TDL: COVID forced customers to make a ‘leap of faith’ to cloud

There is no question that the adoption of cloud has surged during the coronavirus pandemic, but according to channel leader Michael Chanter, that has forced some customers into making a “leap of faith”.

The CEO of Thomas Duryea Logicalis told ARN that the Microsoft partner has been trying to help steer customers through COVID-19-driven digital transformations after state-wide lock downs forced thousands into home working.

As part of the company’s mantra to be the “architects of change” even during a global pandemic, TDL developed a customer framework it dubs the “COVID Rapid transformation map”. 

“We continue to educate our customers on the transformational capabilities of public cloud,” he explained.

“As Azure experts, we’re not doing our job if we don’t provide our customers with the knowledge and blue print of where Azure makes sense for their transformations.”

TDL’s path to becoming a global cloud leader gained ground in 2018 when it acquired Microsoft Gold Partner CNI, a move which Chanter later described intended to boost the former’s  intellectual property as well as the latter’s 1,600 customers.

Then, this year, the company set out to acquire its Azure expert certification and establish a global centre of excellence for Azure in Australia, both of which have been achieved despite the social and economic upheaval caused by the pandemic.

“TDL have been very vocal about our ability to help shape customers transformations through this time and have set out a plan with guidance on how to progress to each next stage and the challenges presented,” said Chanter.

“For many it was getting remote working solutions and initiating a business continuity plan, then it evolved into more robust transformation efforts.”

Looking forward into an uncertain 2020, Chanter believes there will be some strong key markets for partners to be mindful of.

These include: shifting from private cloud to consumption-based service provider and public cloud; security and managed connectivity; remote working technologies such as Windows Virtual Desktop or Citrix managed desktop; intelligent workspace and business analytics. 

“The unifying challenge is remote working and collaboration, depending on the segment there are very different challenges.,” he added. “Some organisations will be looking to reduce workforce, some looking for efficiencies through digital selling and marketing.  The growth segments will be looking at expanding capacity."

Growth and contraction will largely depend on market segment naturally, with areas like healthcare providing opportunity while others like tourism remain stagnant.

“We expect all spending to be scrutinised in the next 12 months and beyond,” Chanter said.

For TDL, the immediate priorities will be investing in its existing partnerships with Microsoft, Cisco and Dell, among others. Customer retention will naturally remain a focus, but acquisition has also remained strong despite nationwide travel restrictions and lock downs.

“Since we went into lockdown TDL have acquired over 15 net new logos some of which our sales team have never met in person,” said Chanter. “This is a testament to the great sales team we have and how our team engage.  Additionally we have been working creatively to ensure existing customers keep being serviced in the way they need, despite our engineers not being able to be onsite, we have had some interesting challenges but none were too difficult to meet.”

In terms of what customers will now expect from partners going forward, he added: “Customers will continue to require a more agile flexible partner who demonstrates they can understand their business,  deliver outcomes and provide guidance. 

“Customers will be more inclined to work with partners who show empathy, adaptability, innovation and who are providing valuable counsel about how to navigate current circumstances.”

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