization of bKash is rising rapidly in the country.

Another example of digital technology implementation is e-Governance. This has totally altered the process of public procurement in Bangladesh. Everything is done over a single web portal providing total transparency in the purchase process.

Sri Lanka – Rising Slowly but Surely
Today, Sri Lanka is focusing on inclusive growth through building a smart digital infrastructure across the island nation and re-positioning Colombo megapolis as a world class urban development. The digitalization process in Sri Lanka continues today with increasing societal & economic impacts. Within South Asia the telecom sector was first liberalized here.

The government has adopted digital literacy in the education sector. Recently, ‘cloud smart classrooms’ have been introduced. Many e-governance services are being expanded. Also, a new national data centre is being planned by ICTA.

Recently, Sri Lanka has been slowly rising in the Networked Readiness Index, showing that the digital transformation of the economy and society is on the rise. Overall, use of ICT in economic activities, such as, e-banking, mobile banking, e-bus ticketing & mobile POS are on the rise.

In Sri Lanka, current adoption is modest but substantial potential exists with efforts from all ecosystem players including government, telecom service providers, global ICT players and ICT associations to enhance end-user awareness and popularize cloud adoption. Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) launched a national cloud,” AKAZA” that provides affordable end-to-end cloud computing services for businesses.

AMI Recent Study on Bangladesh and Sri Lanka reflect these changes. 
A recent study by AMI on the Bangladesh ICT market indicates that the cloud market in the enterprise segment is anticipated to grow over 20% CAGR in the next five years. Trends like an increase in internet penetration, rapid mobile devices/smartphone adoption and the popularity of social media result in data explosion & growing storage needs. These necessitate the growth in usage of datacentres both captive and hosted. The latter shows a higher future growth likelihood due to its multiple benefits. Some of these being savings in cost, scalability and space.

~Subrata Sarkar, Senior Research Analyst

“Curation” – Moving Mass Production to Bespoke-Like Offerings

Once upon a time, the term “curate” was mainly associated with museums.  We pictured curators carefully selecting art or artifacts aligned with a specific theme or idea they were trying to convey in their exhibits – but that idea is changing.

Marketers have adopted the idea of curation to mean tailoring your company’s products, services, or content to appeal to a specific type of customer.

Over the last 10 years, the concept of “curated content” has gained ground everywhere and has become particularly important for vendors in different vertical industries.  For example, fashion houses “curate” their collections to appeal to their type of clientele; retail buyers “curate” their product assortments to appeal to their specific customer base; and IT vendors are getting the message…their customers are looking for IT solutions that work specifically for them, solving their problems and making them more productive.  Business customers are no longer interested in purchasing hardware or software products that are “hard to use” or take a lot of time training employees to use.

I bring this up, because I recently attended an HP media and analyst virtual briefing on their upgraded line of Z Workstations.   HP said they made innovations based on customer insights, addressing key pain points experienced, specifically among “creative” industries, such as architects, designers, engineers and photographers.  According to HP, their creative customers reported looking for improvements in productivity, added flexibility, and upgraded security, all within budgetary constraints. HP’s improvements to the Z line were done to address specific needs for a very specific set of customers, things like upgraded processors, smaller form factors and added security.

I think HP is on the right track. AMI has been talking to small, mid-size and large enterprises (SMLBs) about which PC features are most important to them.   Our worldwide data shows SMLBs in “creative” verticals rank certain features much higher than “non-creative” verticals – things like ultra-thin design, type of processor (e.g., Intel, AMD), durability, lightweight, and multiple USB ports, among others.

With the ever-increasing “connectedness” of social media and the digital transformation within vendors themselves, new ideas like “curating” merchandise and new technologies such as AI will change the marketing narrative from guiding customers to products to customers guiding product offerings.

~ Eileen Zimbler, Vice President

ITaaS – The Next Step Towards the Software-Defined Data Center

Nowadays consumers are moving towards an “Everything-as-a-Service” model and businesses have similar expectations for their IT departments. Hence the advent of “IT-as-a-Service” (ITaaS). Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) can provide a strategic approach to support the business goals of a firm and provide the speed, agility & elasticity to thrive with digital transformation.

