TDCloud Joins the Fray

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

TDCloud Joins the Fray

td-cloud.pngWe have seen the hardware distributors moving into the cloud space. We saw that SYNNEX launched Cloud SolvUC as a unified communications play. According to the PR, the first nationwide cloud UC product. Umm, just from that marketing spin alone, I would suspect that SYNNEX did not have its finger on the pulse of this space.

Like voice agents moving to IP and hardware VAR's struggling to become MSP's, distributors moving to cloud services is heavy on hype and thin on details.

Ingram Micro has gone cloud and today Tech Data announced TDCloud. The interesting thing about the TDCloud is how closely it resembles IBM's cloud strategy. Could be because they are a partner.

Ingram, TD and SYNNEX are used to managing gear and licenses. Now they have to take on monthly billing, which will include lots of accounts receivable and probably billing issues.

Also, how does a warehouse and logistics company deliver on cloud computing services, especially something like UC?  There is probably a third-party behind the curtain, much the way Broadsoft's BroadCloud services are mainly resells of a video conferencing service and the like. (By the way, how do you profit in this scenario? UC-company+Distributor+VAR-or-ITSP-or-MSP+customer? Seems like a lot of middle men.)

For VAR's or Agents to start selling Cloud, we need more transparency. We need to know what's under the hood. We also need a Value Proposition, because without a Brand in the marketplace (like Amazon, Rackspace or Google), how do you get the customer's trust on an unknown brand and service?  UC is convoluted and no two companies define it the same way. The on-boarding of a UC customer is a challenge. If the UC Provider goes up in smoke -- and some will because there are just too many of them -- what happens to the VAR/MSP/Agent's customer? And his business reputation?

We need details to feel comfortable selling it. Time and again I have discussed the UC components that can be used to provide that solution - email, collab, VoIP, chat, presence, video, conferencing, text and now social media elements. You will need a provider who understands that and let's you configure and sell it the way each customer wants to buy it or needs it configured. XO distribute through TD, offers the UC components and wasn't even mentioned. Ah, pay-for-play models.

Let's look at one more element. Most VAR's stop at the Router. Most Agents stop at the router - just from opposite sides. Cloud services requires LAN, WAN, IT and telephony to all be on the same page. It requires Internet Access to get to the various apps in the cloud.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out, but remember that Cisco didn't set any sales records for Webex and that's the perfect analogy: how does a hardware company and its Channel suddenly sell services? We aren't all IBM and they took years to get to the services business.

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