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Services and value underpin Exclusive Networks plans for 2021

Distributor Exclusive Networks is aiming to build on the progress it has made with supporting those that want more flexibility in the channel

Exclusive Networks is looking for growth in the year ahead, with plans to build on its on-demand platform and its emphasis on value.

The distributor has announced a couple of acquisitions in the past few weeks as it looks to extend its reach. But from the view point of the UK, the budgets for next year are being drawn up and the expectation is that 2021 will bring growth.

Graham Jones, UK managing director at Exclusive Networks, said that one of the ambitions for the business was to underline its abilities to grow markets for vendors and support resellers. He added that the company wanted to move beyond the value-added distributor (VAD) tag to one around value-creation distribution.

What that means in practical terms is that the UK business will be investing in a couple of areas to make sure it can create more opportunities for partners.

“We’re expanding our datacentre business. We spent about a year and a half working out where we want to play, and cost plus one is not where we want to play,” he added. “Where we are with the likes of Nutanix and Rubrik now is building out our own channel of smaller VARs who bring business to them, something we call Exclusive Led.”

He said that traditionally the channel was vendor-led, with margin passing down to the channel via distribution, but there are limitations to that model.

“At the bottom, we realised that there is a huge tail that is not being looked after,” he said, because there was a gap between niche distributors and the broadlines.

“That bit in the middle is where we have always played, a VAD at scale. This year, we have been looking hard at what we can do. On the datacentre side, we have rolled out our own infrastructure as a service [IaaS],” he said.

Investments have been made in its datacentre, which launched in September, and the plans are to go out with that to more partners.

“We have gone out to the channel and said, ‘Look, you have got a couple of choices now, you have the experiences of Amazon and Google, but if you are not that size or you want more fixed costs, and you want it to be simple, then here is a structure for you’,” he said.

Exclusive has around 30 partners signed up to their IaaS option, which should grow as it builds it out next year.

The distributor recently launched its X-OD service to help resellers move to the subscription model, and there are plans to expand the number of vendors that are part of the platform in 2021.

Jones said that the plans were for a handful of vendors to be added to the service, which has been set up operating with Palo Alto, in the first quarter.

He said it now meant that the distributor could offer numerous ways for resellers to help users consume, ranging from the traditional through to leasing and subscriptions.

The other area where there will be activity from Exclusive is on the managed security service provider (MSSP) front, with plans to help them grow with a more consistent payment model. There are also plans to add vendors that can bring services that the managed service players will want to add to their offering.

This year has been affected by coronavirus and Brexit is yet to come, which Exclusive is well-prepared for. As he looks ahead, Jones is optimistic about what a fresh 12 months will bring.

“Everyone is seeing this year as it is, but everyone is investing next year and there will be more heads. We will just go for it again,” he added.

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