For years businesses have had to adapt to greater competition and changes in the economic purchase cycle. Now organizations are embarking on a path towards digital transformation with an objective of building newer competencies around being more adaptable to an ever-changing landscape as well as becoming more consumer-oriented, cost-effective, aligned to consumer needs, less complex and more efficient. This transformation is vital to counter competition from new sources, small startups, and often from companies born in the cloud. Small startups can create turmoil in the industry thus causing problems to established market leaders.

The above facts are almost universal for all businesses and have always existed for chief experience officers (CXO). But what has changed now is enhanced competition from new sources.

The Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC) – a key tool for Digital Transformation

SDDC can provide a strategic approach to support business goals and provide flexibility to thrive by embracing digital transformation. At the fundamental center of this transformation is the data center which is constantly evolving in an effort to keep up with business objectives.

It’s an accepted fact that the ability to bring new applications and services to market fast is crucial to success in today’s rapidly-moving marketplaces. Consequently, organizations are adopting public cloud services, or implementing hybrid cloud strategies, as they deliver business agility beyond the capacity of internal IT infrastructures. SDDC can support all workloads in a holistic approach optimally across the entire data center. To achieve this, a properly configured SDDC must display the following main principles:

  1. The SDDC must be dynamic and adaptive to respond to changes in resource workload. The adaptability should be automated and built on defined configurations as per the demands of the applications it runs.
  2. It must be ‘intelligent’, eliminate complexity and create elastic computing without direct human intervention.
  3. The SDDC must be robust to compensate for hardware and software problems and continue with the highest level of availability.

Modernize the Data Center

While businesses understand the need to modernize data centers and complete the journey to a hybrid cloud and SDDC, they still face significant challenges.

According to Sanjay Deshmukh, VMware’s vice president of End User Computing – “Apps drive various changes in enterprise infrastructure. Companies born in the cloud can integrate a modern data centers into operations from the beginning. The challenge for most other firms is how to advance the existing infrastructure to take advantage of new cloud-application capabilities without losing critical functionality from the legacy technology on which the business relies.”

Software and Automation

“Modernizing data centers is about altering the organization’s mindset from hardware to software, and embracing automation,” says Sanjay. “Companies mistakenly think they’re automated when they run scripts, but if the hardware changes, the company must then rewrite those scripts. That’s not true automation, which means delegating to the software.”

For modernizing, change is not always limited to technology; it also asks for changes to staff roles & the policies needed to accomplish work efficiently. In many cases, that means updating technologies developed over years specific to the business and have been working reliably.

Bottom-Line Savings and Top-Line Growth

Immediate benefits of modernization may be difficult to demonstrate to top management. An SDDC model delivers ROI / cost-savings through automation, reduced labor costs, improved security, and simplified IT management, but these savings are not visible in the short term and will take time to seen in the bottom-line.

There are immediate bottom-line savings, but significant top-line value, too, e.g. driving new business models. Once a business changes to SDDC, it is far more agile and able to rapidly respond to business needs.

Faster agility increases go-to-market strategies and drives innovation. New apps and services can be quickly developed, tested and improved through accelerated iteration. Also, modern data centers enable companies to scale up to meet demand and scale down when necessary.

Businesses with modernized data centers save money, innovate better and react to market changes faster. Other businesses innovate slowly and spend more time & money attending to hardware infrastructure issues & repairs.

It is better for companies to modernize data centers focusing on automating manual IT, modernizing infrastructure with virtualization software across the entire data center stack, focusing on unified management and laying a foundation for running both traditional and modern cloud-native applications.

Conclusion

Utilizing SDDC to create IT as a Service provides a strategic roadmap for IT leadership. It sets the basic principle on how a data center needs to evolve; it creates an evolutionary path for the data center. SDDC is a strategic approach to ensure the data center supports business goals and provides the flexibility required to enable businesses to embrace the digital transformation and thrive.

~Subrata Sarkar, Senior Research Analyst

Augmented Reality the Next Step in Product Design and Manufacturing

Augmented reality (AR) is a type of interactive, reality-based display environment that takes the capabilities of computer generated display, sound, text, and effects to enhance the user’s real-world experience. Basically, it overlays 3D graphics on real-world surroundings using devices like mobile, tablets, or smart-glasses.

