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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Citrix cloud drives a new solutions category: Mobile Delivery Infrastructure (MDI)

Steve Daheb, Chief Marketing Officer, Citrix, says, “Citrix is a cloud solutions company that enables mobile workstyles”. This philosophy’s execution is anchored to its three product pillars:

  1. XenDesktop
  2. Netscaler, and
  3. XenMobile

Citrix has committed itself to an ambitious definition of enterprise mobility, with a framework spanning nine components; customers can use Citrix technologies to create an integrated, single vendor solution covering all nine areas, or can opt to plug competing products into any of the nine areas – an approach that Citrix has labeled “any-ness.”


Mobile Delivery Infrastructure (MDI)

We believe that there is current demand in the market for a reasoned approach to defining enterprise mobility. The suppliers of the endpoint products aren’t in a position to define the architecture and services needed to connect their products to corporate networks, applications and data, and the suppliers of data center infrastructure lack visibility into the endpoint side of the equation. Citrix is unique in spanning both environments, and its approach to enabling customers is, in our opinion, well-aligned with the need for architectural clarity that we have observed in the market. Accordingly, using the Citrix framework as a starting point, we have created a definition of enterprise mobility that we have dubbed “Mobile Delivery Infrastructure,” or MDI. MDI is comprised of three distinct, critical solution pillars: endpoint tracking and security, collaboration and sharing, and app delivery and management.


Mobility Delivery Infrastructure (MDI)


Endpoint Tracking & Security


Collaboration & Sharing


App Delivery & Management


  • MDM
  • Mobile network control
  • Single Sign-on & Identity Management

  • Sandboxed mail
  • Secure mobile data sharing Collaboration

  • App dev tools
  • Mobile app security Windows-as-a-Service


Unsurprisingly, given our starting point, Citrix can be seen as a standard-setter for MDI. Its approach to MDI will likely attract many firms in search of a consistent approach: Citrix’s fundamental belief that work is not a place, simpler is better and any-ness wins will resonate with many customers looking for a starting point for a mobility framework.

The breadth of the Citrix portfolio will also help prospective customers to understand the requirement for the full breadth of MDI technologies. While many other cloud companies are developing either one solution or several for mobile workforce enablement, Citrix’s strategy seems akin to Microsoft’s during its formative years: it owned the platform (the operating system) for the PC, attracting an ecosystem of hardware, software and networking companies which built products and solutions extending the utility of the core product. To that extent, Citrix seems to have created a corporate mobility delivery infrastructure that can either be utilized stand alone or combined with other solutions.

SMB Market Potential

Citrix‘s main target has been the enterprise segment, which has served it well. It has yet to develop a coherent strategy for marketing and selling to the SMB segment, relying on partners to address the market. However, Techaisle research demonstrates that the SMB focused channel partners themselves want tremendous help from their vendors. For example US channel partner data clearly shows the help required on multiple fronts.

Nevertheless, the SMB market has huge potential with nearly 300 million mobile workers by 2016.The SMBs investing in mobile enablement will need MDI solutions to supporting these 300 million mobile workers – which will create demand for one or more solutions within Citrix’s MDI platform.


Techaisle outlook: We believe that mobility is transitioning from being defined by devices to being defined by management strategies – and that this will create demand for MDI. With products covering each aspect of MDI – and with an approach that supports both single-vendor and best-of-breed deployments – Citrix is extremely well positioned to benefit from this transition.


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What is Cisco’s Brand Equity Score among its SMB Channel Partners?

SMBs are being deluged with IT solutions that aim to address their pain points of reducing costs, improving sales and marketing, penetrating new markets, improving employee and group productivity as well as managing more IT with less. The channel comprising of SIs, VARs, SPs, MSPs and IT Consultants form the essential cogs of an IT vendor’s eco-system that puts products and solutions in the hands of the SMBs.

Today’s SMB channel has numerous vendors to partner with to build and grow its business especially if they are targeting the SMB segment. Each channel partner has usually has multiple vendor partnerships. It is therefore essential to have a positive mindshare of the channel which would potentially translate to wallet share.

