Feature: Resellers and end-users can weather economic uncertainty through managed networking

Jon Selway, vice president of channel sales EMEA at Aryaka discusses network security.

With the UK’s economic growth decelerating significantly in recent years, potentially plunging it into a recession, businesses are clearly feeling the squeeze, while being pushed to deliver digital transformation initiatives.

Channel resellers may feel that cost reductions are essential to avoid losing momentum, but Channel businesses have a reputation for weathering many economic storms, especially when savvy leaders take a proactive approach and step away from long-term commitments that don’t carry long-term value, and the future-proof tag, for their customers.

The demands on businesses since the pandemic have meant many companies have learnt hard lessons in the importance of flexibility, making quick but well-informed decisions to deliver impactful benefits for remote and hybrid collaboration, and remaining productive despite the ever-changing economic winds.

Businesses now realise that these long-term, fixed-cost capital expenditures restrict flexibility and innovation. The difference for many was focusing on OpEx rather than CapEx to enhance the flexibility that comes with an informed approach to IT spending, matching the agility of technologies themselves.

Now, there is a better understanding that moving away from CapEx spend reduces upfront costs for the end-user, meaning their budgets can accommodate more products and services, which is great news for the Channel reseller market!

 Finding the silver lining

The pandemic and recessions are often compared by way of the challenges they place on businesses and resellers, but the realities of the two are very different. The pandemic introduced challenges never faced before, placing spend emphasis on remote technologies for communication and security.

Recessions aren’t exactly new, but each presents a fresh challenge. Recessions push Channel businesses and resellers to do more with less but, when appropriately navigated, can be an opportunity for positive change. The 2008 recession, for example, spurred large-scale investments in cloud computing, which we in the Channel are still reaping the rewards from.

As we stare into the face of an uncertain future, what positives could we hope to find? There is an opportunity now for resellers to help their partners adopt managed services, and reduce (if not eliminate) costly capital investments and staff resources required.

This change should not be overlooked. There is now potential for resellers to open new revenue streams, build longer, stronger, and more profitable relationships with businesses, and propose enhancements that will broadly impact business operations for the better.

Keeping networks secure

One of the biggest concerns for businesses is cybersecurity, especially given Royal Mail’s recent ‘incident’. But for many, cost plays a role in reducing their protection against attacks.

Maintaining visibility across complex, international networks is no small feat, and spend-heavy, stand-alone solutions are more rigid, only increasing network complexity and creating more blind spots. This often leads to further investment without much new capability or a reluctance to invest anymore.

Resellers are ideally placed to provide recommendations on the best-in-class OpEx security services to build a managed network with enhanced service levels at a reduced cost, compared to what organisations could build on their own. This is the ideal example of receiving more with less, as the UK’s recession may remain throughout 2023. When planned and delivered at the highest quality, these OpEx safety nets are a huge credibility boost for resellers looking to capture more value from their customers.

While taking over security responsibilities may seem daunting, opening resellers up to greater risk especially their credibility, the right vendor should be able to allay those fears with the quality of their NOC, solutions and support. This means resellers can become even more invaluable in the current economic climate, not only helping reduce the cost of doing business, but also protecting customers’ data from the ever-growing threat of cybercrime.

 The case for managed networks

Investment in digital transformations and cloud applications has been unstoppable over the past decade, while in comparison, traditional network and location-based architecture have been relatively unchanged.

Networks, on the whole, perform their function, so the need to ‘fix what wasn’t broken’ hasn’t been a priority. But now, hybrid working has pushed network performance onto the agenda. Businesses need agile networks that can provide all-essential flexibility, quickly provision applications, and provide security and visibility. And resellers need to be ready to provide them.

Outsourcing monitoring and maintenance of cloud and on-premises infrastructure, to managed networking organisations, allows businesses to access wide and local network connections, firewalls, network access, virtual machines, and 24/7 support.

Managed networks allow organisations to offload operational complexities while benefitting from faster change management, higher responsiveness, and fast service delivery across all sites. This, in turn, will allow in-house teams to refocus their attention and remain productive wherever they’re working. Enterprises don’t have to focus on maintaining digital protections and keeping the cogs of industry spinning. Instead, they can spend more time on areas where significant improvements can be made – training users and other proactive strategies – that will complement the managed services used to protect their infrastructure.

For resellers too, managed networks will allow less time wasted tending to outages, network issues, and managing the effects on end-users, and more time looking at their own operations to find efficiencies and new solutions to unique user needs.

 What needs to change?

Adopting a new technology like managed services may feel to many business leaders like relinquishing control and stepping into a process they do not know and trust. Resellers can reassure leaders that moving to a managed network will free up time and resources and allow them to position themselves as strategic thinkers in other areas of a business.

Aryaka is committed to helping partners increase revenue and boost profitability by scaling customers’ network requirements. Aryaka knows full well that recessions (or even a reduction of pace in economic growth) will always pose a challenge to businesses, but innovative ways of thinking from vendors and access to future-proof resources from Aryaka will ease the stress.

Uncertainty often drives innovation, and now is the time for resellers to consider their next steps; if they want to position themselves as leaders and modernisers, now is the time to make the change.

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