Times of change create both opportunities and risks: That is the experience of many IT system houses, system integrators and other IT solution providers. Right now cloud computing is changing many things for them – if not indeed their entire way of doing business. Telekom recently launched the Solution Partner Program to help IT service providers make their existing offer cloud-compatible and to support them in developing new business models based on the Open Telekom Cloud.
Benjamin Jansen is Director Cloud Channel at T-Systems and head of Telekom’s Solution Partner Program. In the interview he explains how IT service providers can benefit from the partnership, why no other public cloud offering compares and how the partner program has exceeded his own expectations.
Mr. Jansen, why do IT service providers need a partner like Telekom?
Benjamin Jansen: In Germany, the public cloud is a particularly sensitive issue. Many companies avoid the public cloud because they fear potential problems with data protection. That is very different in the U.S. or Great Britain, where the issue is more one of cost.
Is the move to the cloud really such a big one for IT service providers? After all aren’t they more at home in the IT world than most other companies and have a lot of digital know-how?
Benjamin Jansen: Yes of course, but up to now the business model was different. Look, for example, at system houses: In the past many mainly sold, installed, implemented and managed hardware. This business will disappear in the foreseeable future. We see ourselves as an enabler here, helping the system houses and other IT service providers to develop new business models, for example based on cloud services.
What does that mean exactly?
Benjamin Jansen: The end customer increasingly buys services virtually and only wants to pay for what he actually uses. We help partners offer flexible solutions based on the Open Telekom Cloud and bring them to the customer. This means that the IT service provider can continue to make money from the sale of IT services even if its business is now completely different. The partner can also benefit from the advantages that the cloud offers, particularly from the Open Telekom Cloud’s USPs.
Yet there’s little difference between the public cloud solutions offered by various providers.
Benjamin Jansen: Unfortunately, that’s the impression some people have: It feels as if you can get infrastructure from the public cloud on every street corner, and that the differences are tiny. However, if a partner sells our cloud then they are offering added value that cannot be found elsewhere. For example, the level of IT security and data protection is extremely high. And at the moment hardly any other big provider offers open architecture based on OpenStack. This provides freedoms that the proprietary systems do not allow. These include, for example, scalability and a high level of transparency at every level.
The Open Telekom Cloud is very much in demand among companies. Does Telekom actually need new partners now?
Benjamin Jansen: With the Solution Partner Program we are addressing, among others, system houses and IT service providers that operate regionally and serve local companies. We need the business relationships that they have developed over the course of many years to address the SME sector. We are working closely with our partners here.
IT service providers can also use solutions from the Open Telekom Cloud without a partner contract.
Benjamin Jansen: Of course. And we welcome the fact that many do exactly that. However, companies that become Solution Partners benefit from particular advantages and additional services.
Benjamin Jansen: The Solution Partner Program is aimed at companies that refine and resell services in the Open Telekom Cloud. A software provider, for example, who no longer hosts his service on his own servers but wants to benefit from the cloud’s advantages. If we win over such companies as Solution Partners, then we take them by the hand and support them in developing and building their business in the cloud in the best way possible. The goal of the partnership is mutual success.
How exactly do you help the IT service providers?
Benjamin Jansen: In many ways. For example, Solution Partners always have access to commercial and technical contact people who provide advice and support. In addition, if possible, we help with marketing, building a website or even contribute to the advertising budget.
What has the market reaction been to this partner construct?
Benjamin Jansen: Good, even better than we had hoped for. We are already supporting almost 100 partners.
How exactly does a company become a Telekom Solution Partner?
Benjamin Jansen: IT system houses, system integrators and other IT solution providers who are interested can call us or contact us online and apply for a partnership. We have set up a landing page just for this as well as a phone number. We welcome all enquiries.
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