Techaisle’s SMB Channel BES-360 provides an actionable path for IT vendors to manage their channels. Techaisle’s BES-360 Model looks at the equity of the brand on six overall independent dimensions:

    1. Emotional,

 

    1. Likeability,

 

    1. Rational,

 

    1. Dispositional,

 

    1. Visibility, and

 

    1. Human Connect



The data is collected by conducting a primary research and thereafter using ANN (Artificial Neural Networks) we model the responses on several variables with action variable using a non-linear model. Action variables are crucial to measuring brand equity, since having a brand equity which does not lead to action is useless. Techaisle’s BES 360 uses ANN for computing the dimensional weights as opposed to assigning arbitrary weights or no weights at all.

Cisco’s Brand Equity Score with SMB Channel Partners = 41

The model reveals that the BES of Cisco is 41 on a scale of 1-100. The question is, is this good or bad? Since the highest BES is 56, 41/56 is “Good”. Two other IT vendors including IBM have a higher BES than Cisco.

techaisle-cisco-bes-channel-partners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking down the data for Cisco we find that almost 25 percent of Cisco’s channel partners have a BES of 80+. They form Cisco’s core partners. The customized report can delve deeper into the typical profile of these SMB channel partners of Cisco. The data also shows that almost 35 percent of Cisco’s SMB channel partners have equity of less than 40. These are the partners that Cisco needs to work with to try and raise the brand equity. Further research could also be conducted to check and see what these partners contribute to Cisco’s business and their relative importance.

If we look at Cisco’s equity among its own channel partners and non-partners, the difference in equity is substantial. The BES of Cisco among its partners is 55 and among non-partners the BES is 29. A polarised equity pushes a brand in to a niche status, which may not be desirable for all brands Cisco’s BES is the highest among the channel partners of Avaya and even among the channel partners of SAP too the BES is quite high. These could be potential channel partners for Cisco. techaisle-bes-cisco-3

  techaisle-bes-cisco-score-3


 Techaisle’s BES-360: Why is Brand Equity Score Important?

Companies no longer produce products and services but deliver a brand experience through their products and services. It is widely recognized that the status of a brand in the mental space of the customer is best measured through brand equity. If the brand equity is good then a product or service that is similar to another brand with lower brand equity will sell better. Additionally, a brand with a good product or service but lower brand equity has a lower customer satisfaction compared to a brand with a higher brand equity that offers the same, if not an inferior, product or service. Hence measuring and tracking brand equity score is of critical importance to brand management.

What is the key information that I will get from Techaisle’s BES-360 to manage my brand?

Our customized report answers following nine relevant questions:

    1. What is my BES and my competition in the industry?

 

    1. What is my BES among my channel partners? Understanding overall equity is fine but this equity should also be good among its own channel partners and the difference between the equity among a vendor’s own channel partners and the non-partners should be significant. Otherwise it indicates a non-exploitation of the market completely.

 

    1. What is my Brand Equity profile of my channel partners? The data and analysis provides critical information for assessing the potential for expanding the foot print of the brand to the other channel partners. The composition of the BES among the channel partners of a brand indicates the core strength of the brand. A brand needs to know what proportion of their customers are at, say, half the total BES? If a small portion of the channel partners have high brand equity and a large number have low brand equity then the customer base is shaky.

 

    1. What is my BES among the partners of other channels?

 

    1. What is the composition of my channel partners at various levels of BES? A brand would like to know the business that their partners generate at different levels of brand equity. For example: what is the number of solutions offered by a channel partner whose equity is twice the average brand equity? Such information can be quite useful to build a complete business strategy by better equity management.

 

    1. How is the BES affecting my business among my channel partners?

 

    1. What do I do to improve my brand equity? We measure brand equity on nine variables. We can dive and pick up the dimensions on which the brand needs to score. In fact we can even suggest using an optimization scheme the best values of the dimensions that the brand should achieve.

 

    1. What business improvement do I expect at 5% increase in my brand equity from my channel partners? We can do a detailed analysis of our data to indicate what will be the impact of an increase of 5, 6, 7 or more points on the business, using the survey data.

 

    1. Which brands’ partners should I choose to enlarge my foot print?



For SMBs, channel partners are the trusted advisors. Addressing the channel partners directly contributes to raising the brand equity among SMBs (measured separately by Techaisle). We call it BES-360 because it covers all the dimensions as well as competition.

