We're delighted to have this guest post from Pete Koliopoulos, vice president of marketing, North America enterprise computing solutions, and Jeff Lampe, director of marketing, North American storage, security, virtualization and networking group, Arrow Electronics on developing converged solutions offerings...
VSPEX, Vblock, Flexpod, Pure, Matrix, Alpine…wow, what a difference a few months can make! There is no doubt that the “buzz” in the IT space around data-center convergence is at an all-time high, but does that mean that you, the solution provider, should dedicate the time, resources and capital to build out a full-fledged practice within your organization? Well, we’d like to share some insights from Arrow Electronics’ perspective, based on the trending we have seen in the marketplace, to help you determine the best response to that question for your organization.
First, let’s start with how exactly you define “converged solutions” or “converged infrastructure.” IDC, in its August 2012 special report on the subject, defines it this way: “Converged infrastructure systems comprise devices with systems and network-level resource control and automation software, and some combination of server, storage, and network hardware, sold as special SKUs and designed for general-purpose, distributed workloads.”
Okay, so what does all of that mean in plain English? That same IDC study concluded based on the solution providers they surveyed that converged solutions do solve a real need in today’s IT environment. But bridging the gap at the end-user level from “my company is aware/intrigued by converged solutions” to “my company is going to invest funding, resources and capital into data-center convergence” is the tricky part.
At Arrow, we have found in guiding solution providers through each step in the process that those who are successful selling, configuring and deploying converged solutions have a few things in common. At the very start, they are able to overcome some critical objections, such as:
My IT infrastructure is ready for a refresh, but why should I go the converged route versus the traditional “rip and replace” or a new set of separate components?
I have increasing demands on my IT organization (e.g., “bring your own device,” exponential storage demand, security threats, etc.), but how does data-center convergence offer the best solution for our enterprise?
We are not in a position to completely revamp our data center. Can we invest in convergence, but do so in a stepped approach?
Another common denominator is a solution provider’s ability to articulate and sell the value proposition BOTH into the highest level of an end-user organization (CEO/board of directors) as well as to the head of IT or data-center manager.
At the end of the day, we feel convergence is about leveraging best-in-breed technologies (such as VMware at the hypervisor level; Brocade for the networking layer; x86 servers for the computing layer, and so on) that are optimized for maximum performance, reliability and manageability. In our next few blogs in this series, we will take you through our best practices. Plus, we’ll discuss EXACTLY how we are helping solution providers address the aforementioned issues and integrate a compelling end-user value proposition into a proven selling motion.
So, back to where we started: should you, the solution provider, get into the game or remain on the sideline? At Arrow we would say, “why not both?” That’s because Arrow’s approach is to augment a solution provider’s own sales and technical bench with our own convergence experts that act as an extension of your organization, helping you architect, scope, configure and deliver robust converged offerings without adding incremental headcount.
In closing, we welcome your questions or comments around converged solutions. Please feel free to contact Jeff Lampe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Be sure to keep an eye out for our next edition in this series, as we delve into best practices in more detail. Game on.