By Peco Karayanev, Director of Product Management at Riverbed
For decades, IT systems were built in silos by engineers, systems administrators, security experts and others who were each focused on their specific roles within the technology stack. Over time, channel partners who sold technology solutions to companies of all shapes and sizes understood the silos and what customers needed to make their IT environments hum.
But then along came the cloud and a new approach to the IT infrastructure, one that involved breaking down these silos and looking at the IT environment from a new viewpoint. The movement changed the ways that companies looked at their operations and the solutions available to them. And that, in turn, is forcing the channel partners, primarily Value-Added Resellers, to rethink how they can live up to their names to keep providing added value.
The key for VARs is in the commitment to this cloud-based approach called Development Operations, or DevOps, a technology cultural movement that was born in the cloud to create new ways to scale, be more agile and improve operational efficiencies.
There’s a common misconception that DevOps is a role within IT when, in fact, it’s more of a movement based on the concept of CAMS – Culture, Automation, Measurement, and Sharing. Originally, the DevOps objective was to facilitate better interaction between the development and operations sides of the company but has since expanded to reach the entire engineering organization, including data and network teams.
By breaking down those pre-existing silos and looking at technology solutions from a broader perspective, organizations can weigh the greater impact on their technology investments and leverage something that was intended to streamline operations in one area to deliver similar results in another part of the IT ecosystem.
VARs are especially well-positioned to benefit from adopting the DevOps culture but for its broader reach to be realized, VARs need to make a couple of big shifts, specifically around how they market, sell and support solutions in the age of breaking silos. They’ll need to become part of an extended DevOps team, collaborating through the cloud and focused on the holistic solutions behind the technologies, instead of individual features and functions.
This will require VARs to understand precisely where they fit in the delivery chain and how their specific contributions enable end-user outcomes. At the same time, VARs will also need to adjust their approach to technology. They’ll have to consider how technology impacts all the teams they collaborate with, not just the team with the budget. To that end, they should focus on technologies that are DevOps friendly – cloud-enabled, automatable and allowing flexible consumption. Doing so is the surest way to support cross-team collaboration and measure impact in real-time.
The benefits of DevOps are clear, which means businesses are adopting the approach in increasingly greater numbers. A 2017 Forrester poll revealed that 50 percent of respondents are in the process of implementing DevOps, while an additional 27 percent are ramping up for implementation within the next year.
That makes it all the more important for VARs to position themselves as leaders early on, giving themselves enough lead time to work through the cultural shifts necessary to refine their cross-team, cloud-based strategies. Being late to the game often means playing catch up, building off of a competitor’s approach instead of building your own.
And that personalization is key. DevOps helps VARs both understand and sell the outcome, not just the specific service. It encourages organizations to highlight and deliver real value, helping Value-Added Resellers live up to their names.