Technology solutions broker Telarus this week expanded its SolutionVue intelligent sales assessment platform with Cloud Quick Solution Assessment, a new module aimed quickly helping a MSP or reseller find the right SaaS application from an ever-growing library of potential applications.
As the number of technology solutions and vendors grow, it becomes difficult for channel partners to find the right mix for clients, said Patrick Oborn, co-founder and chief product officer at the Sandy, Utah-based company.
“It really becomes hard to vet and select the right vendors for the right opportunities, because a lot of them are getting into these little tiny niches where the supplier has really focused all their time, effort, and investment,” Oborn told CRN. “And it’s really on us and our sales engineers to diagnose opportunities and then match the two together.”
Telarus previously had a module in SolutionVue for helping assess security application requirements.ADVERTISEMENT
Telarus’ Cloud Quick Solution Assessment aims to bring the general knowledge the company’s engineers have in their brains to partners through software, Oborn said.
“Instead of 1,000 different conversations, we would like it to be 1,000 different uses of a software tool that then results into higher level and more advanced conversations with our actual engineering team itself,” he said.
Telarus’ Cloud Quick Solution Assessment asks channel partners a series of questions similar to the kinds of questions those partners would ask customers, Oborn said.
“The partner can sit down and say, ‘Mr. Customer, let’s have a quick conversation about your cloud infrastructure. I just have a couple of quick questions for you,’” he said. “Once they go inside, this is really six assessments under one umbrella.”
The assessment asks about how the SaaS applications will be used, whether offered as managed services, public cloud services, private cloud services, and bare metal services regardless of who owns the infrastructure and where it is located, Oborn said.
It also looks at backup and disaster recovery requirements; security requirements; privacy requirements including GDPR, CCPA, PCI, or HIPAA; what controls are required, and other advanced solutions requirements, he said.
That information is compared to a database Telarus has built of all the technologies and providers it works with, along with various cloud infrastructures to find the best potential fits for a client, Oborn said.
“So if a partner called us and said, ‘Hey, I want a BDR (backup and disaster recovery) solution that runs on Acronis. Do you guys have a supplier that I should work with because my customer wants Acronis,’ we would [suggest a couple of suppliers,” he said. “Those suppliers would bid on it.”
The assessment report is then printed via a Word document that partners can take to customers, Oborn said.
“It’s our goal to turn our technology advisors into actual advisors almost as if they were like McKinsey, Deloitte, that type of advisor,” he said.
Telarus’ channel partners run the full spectrum from those who are experts in only one or two area such as networking, security, cloud, contact centers, and so on to those who are experts in a wide range of technologies, Oborn said.
“This tool is attempting to take people who have a weakness in the cloud and help give them questions to ask,” he said. “Think of it as a guided sales tool. Another word for it would be ‘training wheels’ in a nice way. So they can have a conversation around managed services or cloud infrastructure.”
The assessment report contains all the inputs as well as technology and supplier suggestions and possible roadmaps, Oborn said.
The knowledge base is updated every 30 days by the engineering team, Oborn said.
“So as new suppliers come in, the new ones get graded and inserted into the mix, and the ones that are not performing or maybe getting out of the channel get pulled,” he said.
Telarus’ Cloud Quick Solution Assessment is a huge time saver for solution providers looking to wade through all the various potential technologies that clients might need, said Rainer Engel, executive director of strategic partnerships at CompuNet, a Boise, Idaho-based solution provider that has worked with Telarus for six or seven years.
CompuNet, which was an alpha tester of the assessment tool, sees Telarus as its top technology solutions broker because of its engineering talent who can be counted on to find the best applications, Engel told CRN.
Telarus’ Cloud Quick Solution Assessment will make it even easier for CompuNet to work with the company, he said.
“If we have a customer looking for storage, for example, my guys know storage,” he said. “But Telarus maybe has 50 different vendors with managed storage as a service. I don’t have time to research 50 different vendors. I can call a Telarus engineer who will ask about our needs, and may take days to do his research.”
Telarus’ Cloud Quick Solution Assessment lets a partner to answer a few questions, with no back and forth between the partner and Telarus, Engel said.
“After we answer the questions, such as the number of buildings the customer has or remote storage, we get a printed report including facts from general storage trends and a list of a couple of providers from Telarus’ line card we can use,” he said. “This lets me move faster to give a beautiful portrait of the industry and the customer options.”
The Telarus assessment does more than save time, Engel said.
“It also makes us more efficient,” he said. “New vendors come out that I may not even know of that I can bring to customers. It makes sure I’m getting the best options for my customers. In the technology solutions broker space, new companies pop up all the time. Getting the best solution is not always easy.”LEARN MORE: Cloud Software | Software as a Service
Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at [email protected].
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