Cloud services enablement company BitTitan has released the Azure Starter Kit, a collection of tools and sales education materials to help IT service providers sell, onboard and service Microsoft Azure. Available through BitTitan's MSPComplete platform, the starter kit includes tools for scanning customer environments and for database and cloud storage migrations.
Since about 2013, BitTitan has offered Office 365 migration software to Microsoft cloud partners, and the company is now following Microsoft's lead by focusing on Azure migration projects. According to Rocco Seyboth, vice president and general manager at BitTitan, Azure is "the next big push for Microsoft."
"[Microsoft has] really crushed the market with Office 365 and done a great job. Now, it's trying to get the 77,000 [Microsoft cloud] partners that are selling Office 365 to sell Azure, and yet the problem is these partners don't know anything about Azure, don't have engineers that know anything about Azure, and don't know how to sell Azure," he said.
The starter kit aims to address that problem with educational materials; the HealthCheck for Azure tool, which scans a prospect's virtual machines and shows which on-premises workloads can go to Azure and how much it will cost; and Azure migration tools for two low-hanging fruits: SQL Server 2005 and blob storage.
With the end of support for SQL Server 2005 coming up in April, Seyboth said small and medium-size businesses are easy targets for database migrations. "There are tens of millions of SQL 2005 databases that are going to be affected by [the end of support]," he said.
Blob storage is another good opportunity, he added, because "Amazon has done a great job of getting small and medium-sized customers to put a lot of their unstructured data up in AWS [Amazon Web Services]." He believes partners can easily persuade customers to move their unstructured data to Azure from on-premises environments and AWS to save money.
Channel enablement moves this week
Companies that aim to help vendors enable and manage the channel made news this week.
Channel Mechanics, a company launched in Ireland that is now moving into the U.S. market, announced a $2.3 million round of angel funding. The funds will be used to grow the company's U.S. customer base for its channel enablement offering. Channel Mechanics' channelIT, a software as a service (SaaS) platform, lets vendors configure, communicate, launch and monitor market promotions to channel partners in real time, according to the company. Cisco, Zebra Technologies and Sonus Networks are among the vendors using the product.
Phil Wright, vice president of sales at Channel Mechanics, said vendors using channelIT "pinpoint an offer to a select group or a large group of resellers anywhere in the world" and tweak that offer on the fly, if necessary. Channel partners benefit, he said, in that they receive more targeted and relevant offers from vendors. Vendors can email offers -- such as 5% off for a particular product for a limited time -- to selected partners, or partners may view offers when they visit vendor portals that use the channelIT SaaS offering.
StructuredWeb and Relayware, meanwhile, disclosed a partnership and integration between the companies' channel platforms. StructuredWeb offers SaaS channel marketing software, while Relayware provides a SaaS-based partner relationship management (PRM) system. API integration lets StructuredWeb's channel marketing software use data from Relayware's PRM. That data could include information on market development funds and deal registration, the companies noted.
A spokeswoman for Relayware said channel partners are actually on Relayware's platform when they visit its customers' partner portals. She cited Kaspersky Labs, Lenovo and Adaptive Insights as examples of Relayware's vendor customers.
More IT channel news
Highlights from the week of Dec. 7:
- Managed IT services company Continuum LLC added a certification program for its backup and disaster recovery platform, Continuity246. Continuum partners can participate in the program on the vendor's online learning center, Continuum University, at no cost.
- Distributor Avnet Inc. appointed Sean Valcamp as its first chief information security officer. In his new role, Valcamp will report to Avnet CIO Steve Philips and manage Avnet's global IT security, as well as enterprise architecture and strategic planning for IT.
- Rackspace added new features to its Fanatical Support for Office 365 suite. The latest features include Rackspace Email Archiving with unlimited retention and storage, Office 365 Azure Rights Management, and unlimited SharePoint storage capacity. Additionally, Rackspace is now offering the Office 365 Exchange Online Kiosk, a stand-alone browser-based version of Exchange.
- Brother International Corp. introduced the ADS Desktop Scanner Series, a new line of workgroup scanners available through authorized resellers. The new scanner line targets medium and large-size businesses.
- Prescriptive selling applications vendor Zilliant named Steve Hale as its vice president of worldwide channel sales. Hale will be responsible for designing and executing Zilliant's new channel partner program.
Additional reporting by John Moore.
Read about Microsoft's webinar series that focuses on cloud partner profitability.
Also this week: New Cisco Spark offerings ignite partner opportunities.
Case study: Integrator deploys VMware NSX at a payment processing service provider.