AR was supposed to transform the consumer industry but could not live up to its expectations. Even the Pokémon GO craze faded away after few months. Interestingly, AR in the B2B world has far better news. A recent study found that one out of three manufacturers expect to adopt virtual reality (VR) or AR technologies by 2018. In hindsight, this makes perfect sense because it is easier to find business uses for AR than consumer ones.

Let’s look at consumer versus business uses for AR. Does the average consumer really need to see restaurant menus or apartment listings while walking down the street?  However, a technician who needs to fix a jet engine in 30 minutes or less can benefit greatly from a hands-free way to identify potential issues and their fixes.

AR in Product Design:
Driven by extreme consumerism, products and services for consumer and commercial customers are going through massive changes. This is affecting the ecosystem of designing and delivering smarter products and services. As a result, not only products but also the tools we use to design those products are evolving.

For example, an engineer is designing the interiors of a rocket. Augmented reality tools will let that engineer sit inside that design while creating it, which quite literally sounds like a scene from a Marvel’s Iron Man movie. Designers are constantly looking into leveraging AR technology to visualize various prototypes and hypotheses by overlaying virtual design elements onto a real environment.

AR can be used to perform post design checks as well. Designers at Volkswagen use AR to overlay a CAD model of a car on top of a real car to check anomalies between virtual and physical designs. Also, engineers no longer need to compare each 2D drawing with a prototype which shortens the product development cycle.

Apart from improving quality of a product, AR can be used to design the next generation of products. Once AR is out in the field, all the embedded sensors can collect various data points that can be analyzed to see how users interact with these products under a range of real-world conditions. The results can appear in AR while designing the product and suggest improvements based on collected data.

AR in Manufacturing:
AR in manufacturing can be divided into two logical sections: Assembly and Training.

Assembly:
Initially, multiple workers spent long hours to complete a single product. Henry Ford came along and changed everything with assembly line. The speed of production increased dramatically with the concept of the conveyor line. Now, in many instances, robots are replacing humans but there are still some tasks which robots cannot handle. Augmented reality will provide these factory workers with a visual display of the parts and instructions necessary for assembly. This eliminates the need to look at blueprints on laptops or hard copy, thus saving time and reducing errors. For example, Boeing currently uses AR glasses to guide technicians as they wire hundreds of planes a year. As a result, Boeing has cut production time by 25% and lowered error rates to nearly zero.

Training:
Product lifecycles are getting shorter and companies are expected to continuously update and upgrade product designs. As the product design changes the manufacturing and/or assembling process also changes. AR applications can be used to train the new employees or to provide new instructions to existing employees. AR combined with voice search allows employees to solve their questions on the go. AR training in production helps to prevent failures and reduces the training time for new workers. It also increases the quality of work as employees have all the necessary information available instantly with visual directions to complete the task.

The adoption of Augmented Reality is essential to drive growth of industry 4.0. The potential of AR tools is extensive in manufacturing and product design as it can be applied at every stage of the product development life-cycle from design to delivery. The technology is cost beneficial and scalable and has a huge potential in the B2B market.

~ Ankit Mehta, Associate

Travel, Expense, and Invoice Management Automation Boosting Business Performance

Managing expenses and invoices is an inescapable part of doing business. There is simply no way around it. But, firms have a choice as to how they track and manage their spending. They can do it the old-school way—updating countless spreadsheets, tracking and filing paper work (invoices and receipts), and running around for signatures. Or, they can leave the cumbersome processes behind and opt for an automated travel, expense (T&E), and invoice solution.

The digital transformation is rendering traditional methods obsolete, and organizations are increasingly automating business functions such as expense and invoicing to improve efficiencies and boost productivity. Small and mid-sized business with 1-999 employees (SMBs) are beginning to catch on. According to AMI’s Global Market Sizing Model, worldwide SMB spending on T&E and invoice solutions is expected to reach nearly $4.7 Billion by 2021. This represents an 18.6% compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2017. Cloud-based solutions are outpacing their on-premise counterparts with spending on SaaS T&E and invoice spend growing faster than 23% year over year through 2021.

