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Data-driven services key to partner success, says Schneider

Vendor claims data analysis offers MSPs differentiation as their businesses move to the edge

Channel partners must look to new data-driven services to stand out within an increasingly “commonplace and commoditised” managed services space in the power and cooling industry, says Schneider Electric.

Pointing to research conducted with Canalys which shows that 78 percent of partners are already providing managed services, Jamie Bourassa, VP Edge Computing, Schneider Electric’s Secure Power Division, says partners should look to differentiate their services based on their analysis of the data they collect.

“Partners and MSPs can change the way the management model works to deliver new efficiencies and opportunities for their customers. We see this beginning to form the next wave of services,” he told Microscope.

“We have seen a major diversification between partners who provide basic monitoring and maintenance, to those who delve more deeply into the data. This is the same information used to perform analysis on critical infrastructure solutions and predict how they’re likely to behave over time in order to suggest changes and improvements. For example, lowering cost to serve or increasing quality of process and experiences,” says Bourassa.

For example, he says partners could analyse information gathered from cooling systems – higher cooling thresholds could be identified, which could reduce PUE and lead directly to energy savings.

“Many partners are building specialist practices in niche areas to exploit such data analysis across a wider range of industries,” he says. 

Edge opportunities

Bourassa also highlighted the opportunities for partners around edge computing – referring to anywhere that’s geographically closer to the point of where data is processed or used. Edge datacentres tend to be smaller, integrated facilities which typically meet a demand for low latency, rapid connectivity and application availability.

The exec says that while traditionally it has been the task of the systems integrator to perform the ‘nuts and bolts’ integration between products to deliver a solution to the customer, increasingly it is the responsibility of vendors themselves – especially as products are becoming converged and required to be more interoperable around industry standards.

As a result, he says, “systems integration partners are shifting their focus to consider how to bring in the next layer of integration to the IT stack. That next layer is primarily edge-related and involves a much wider set of digitisation objectives than when systems integrators only had to think about the servers, network and storage.”

At the top of this tiered approach are architects and consultants who take responsibility for delivering customers’ business objectives, before collaborating with partners to deliver systems integration and operations.

At the systems integration level, “partners will be broadening their expertise beyond the IT stack into new areas of automation, whilst at the operations level, there will be greater scope for managed services companies to deliver improved services based on analytics,” he says.

Schneider has identified edge computing as a major growth area for the company, recently hosting its ‘Life on the Edge’ event in Boston where it announced several new datacentre products that couple its physical infrastructure with Cisco’s hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform, HyperFlex Edge.

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