If more information is needed for developing a comprehensive and successful marketing strategy Techaisle has the capability to provide the necessary information. From the current data itself we can get more information by looking at the scores on each of the nine variables. However, we can also do a dedicated BES 360 Survey for a specific brand and get a comprehensive picture of the brand that can identify and answer strategic questions like “Why my score is low on the VISIBILITY dimension and what should I do about it?”

 

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dinCloud: A Channel focused Desktop-as-a-Service Provider for SMBs

techaisle-VDI-blogThe desktop virtualization juggernaut continues to gather steam as more companies choose to use the technology to reduce costs, improve security, better disaster recovery, easier management and work from anywhere. Numerous Total Cost of Ownership reports have been published and the message from vendors to IT departments is clear – Desktop Virtualization is the way to securing desktops and reducing costs of management.

dinCloud has been making a lot of noise lately in the hosted virtual desktop area with its 100 percent channel-focused cloud-based business provisioning offerings for SMBs. We therefore had to sit down with Ali Din, CMO and Barry Weber, CTO to understand if the noise was pure cacophony in the media or were they really creating music, as their tag line says “Delivering a Heavenly Experience in the Cloud”. What followed was a series of questions and answers. (This Q&A was not sponsored by dinCloud)

What is the unique value proposition that dinCloud brings to the table for SMBs? All providers talk about customer service, understanding SMB requirements, lowering costs, etc. but we want to know what are the 2-3 unique selling points that resonates with SMBs as far as dinCloud is concerned?

dinCloud offers SMBs a fully integrated solution to run their business including backup & recovery, hosted virtual desktops (HVDs), data center security, networking, and servers. Our unique channel centric approach allows SMBs to continue to do business with the local MSP, VAR, and SI they have a relationship with, giving them local hand holding and supplemental services to run their business. Our SMB customers enjoy cost savings of up to 50 percent, enhanced security and compliance, enterprise class IT infrastructure and services, and an OPEX subscription model conserving capital.

How does dinCloud help SMBs assess and design solutions to meet SMB requirements?

We have developed a standard requirements gathering and onboarding process to rapidly migrate our SMBs’ IT infrastructure to their own virtual private Tier 3 data center. In addition, our proprietary cloud orchestration platform, dinManage, automates provisioning and migration tasks including creation and synching of the Active Directory infrastructure. dinManage is often white labeled by our partners.

How much time does dinCloud actually spend with an SMB prior to its becoming a client? What is the typical interaction?

dinCloud approaches the SMB customer through our channel partners. Engagement time varies to almost zero once our VAR/MSP partner has migrated the first of its customers, to several days of discovery for larger more sophisticated engagements.

How much time does dinCloud actually spend with an SMB on an ongoing basis once they become a client?

dinCloud’s channel partners front end most of the customer support activities; typically we will see approximately 1-2 tickets per week per customer.

In your view why does an SMB consider a hosted solution as compared to on-premise?

The SMB customer will enjoy enterprise-class infrastructure, security, and operations possibly for the first time in their history - they will conserve cash only paying for what they need, giving them unparalleled flexibility. They will now have IT compliance as well as backup and DR protecting their business. dinManage offers the remaining IT staff full visibility and control of their virtual private data center. No more HR costs and problems with training and maintaining several IT resources. Hosting in redundant tier 3 data centers not only provides enhanced security and uptime, but environmental factors such as cooling, electricity, and backup power are eliminated. Hardware, software and multiple point solutions no longer need to be purchased, supported, maintained, and managed. The SMB customer will be able to leverage BYOD and anytime, anywhere access. Additionally the SMB customer will immediately realize 30-50% cost savings when compared to a traditional on-premises model.

dinCloud has partnered with many different vendors, with which vendor solution has dinCloud seen more success? Why?

We have had a great deal of success with the purpose built custom high density super-computers by Super-micro giving us extremely competitive pricing and performance on our servers. Additionally, our investment in 100% NetApp has allowed us to leverage their industry leading tools (SnapMirror and SnapVault), as well as very efficient replication of data between our data center and the customer’s primary backup locations.

What are the top challenges you face in implementing virtualization solutions? 

From dinCloud’s perspective, there are a couple of challenges. There are so many great hypervisors to choose from today and dinCloud offers customers the choice of either VMware or KVM. We strive to stay current with hypervisor versions but coordinating the right time to upgrade hypervisor versions with customer schedules is sometimes a challenge.  While an upgrade should not impact to a customer, they are still very cautious about allowing dinCloud to do this.