There are dozens of brands to choose from including SAP Concur, Xero, MS Dynamics and Zoho to name a few. A top notch, comprehensive solution is one that offers, but is not limited to the following features.

  • Analytical tools for better tracking of data on spending
  • Auto-populate of expense reports
  • Receipt capture via mobile app
  • Flagging of non-qualified expenses
  • Integration with traditional Accounting/Finance/ERP software (i.e. QuickBooks, SAP ERP)
  • Integration with corporate credit cards
  • Travel and hotel booking in a user-friendly environment

Technology solutions really shine when they enable businesses to tackle key challenges and automated T&E and invoicing is a prime example of a software solution that does just that. Through its conversations with SMBs, AMI-Partners has found that companies using a well-rounded T&E and invoice solution benefit as they are able to:

  • Save time and money
  • Increase employee satisfaction
  • Improve employee and company compliance
  • Gain better visibility into spending and cashflow

These benefits tie together and are reinforced by one another.  For example, employees using a T&E application spend less time submitting expense reports which boosts employee satisfaction. Happy employees are more likely to use the application, which improves compliance. Since more information is captured, financial decision makers have better visibility into data on company spending, which they can more readily analyze. Finally, improved visibility helps firms to gain financially as it allows them to uncover cost saving opportunities.

Ultimately, a well-integrated T&E and invoice solution empowers firms to focus on overarching goals such as customer acquisition and business expansion.  Automation gives decision makers a clear picture of how money is flowing through the organization while giving back some of that ever-precious resource…time.

To learn more about how businesses are adopting automated solutions such as T&E and invoicing visit www.ami-partners.com or drop us a line at ask_ami@ami-partners.com

~ Joseph Bertran, Associate Director

The Evolution of Business Analytics: From Reactive to Proactive

Business analytics — Boy have things changed!  In the past static reports were all that we had to use now there are interactive dashboards that allow users to dig deeper into their data and utilize it while it’s still current.

Forecasting Made Easy

Gone are the days when forecasting was done with crystal balls. People are using “intelligence” in their “business”. Business forecasting has seen a tremendous shift in methodologies from gut instinct to statistical forecasting and demand modeling for example.

No matter what you’re trying to achieve, either estimating future monthly sales or optimiz-ing your supply chain, forecasting is all about using existing data to predict the future. To accomplish this, very large amounts of data must be processed quickly and efficiently. Nobody can beat a machine when it comes to that. By using this processing, improved data access is possible and previously hidden insights can be uncovered.

Advanced analytics revolves around predicting trends and future possibilities and making recommendations based on potential outcomes. Businesses are using sophisticated tools like simulation, machine learning and data mining to identify trends and patterns in structured as well as unstructured data. There are numerous potential use cases for machine learning- risk detection, behavioral analysis, customer support, image recognition, text analysis, and much more.

Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) will make estimates of future behavior just as accessible as historical data.

Outlier identification simplified

Machine learning enables businesses to find anomalies as they occur, and this real-time identifi-cation lets them take immediate action. This can be used in cases where real-time information can drive valuable responses, such as in fraud detection & surveillance, allowing fraud to be identified immediately and an alert sent to the customer. Real-time information processing can also assist image & voice recognition, and product recommendations.

To take it a step further, businesses should consider feeding this information into their business intelligence system (BI) to aid in policy exchange and product development.

Machine learning and AI capabilities, when combined, allow businesses an opportunity to catch inconsistencies in real time and correct them before they can become problems and or issues.

Implications of Machine Learning

In the case of machine learning, you get what you give. Machine learning is based on algorithms that learn from data and is dependent on relevant and reliable data. In other words, we are teaching a program how we make decisions. The value extracted from machine learning depends greatly on the quality of algorithms, reliable data, and the degree to which these systems process structured and unstructured data. So, businesses must analyze all available data for quality.

Organizations should have a clear goal in mind. What are the questions that need to be answered and what data is needed to answer those questions?

The adoption of machine learning enabled AI applications allows faster decisions and more accurate insights. This is useful for product development, supply chain, logistics, customer relationship management, marketing to name a few. In a hyper competitive world, businesses that can realize value from their data assets using advanced analytics such as machine learning and artificial intelligence will be ahead of the competition.

