EarthLink is just one company that hopes the Channel will embrace VDI, virtual desktop infrastructure. "IndependenceIT™ (iIT), provider of the Freedom desktop workspace, today announced at XChange Solution Provider 2012 that it has signed an agreement with EarthLink. Under the terms of the agreement, EarthLink will offer iIT's Total Freedom™ Workspace and Instant Freedom™ Workspace solutions to its customers as a part of the EarthLink's IT Services offerings." [press release]
Can Agents sell VDI?
I wrote about how there is a big difference between selling Cloud and selling Telco. Telecom agents sell WAN. VAR's play in the LAN. Agents usually stop at the Demarc, right along with the telco.
Once you get into the LAN, it becomes a complex sale and requires a lot of digging. More questions. More pre-sales surveys. Maybe even testing. Plus when you change stuff that affects the users/ employees, now you have a culture shift. For Agents, that want to get ink and move to the next one, VDI, Hosted PBX, and SAAS sales just aren't a good fit.
For a while longer, T1 Slingers can make some money - less money - selling cableco and T1's with some Ethernet thrown in for good measure. Eventually, Agents will either have to sell Apps, Managed Servcies or Cloud, or suffr.
One issue with VDI: how do you even get into a conversation about VDI?
VDI changes the culture of an office right from the get go. Today, users want to play with whatever website or app they want on whatever device they want. On VDI, while they could have some of that freedom, some of that will go away, control of those items ceded back to the IT department. Virtual Desktop makes backup and repair simpler. It means that employees can work from anywhere with the same desktop.
Still, selling VDI or managed IT is a different process than selling TDM telecom. It's about apps, head count, downtime, productivity, licensing, security and continuity. That's a different sales process than replacing PRI's or upgrading a T1 to Metro E or even swapping a T1 for a cable modem with 3G backup.
What will it take for Agents to sell VDI? For one, an Agent that WANTS to! That gets it and wants to sell it. Then it requires product and sales training. A lot of it. (I'm available to provide that, just so you know.) Lastly, it will require a provider that knows who they are selling to and why, that is devoted to the Channel. Stay tuned.