How channel partners can drive deeper engagement through managed power at the edge

The decentralisation of IT environments, and the units within the business that manage them, is a process that has been occurring for many years now. As far back as 2008, a Harvard Business Review article, titled “IT Centralisation or Decentralisation” wrote: “When leaders think about reorganising IT, they usually start with the assumption that they have two options: To centralise or to decentralise. Of course, in the real world, marketplaces are too complicated and nuanced to be served by one or the other of these two extremes.”

However, this trend has been rapidly accelerated over the last 18 months, as the global pandemic answered the debate for many CIOs and effectively mandated a decentralised approach to both IT and management. As disruptive as that has been, it has also transformed and modernised IT environments, and now organisations are looking to leverage their new hybrid cloud, decentralised IT environments towards competitive advantage.

One of the most explicit proofs of this trend is in edge computing, which super-charges decentralised IT to facilitate dynamic applications of IoT, AI, and other data-driven innovations at remote sites and anywhere else where the IT process is directly critical to the operation. Edge computing has become so compelling that IDC predicts that it will reach $250 billion in spending by 2024.

However, edge computing comes with its own logistical challenges, and one of the most substantial is the issue of power. Edge computing deployments become mission-critical on the sites that they are deployed on to, and the resources to manage these deployments on-site – including with regards to power – can be limited. According to Gartner research (What Edge Computing Means for Infrastructure and Operations Leaders - Smarter With Gartner), by 2025, 75 per cent of all data is expected to be created and processed at the edge, and at those sites, Gartner also shows (Gartner Blog Network) that unplanned outages can cost an average of $5600/minute. That’s before factoring the damage it might do to the customer relationship.

Managed power as a solution

As Venkatraman Swaminathan, Vice President of Secure Power, East Asia Japan at Schneider Electric put it, organisations are already engaging with managed services providers around the edge computing for their IT environments, so adding power management to the solution blend is a natural way to deepen the engagement. “When the physical infrastructure of the data centre and other IT applications is combined, then the management of the system becomes that much easier,” Swaminathan said. “Additionally, the IT people on-site need to work on the servers and worry about the end output. They shouldn't really be bothering about the UPS, the cooling and whatever is happening in terms of the physical infrastructure. It is a highly strategic opportunity for partners to go to market with power services as well and become a truly end-to-end managed services provider.”

For CIOs, the benefits of engaging an end-to-end managed services provider, that can deliver managed power as part of the solution, include:

  • They can address the increasingly demanding and complex computing environment, while helping to assure uptime.
  • Managed power can help minimise and mitigate the carbon impact by minimising waste and structuring systems around power better (this also helps deliver cost savings, of course.)
  • CIOs have the peace of mind that the power environment is being monitored and managed, and issues and faults can be identified and remedied quickly.

Building engagement with customers around managed power

As with any community college, Ventura County Community College District in California, USA, had incredibly limited resources to dedicate to IT. With a lack of personnel to service the sites, and multiple different systems running across those sites, the college was in real danger of rolling disruption and outages.

In partnership with UPS Protection, however, the college was able to rollout Smart-UPS and L-ion Batteries, as well as Monitoring & Dispatch services, that allowed the partner to take responsibility for the power management across the college. This provided the customer with the confidence that they would not need to touch the systems themselves and would have access to 24/7 dedicated experts that would monitor environment. It also benefitted the partner, who was able to overcome a lower competitive hardware price, by delivering a full-service management and service solution that addressed a deeper customer concern (read more about the Ventura County Community College District example here).

While this example of managed power in action is from America, across the South East Asia market, power solutions are, if anything, more important. Nations such as India, China, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singaporeare all grappling with power supply challenges, and if enterprises can’t find solutions, the outages and disruptions will result in them being left in positions of competitive disadvantage. Managed power delivered throughout the region will give these nations piece of mind, regardless of the prevailing conditions of the power infrastructure, climate events, or other such disruptions.

And, as a additional major benefit to the channel, by shifting to managed services, the move in billing from CapEx to OpEx allows the partner to build invaluable recurring revenue streams. As Schneider Electric Director of Managed Partner Channel Sales & Edge, Oliver Duric, said in a recent webinar “We allow our channel partners to manage the customer infrastructure remotely and get insights into the health of, say for example, smart apps that have been deployed in a customer environment, it allows the channel community to add one additional layer of managed services in their business relationship with the customers.”

Managed power is a significant opportunity for the channel across the Asia-Pacific market, as both a value-add for existing customers, and a new way to market to engage with prospective new customers. The power demand of enterprises is only going to escalate as they become more technology-reliant, and managed providers have a real opportunity to shift the burden away from clients that would rather shift power management to a partner.

For more information on Schneider Electric’s power management solutions, register to attend Channel Asia Evolve. Details here.