Partner Opportunities in 2023

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Michael Frisby

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2022 was a truly landmark year for Vuzion, our partners, Microsoft, and the channel as a whole. From our acquisition by Infinigate, to the launch of Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience and Microsoft Cloud Partner Program, it has been a busy and exciting year for all.

Infinigate have the same purpose as Vuzion, to help partners grow their business, whether ISV, MSP, reseller, or SI.  As part of Infinigate, a €2bn+ pan-EMEA value-add cyber security distributor, we will be bringing more solutions and services to help partners better protect their customers from today’s ever evolving and more sophisticated threats and to accelerate the growth of your business.

As we come to the end of 2022, now is a perfect time to look forward to the areas of opportunity that will drive innovation and growth in 2023 and beyond.

Security

In 2022, there was a significant number of high-profile cyberattacks on large businesses and enterprises that were covered by the media. However, there were countless attacks on smaller businesses that had devastating consequences that did not have the same level of coverage.

This increased prevalence of cyberattacks has resulted in businesses of all sizes being more aware than ever that they are at risk of falling victim to a cyberattack, and the potential of organisations going out of business within a matter of hours if attacked.

At Vuzion we have seen a number of Azure Fraud hacks which our Azure Spend Anomaly service picks up as early as possible, to minimise the potential damage and losses for our partners and their customers.  Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) on all Admin accounts is an absolute must for all businesses today, with over 98% of attacks foiled through the use of MFA.

This presents an opportunity for Vuzion partners, to create layered security solutions with Microsoft and other vendor services that cover the full breadth of attack surfaces and security controls. Not only will this keep your customers safe, but it also will increase your profit and customer stickiness.

With products such as Microsoft Defender for Business, Mimecast Email & Collaboration Security, Acronis Cyber Protect, Bluedog, M365 Monitoring, and Global Relay content archival, you have everything you need to improve your customer’s security posture. Vuzion can also support you in taking advantage of this opportunity with training through Vuzion EDGE, and marketing and sales through Vuzion GROW.

Sustainability

There is no doubt that one of the greatest threats facing the world is climate change, and businesses have a major role to play in cutting down emissions to meet the goals outlined in The Paris Agreement and subsequent COP meetings.

Many businesses have set themselves Environment, Sustainability and Governance (ESG) goals to ensure they are contributing to the greater good. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it can also help create a competitive advantage as consumers are now factoring sustainability into their purchase decisions.

Microsoft has set inspiring goals, such as becoming carbon-negative, water positive and zero waste by 2030. By 2050, they will have removed all historical emissions since their founding in 1975. As Microsoft partners, this means that by selling Microsoft solutions we are collectively contributing to a more sustainable future.

For Vuzion Partners who want to carve out a niche within the ESG space, Microsoft has been releasing new updates for the Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability. This makes it easier for businesses to report on the carbon emissions from IT infrastructure and enable intelligent insights into their environmental impact.

Skilling

Throughout 2022, there has been an ongoing skills shortage within the IT and cybersecurity industry, with some estimates claiming more than 3 million vacancies globally for cyber-security professionals!

In many ways, this is driving growth within the MSP space, with organisations needing the expertise of MSPs and MSSPs, as hiring their own IT security team becomes increasingly difficult.  However, this shortage also impacts the IT channel and has made it difficult for service providers to hire talent to meet demand.

For this reason, we believe there is an imperative to upskill your current employees in 2023, and Vuzion EDGE is designed to support this.  Regardless of whether you want to go to market with a new technology, such as Power Automate, or upskill your workforce on new security solutions such as Defender for Business or Acronis Cyber Protection, EDGE has training resources to meet those needs.

Skilling is particularly pertinent due to the new Microsoft Cloud Partner Program and Solution Partner designations, as demonstrating knowledge across the Microsoft cloud stack is one of the key criteria for qualification. Attaining Solutions Partner designations as soon as possible will differentiate you from the competition and increase your customer reach.

Automation

Most businesses and employees waste hundreds of hours every year completing repetitive tasks, which in 2023 have no excuse to not be automated.

In the past, robotic process automation (RPA) was only possible for large enterprises with deep pockets and a large team of developers. However, recent developments in automation platforms, such as Microsoft’s Power Platform, allow businesses to automate processes without lengthy development time, thanks to their low-code capabilities.

Microsoft’s Power Platform represents a lucrative opportunity for Vuzion Partners. This is a relatively nascent solution area, so if you have skills within Power Platform, you can build deeper relationships than ever with your customers, building both short-term Professional Services revenue and ongoing Managed Service opportunities. Automation projects often act as a ‘foot in the door’ when looking to acquire new customers, or as a method to increase stickiness within your current customer base.

If you are looking to implement bespoke Power Automate solutions in 2023, a great place to start is the RPA in a Day course.

Workplace Culture

A business is only as good as its employees and over the past year, investment in workplace culture and the employee wellbeing has only become more important.

This is especially true with the ongoing skills shortage, as the cost of employee churn becomes ever greater.

It is important to remember that your workplace culture frames your potential as a business, and a positive workplace culture not only leads to a happier workforce, but it also has a significant effect on your profitability.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to developing a positive workplace culture, but if you can seize this opportunity, it will pay dividends in 2023 and for years to come.

The first place to start is to gather information on employees’ views on the company, including what is working for them and what isn’t. From there, you should have insight into what changes need to be made to ensure your business is fulfilling its mission, purpose, and values.

Microsoft Viva provides a comprehensive set of solutions for engaging with all employees in an organisation, keeping them up to date with what is happening in a business, proactively engaged in their learning, and providing powerful insights to help us all better manage our time.

Fostering a positive workplace culture is an ongoing process, and there is always more that businesses can do to create a sense of pride and engagement amongst employees.

Inflation and the Economy

2022 has been a turbulent year, full of macroeconomic and geopolitical risks. From the war in Ukraine to rapid inflation and supply chain challenges, it has been the perfect storm of interlocked events.

This will continue into 2023, however, as it is predicted that inflation will ease, the low-value pound will boost net exports and the tightening of interest rates will end, with a return to GDP growth in the latter half of 2023.

This will affect all businesses throughout the UK and Ireland, and many will be looking for ways to reduce their operating expenditure. This presents an opportunity for partners, as you can help businesses ‘do more for less’ with their IT budget.

One way to do this is by consolidating multiple IT and Security solutions into more comprehensive offerings such as Microsoft 365 Business Premium and cyber security suites from the likes of Acronis.

Many end-user businesses do not understand the breadth or depth of the Microsoft 365 portfolio and have third-party applications that duplicate the same functionality as Microsoft applications, such as Teams, Planner, Bookings and SharePoint. If you can educate customers and prospects on these features, it acts as a competitive advantage over other MSPs, and helps your customers “do more with less”.

Another way you can help your customers do more for less is through smarter cost optimisation within Azure. This can help you ensure that you don’t lose customers whilst the economy is in a period of recession.  The Vuzion PRO team is ready to help partners design and deliver cost-optimised solutions along with how to implement on-going cost optimisation services.

Final Remarks

2022 has been a busy year, and I have no doubt that 2023 will be just as exciting within the IT industry. If your business is looking to take advantage of any of these opportunities, we are here to help support your growth.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your partnership with Vuzion, we never take this for granted! We remain committed to supporting you and your business in plotting a path through the ongoing uncertainty and doing all that we can to help you and your customers stay secure and thrive.

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