What should vendors be doing to help you in offering and implementing virtualization solutions for SMBs?

dinCloud requires next to zero support from its vendors outside of normal bug fixes and some assistance in marketing (Netapp and Microsoft). We work very hard to provide a whole solution for the SMB market. This whole solution includes a private cloud environment with a firewall, selectable IP ranges, integration with AD, HVDs and HVSs, an easy to use cloud portal, choices of hypervisors, monitoring and white glove treatment to help the SMB easily and rapidly achieve their infrastructure goals and optimize operations costs and process.   We do not just provide a virtualization solution.

What are your top core challenges with the SMB customer? 

The SMB customer is often caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to internal IT skills depth and breadth. dinCloud works to make infrastructure and operations easy for the SMB customer by pre-packaging the whole solution, by automating the implementation and by offering services to extend those that exist within the customer. The SMB customer is often faced with enterprise level requirements (PCI, HIPAA, etc.). They are challenged to deliver on these requirements. dinCloud’s challenge and goal is to continuously solve for their future problems. The SMB customer faces not only a budgetary challenge for skilled resources; they may also have small budgets that don’t match the typical costs of achieving the business IT goals. dinCloud works to continuously driving costs down, thereby helping customers protect their budget.

Any final words before we conclude?

dinCloud is gaining rapid momentum through our 100% channel sold model of complete end-to-end “Business Provisioning”. We believe that SMB customers have always relied on local MSPs and VARs and will continue to do so. dinCloud is emerging as the “Cloud Offering of Choice” for these traditional regional MSP/VARs, and more than any other market segment the SMB customer has a perfect use case for cloud-based IAAS, delivered by their local and trusted long time IT resellers.

Techaisle Take

dinCloud, a reseller has become a service provider. As we have written and presented several times that cloud computing is continuing to challenge the channel forcing them to develop and be trained in new competencies. These encompass service provisioning, billing, data center management, customer support and a whole host of related competencies. dinCloud by standard definition is not an IT vendor like VMware or NetApp but it has developed offerings by combining products from established vendors and instead of selling directly to customers is funneling its sales through its own channel partners.

Most SMBs rely on their local channel partners for maintenance & management of their IT infrastructure as well as for advice on new IT purchases. dinCloud is developing a network of channel partners and providing them appropriate training and skills to sell and manage cloud solutions for their local SMB customers. They are - Educating and training channel partners on what cloud actually means and how it impacts the SMBs; Developing solutions and use cases; Providing an effective and efficient pre-sales support to their channel partners to engage with SMBs.

DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service) is poised for growth and dinCloud has positioned itself extremely well. Techaisle's survey shows that there is a growing SMB intent to use hosted VDI as shown in the chart below. The data compares the current implementation versus planning to implement. The survey shows that there is a 46 percent increase (from current 15 percent to planned 22 percent) in intent to use hosted VDI within mid-market businesses when compared with those that have currently implemented.

techaisle-VDI-blog-implemented-SMB


 

techaisle-VDI-blog-planning-to-implement-smb


dinCloud is a good example of what Philippe Fossé,  Vice President of Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Channels, EMC wrote today, “More and more we see service integrators becoming resellers; resellers becoming service providers; and even users becoming service providers. This evolution is unprecedented, but is only the tip of the iceberg”

dinCloud has the right business philosophy, market understanding and product portfolio. They are making noise at the right time. They have had some major wins in the past few months such King Hawaaiin, maker of the number one branded dinner roll in the US which selected dinCloud to implement its hosted virtual desktop, server, and storage services to help IT improve efficiency and better manage operations across all its baking facilities and restaurants.

That noise they are creating could well become an orchestra.

 

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Mid-Market Businesses Upgrading Network - Voices from the Field

One of the areas we watch most is the evolving needs of the SMB customer, who is being consistently pressured to speed up all core business processes while simultaneously reducing costs, generally  through the introduction of new technologies and specifically by adopting Cloud Computing approaches.

