Entacloud interview

Cloud solutions might be a daunting and intimidating prospect for businesses, but that’s where Entatech offshoot Entacloud comes in. Jonathan Easton speaks to Dave Stevinson about the company’s role in making the cloud as simple as possible for businesses.

Briefly sum up why Entatech decided to get into the Cloud business market

Prior to the acquisition of Entatech by Stevinson Capital it became quite apparent that there was significant and extensive investment required across the entire business. Selecting a long term perspective, it was apparent that a cloud offering was a basic requirement of the anticipated needs of our customers in the future. 

We believe that a gap existed in the market and that a large proportion of our customers would benefit from having their own branded cloud offering – so that is what we set out to do. We would do the heavy lifting, and allow our resellers to focus on the sales and marketing functions.

The Cloud is still a confusing concept for a lot of people, what is Entacloud doing to simplify it for the channel?

Some might say that the cloud is the most ambiguous and overused word in the channel. We have put a significant amount of resources in building a clear cloud roadmap. 

This roadmap starts with the most basic of cloud solutions – infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – essentially hosting data on the cloud opposed to on-premises. The challenge here for our resellers is moving from earning their income from the margin on a single sale to moving to a Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) model. The Entacloud team deliver partner engagement, education, personalised service, hand-holding in short. 

We work with our partners throughout the process from initial enquiry through to live deployments. We also offer regular education events, either online or at our training facilities to ensure that partners are fully comfortable with the service before they go live. 

With everyone charging towards providing Cloud solutions what is Entacloud doing differently to stay ahead of the curve?

I may be a little controversial here but I tend to disagree with the question. I do not see everyone at distribution level rushing to provide cloud solutions. In terms of our closest competitors, they appear to be focusing heavily on their legacy businesses and we are yet to witness any form of cloud play. I do see huge progress from the big 4 distributors and am constantly impressed with both their vision and the scale of investment. 

Our differentiation in Entacloud is not so much about staying ahead of the curve as we are not about bleeding edge technology. We have focused very much on the differentiators that our customer base requires – namely service, reliability and ease of use. 

Entacloud enables our resellers to have their own branded cloud with zero upfront investment which comes with their own dedicated Entacloud account manager. We whitelabel the cloud in the brand of our reseller partner. 

“Don’t ignore the cloud, but don’t just embrace it because it is shiny and fashionable.” 
Dave Stevinson, Entacloud

How essential is it that companies get on board with the Cloud?

It is not essential, but it is hard not to get on board with it in some shape or form in 2017, as, quite frankly, the cloud is here to stay. 

I am sure in a few years the cloud will not be referred to as the ‘cloud’ – it will be just how IT is done. I am happy to share with you a little about the demographics of our partner base in order that you understand the appetite currently. Essentially the demand comes in three distinct and discrete classes of customer types:

First you have the speculators. These are resellers who partner with Entacloud and add the category to their product offering – just in case that they get a cloud enquiry. 

Secondly are the reactors – the resellers who get a cloud enquiry/order and enable themselves on Entacloud then transact as and when the cloud enquiries come.

Lastly we have what we call the Proactive Entacloud Partners (PEPs). These are the resellers who have made a positive stance and aggressively promote their own branded cloud offering powered by Entacloud with an investment in marketing and focused sales resource.

What are the biggest mistakes that businesses make when it comes to the Cloud?

I am probably not the best person to comment here, however I firmly believe that businesses that fail to engage correctly with their diligent resellers (trusted advisors) may fail to get the right blend of on-premises and cloud services applicable to their business issues. Businesses must work on that trusted relationship with their reseller partner. Perhaps the business keeps all data on premises but just uses the cloud for Disaster Recovery (DRaaS). 

In summary, don’t ignore the cloud, but don’t just embrace it because it is shiny and fashionable

How would you allay the concerns of Cloud skeptics who might be less than keen on the idea of their data being sent out of house and stored elsewhere?

First of all, the principal of the business must make the informed decision with their reseller. We can understand their concerns, however a healthy proportion of our resellers manage a blend of on-premise, public and private clouds that are commensurate with the sensitivity of the data. 

It is wise to consider the business’ policy in relation to the country that the data is stored in. Complications can potentially emerge if the data is stored outside the UK.

Entacloud markets itself on a ‘Build Your Own Cloud’ platform and helps customers to create bespoke solutions. Are there any unusual situations you’ve had to deal with?

Like the first and second rule of Fight Club – we do not talk about our clients or our clients’ customers.

All I can say is that I would recommend that any reseller without a cloud offering seriously considers it in 2017. 

We host Entacloud webinars twice a week, and a lot can be gained from attending one. We also offer free trials of the infrastructure and our team is always willing to help, no matter how complex the requirement.


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