Sydney-born AWS start-up hunts for global channel partners Credit: Blair Hanley FrankIDG
Business Management

Sydney-born AWS start-up hunts for global channel partners

Cloud Conformity is targeting a year of growth through the channel, as the Sydney-based start-up seeks global expansion through partners.

Founded in 2016, the business operates as a governance platform within the environment of Amazon Web Services (AWS), specialising in cost optimisation and security automation.

With 2019 now underway, plans are in place to target managed service providers (MSPs) and managed security service providers (MSSP) offering cloud security solutions.

“Our top priority over the next 12 months is to focus on our international channel network,” said Michael Watts, CEO of Cloud Conformity.

According to Watts, key focus areas include ASEAN, North America and Western Europe, markets in which the business has experienced “strong demand” for products amid increased public cloud investments.

“We’ve seen strong growth, interest and momentum in our channel globally as MSP, MSSP and technology companies strive to better serve their clients in the area of public cloud security,” Watts added.

“In parallel, the current successful A/NZ channel program is being strengthened with the addition of a dedicated partner success team in Sydney, focused on ensuring the continued success of our existing partners and on-boarding new partners.”

Watts said hybrid cloud and the ability to select the most appropriate infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) provider for a particular workload is having a "significant impact" on the market.

“The velocity at which cloud computing is evolving is having a ripple effect on both technology and consulting companies, which need to iterate and innovate as rapidly, or risk becoming irrelevant,” Watts added.

“This technological shift over the past five years has given a significant advantage to the smaller, more nimble organisations that can pivot quickly and often, and focus on their niche as customers demand “best of bread” partners for each strategic initiative.”

As customers continue to invest in digital transformation technologies, underpinned by public cloud infrastructure such as AWS and Microsoft Azure, Watts forecast a “significant increase” in skill shortages, spanning security, data analysis, emerging technologies and public cloud management expertise.

“This skills shortage leads to major challenges in the client environment which presents a huge opportunity for service providers to position themselves as a strategic support avenue,” Watts explained.

“The change in the channel is a rapid push to acquire talent, up-skill existing staff and redefine their businesses as the enabler of choice for customers on this journey.”

For Watts, investing in a cloud security practice helps increase deal margins, quality of deliverables and time savings through automation.

“We see the channel really grasping the opportunity to sell cloud security as-a-service and handle the entire cycle from discovery to remediation and get significantly rewarded for their efforts,” Watts said.

To facilitate such growth through the channel, Cloud Conformity has tasked Hamish Ormsby with the role of driving partner engagement across Asia Pacific, alongside deepening commitments in the US and Europe.

“A big challenge for partners is finding, recruiting and retaining skilled staff,” Ormsby said. “How service providers and the channel position their brand and area of expertise is more important than ever.

“We see top providers investing heavily in this process and they are seeing downstream benefits.”

Ormsby said the second key challenge for the channel is centred around "maintaining an innovation agenda", in an effort to remain "one step ahead" of customer demands.

“Clients want to work with trusted partners that bring insights to the relationship that they could not have otherwise obtained, and to successfully assist them through the digital transformation journey,” he added.

“Intense competition is our final observation, there are no shortage of partners and focusing on the right vision and executing effectively is paramount to being successful in the ever changing digital marketplace.”

In looking ahead, Ormsby said channel opportunity can be found through building out capabilities across cloud and digital transformation technologies.

“Partners need to be continually evolving, modernising their offerings and adapting their message in line with market and technological trends,” Ormsby said. “A successful channel partnership requires aligned speciality, values, vision and approach to the customers success.

“Cloud Conformity is completely customer focussed and this allows us to innovate inline with our most mature clients. We search for and do business with like minded partners and strive for this synergy.”

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