Looking Forward to SDN and SDDC  

Networking Spending Among Mid-Market companies (between 500 and 999 employees) recently interviewed, over 75% described their business being completely “Network Dependent” with a large share planning to move beyond Virtualization to Software-Defined-Networking (SDN) and Software-Defined-Data-Centers (SDDC).  Almost all had implemented Remote Managed Services (RMS), Cloud Computing, and Server Virtualization or VDI.

“Yes, I have heard about it (SDN) and we even tested it on one of our servers. We can get the software easily but we need to get proper hardware implementation as well and that too keeping our costs in control. So, both the things need to be evaluated. Yes, probably we would be investing in it, in the coming future. There are many things that are a concern for us right now, like cost, space and efficiency. So we need things that could help us in these areas.” - 900 Employee SMB IT Decision Maker


Mid-Market Reliance on Outsouced  IT Support

As we have written in the past, the larger SMB customers are more likely to rely on channel partners or vendor direct relationships to free up lean SMB IT departments and allow them to do more with less by supporting the research and selection process, and then testing and implementing the solutions, especially for those solutions involving a high level of configuration and remote management capabilities. The speed that specialists bring to the configuration, testing and implementation tend to outweigh the costs and speed up the decision cycle.

“Yes, the channel partners had a huge role. I sat down with their Cisco engineers and we looked over the changes we were going to make, then we did put together a business case, as to why we needed to upgrade or make changes to the system and what benefit it would result in. They were helpful and they made things look easier for us.” - 750 Employee SMB IT Decision Maker


New Functionality is driving Adoption

Global NetworkAs we move into the Late Majority of SMB Cloud Adopters, there is less perceived risk and enough pressure to move companies toward implementing the architecture, if only to remain competitive.

"Now there are products available with better features and are cost effective. Earlier the cost of moving to the cloud was higher. Now because of the tough competition, the costs have marginally decreased. So, these things are enticing to look at different solutions. When we moved on to the cloud there were various benefits like cost effectiveness, in terms of IT management perspective. Previously it required 10 people, but now it can be done with 2 people. Previously the concept of datacenters was not that…important…, but now people are getting rid of the existing hardware and are moving towards datacenters to host most of their things that are in their offices. The datacenter costs are also competitive. If we look at any datacenter today and what they used to offer 5 years back, there has been a significant drop in prices due to the competition in the market.” - 500 Employee SMB IT Decision Maker


Budgets Continue to be Tight

We also see a significant effort on the part of customers to extend the life of the existing equipment and upgrade only the parts that are needed to achieve specific objectives such as 10GB capacity, which may require more robust firewalls, routers and switches, especially in those moving to VOIP. Typically we saw a reluctance to spend until it was necessary.

“Management here is very price conscious; they did not see the value of doing these things in the first place. The major factors were to increase speed and the reach of the network. So by these upgrades, we were able to demonstrate increased speed and increased network segmentation.” - 750 Employee SMB IT Decision Maker


Brand Importance Increases with Size of Company

While in certain areas such as SaaS, SMB end customers tend to be less likely to consider Brand as the key decision criterion, in the area of Networking among Mid-Market firms, virtually all said Brand was very important in their decision, mostly because of the expected service level associated with larger vendors but also to provide cover in a crowded market:

"There are a thousand solutions available in the market, but we had to ensure that what we chose was the best solution available and were cost effective. The new technology and the need to expand our business base were the main factors that drove the change.” - 900 Employee SMB IT Decision Maker

“Brand perception is very important because the management is not very technology minded, so to have a big name like Cisco was important to them. We depend on our channel partners for networking support or for help with windows server and Citrix products. They are our trusted partners.” - ~1,000 Employee SMB IT Decision Maker


Re-enforcing this tendency to Brand, the majors in the market were cited repeatedly as go-to Vendors. Cisco got the most mentions by far, followed by Citrix, Microsoft, HP, Juniper and Dell. As seen in the quote on outsourced support above, the vendors can also help in creating a business case.

“Well, I guess some of the ones (increase share) would be Cisco, HP, Dell and Microsoft. The major ones I know are trying to get there, if they are not close. It’s very hard to say who is going to lose much (share), but probably Microsoft or Apple are going to lose some. ~800 Employee SMB IT Decision Maker


We believe these attitudes represent some evolution that is becoming more pronounced as the market matures and intelligent networking becomes increasingly important to SMBs in general and Mid-Market companies in particular.

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