~Kunika Sodhi, Associate

Artificial Intelligence is Modernizing the Future Workspace

Technology and data administration is maneuvering across vertical borders and previously isolated sectors are being integrated and creating new business opportunities. By capturing the diverse needs and expectations of today’s multi-demographic workforce, these connected technologies will help businesses of all sizes to plan and invest in their future workplace strategy.

“The modern workplace starts with empowering everyone in organizations to be more creative, collaborative and ultimately apply technology to help shape the culture of work” – Microsoft

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is among the most significant chapters in this great growth story. With a CAGR of over 50% through 2021, AI is developing into one of the key forces that in changing the outlook of the workplace, and will force many of today’s workplace habits, tools and environments to become archaic over the next 4-5 years.

With the red-carpet being rolled out for AI, we are starting to see the rise of a more personalized user experience which is vigorously adapting to capture and translate content in terms of relevance and preference. These technologies, when unified with cyber “customer service” agents, speech recognition interfaces and wearables, are leading to a more unified and collaborative experience.

A leading telecom, MNC having operations in India, is using AI to collect and crunch data from a variety of sources to find people with the right talents and the experience to match. Their HR system can also analyze workers’ email to identify job sentiments and triggers appropriate action for management. Similar cases have been seen in multiple domains where the use of chatbots and robotics have reduced human interaction from tactical jobs to more thinking roles.

The growing importance of AI in the workspace has triggered Google to transform its Translate Service to an AI model. In addition, Cisco and Microsoft have been advancing ways AI can impact everyday work life, from helping to connect users in virtual meetings to acting as an active listening agent that provides additional context regarding topics being discussed.

While countries such as U.S., China, Germany and South Korea have been making strong investments in developing their AI technologies, India too has picked pace in advancing its technologies. The Indian government’s push for ‘Make in India’ and ‘Start-up India’ has given a much-needed lift to the AI ecosystem. With tech start-up driving the way, India today has over 160 start-ups who are purely focused on AI and have raised over $30 million in venture investments to build their AI programs.

We are only at the beginning of this digital journey where AI and chatbots transform all aspects of the workspace including collaboration, communication, cross-function (HR, Production etc. processes), mobility, cloud, and security. We are seeing a huge migration of business processes becoming AI enabled and driving the business world forward.

However, the eminent fear that the advent and incorporation of AI will replace the human race with robots still looms overhead. Another way of looking at AI is to transpose the letters. “IA = Intelligence Assistance”. This would emphasize the fact that AI is only assisting the individual worker to work smarter and not make them less important to the workforce. In summation I would like to suggest that we all enjoy the change and let’s make our workspace a smarter place!

~ Kishalay Choudhury, Director Client Services

Riverbed New Channel Partner Program “Riverbed Rise” – Innovative and In-time Amid Ever-Changing Needs of Consumers

On February 9, 2018 we were invited to an analyst briefing that was hosted by Riverbed. Riverbed is one of the major players in the WAN optimization space with expansion toward software-defined technologies. They focus on providing hybrid networking, SD-WAN, SaaS and infrastructure visibility, working towards building a software-defined architecture for digital business. The purpose of this seminar was to introduce their new partner program Riverbed Rise. With this program they plan to consolidate their contact with partners from “compliance concept” to “capacitating their partners based on performance and value-based awards”.

Riverbed Rise is a clear transition from their traditional program, which is based on competency. This new program is based on the three-key designed operational principles of simplicity, flexibility and profitability. The objective is to expand their customer portfolio by tapping existing and new businesses and simultaneously ensure that partners’ performance is at their peak.

The key focus area of this program is to align Riverbed’s sales strategies to expand their portfolio sales and strengthen their commercial segment. Riverbed has introduced a performance & value-based reward system to acknowledge the performance of all partners with different requirement levels and financial models.

Riverbed Rise a Partners’ Panacea:

  • Riverbed aims to address issues related to new technology adoption and digital transformation of its channel partners through this new program of industry-leading digital performance solutions.
  • Riverbed’s new partner program offers more choice options to customers. It also ensures that the new partner program accommodates all unique business needs of their partners and at the same time guides them vis-à-vis decision making for investment and profitability plans in the long run.
  • Further, partners have more possibilities to select the different Training and Certifications criteria in accordance with their businesses.
  • Riverbed Rise is primarily based on dividends. These are determined by the overall partner performance and not on competencies or revenue attainment. It gives equal opportunities to all Riverbed partners to compete on individual strengths and customer value propositions, in their preferred target markets.

