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It has just been a few weeks since Michael Stephens was officially named Aptum’s vice-president of partnerships and strategic alliances, but he’s already looking to make an impact in the cloud player’s channel.
He has identified opportunities to improve co-selling with partners and to make sure the firm is effectively working its alliance relationships.
“There is the opportunity to diversify and drive exponential growth in additional channel routes to market,” he said. “While I’m extremely grateful for the foundation of that resell referral model, I’m coming into it looking to build an ecosystem that helps clients connect technology to business outcomes.
“I’m very much looking at co-sell partners and support partners,” said Stephens. “We are selling together in the market, so that’s the first new route to market that we’re pursuing.
“The second one is really formalising our technology alliance partners, and how we are aligning with them to bring best-in-class solutions,” he said.
The co-selling approach will involve working with some of the global master agents that have been broadening their portfolios beyond telecoms and into cloud. On the alliance front, the focus is on making sure the relationships are used fully.
“We use multiple technology alliance partners in our go to market that are embedded in our solutions,” said Stephens. “I want to make sure we take advantage of marketing those services together, sharing leads and opportunities, as we don’t typically compete. We sell our technology stacks together.”
Stephens said the managed service channel continued to grow and that the opportunity in front of partners was a sizeable one.
“We see almost a $5trn TAM in the IT market, and so that continues to grow, and ... with IT services being the largest component of that,” he added. “I believe that your advisory, consulting and managed services will continue to expand in the market, and we believe Aptum is really well positioned to help clients with their technology and cloud journeys.”
Stephens said AI was a key area looking forward, and the channel had a role to play in providing user education around the opportunities thrown up by the technology.
“Customers need help understanding what are the compute requirements, what are the infrastructure and data requirements in order to enable AI successfully in their business,” he said. “You have to understand the software, how software plays into AI, what software needs to be developed, and how it needs to be supported, in order to really capitalise on that significant shift in the market. Customers more than ever need to surround themselves with partners to augment IT practices.”
Stephens will spend next year starting to expand the firm’s channel base, but he already has further ideas of where it could take the ecosystem.
“That is going to provide an upside in terms of growth and building out that ecosystem,” he said. “And then as we get a broader channel play with co-sell partners and technology alliance partners, we’re going to add other routes to market around private equity system integrators.”