In the changing and rapidly disruptive business world, Riverbed’s program provides partners with individual decision power with the added benefits of earning and spending criteria that would also be unique in every instance.

Riverbed’s Journey in 2018:

Riverbed has made significant changes to its product portfolio in the last 18 months. Building on its legacy as a leader in WAN optimization, the company believes that these changes will create new opportunities for partners, to expand into new technology areas including SD-WAN and Digital Experience Management. Its focus on Digital Performance is aimed at addressing some of the most pressing challenges businesses are facing as they embark on digital transformation and move to the cloud. Riverbed Rise is an innovative program designed for partners of all types to respond immediately to these rapidly changing customer needs.

Riverbed Rise promises the partners to achieve more on productivity, performance and profitability through the unique reward system based on new business models and a diversified range of services. With this innovative reward matrix giving dividend and achievement rewards to associated partners, Riverbed is highly placed on the diverse partners’ ecosystem and in the competitors’ circle.

The new partner program has also enabled Riverbed to expand its partner base into new business avenues, emerging markets and newer verticals. Furthermore, Riverbed Rise is expected to help build a new partner portal with strong marketing tools revolving around simplified, flexible and a profitable dividends-based model.

As We See It:

Riverbed Rise has more commitments beyond the traditional partner schemes. However, the need of the hour is to sustain the longer retention of partners while keeping the product portfolio diversified.

Enforcing the authorized partners to use all their dividends for training, shows Riverbed’s priority on partner training and indeed supporting the partners to elevate their expertise.

In addition, Riverbed should also ensure the reach of this newly launched program to small and emerging markets where end user dynamics are very specific to each region and industry. They can also enrich their product positioning and roadmap with inclusive strategies for when partners’ investment plan is minimal or indecisive regarding changing adoption trends of various technologies.

What Does Their Success Depends On?

The strength of the Riverbed Rise partner program is centered around a strong partners’ base and a diversified product portfolio. With this program, Riverbed is aiming to strengthen their present relationship with existing partners as well as new market regions and in the ever-changing technology scenario. The more Riverbed empowers their partner ecosystem and enhances collaboration with their partners, the more likely Riverbed will obtain the success they are envisioning from this program.

~Arpana Bharti, Analyst and Subrata Sarkar, Sr. Analyst

From Reseller to MSP – A Complex, But Lucrative Business Transformation Journey

Business Transformation is Complex, but Manageable

Channel Partners selling technology solutions to small, mid, and large-sized businesses are having to transform their businesses to stay relevant as their clients move an ever-increasing number of business processes and workloads into the cloud.

This transformation requires carefully mapping the initial cloud and managed services portfolio against available customer base, internal technical and sales skills, service delivery tools, and available investment dollars. Further, modeling the total revenue and profitability impact of this transition is key to understanding the impact on cash flow, especially from smaller annuity streams, which need to be renewed annually.

How to plan and successfully execute the transition from being an on-premise services provider to delivering managed services and cloud solutions is where the channel ecosystem is expecting help from their vendor-partners.

Strong Revenue Upside to Business Transformation

From less than 50,000 in 2016, the number of managed services providers will grow to almost 75,000 worldwide in 2021. AMI-Partner’s tracking of these MSPs indicates most have yet to fully penetrate their existing customer base. On average, an MSPs has so far converted only 20% of their customers to managed services. Clearly, this opportunity remains untapped for the most part.

More significantly, by transforming themselves from a reseller to an MSP, one in two have acquired net new customers that were previously beyond their capacity to serve thus expanding their business in ways unforeseen.

Technology vendors can help accelerate this transformation within their partner ecosystem by setting up formalized advisory programs that impart strategic advice via workshops, as well track key metrics on a one-on-one partner basis.

The key is to uncover best practices used by channel partners that have successfully transformed their businesses and deconstruct and replicate their secret sauce across a broader network of partners.

~Deepinder Sahni, SVP