Melbourne-based technology provider, Kloud, is cutting loose from the channel pack, challenging traditional resellers as a born-in-the-cloud Microsoft Azure partner.
Founded over a glass of wine in 2010, the growing company is filling a gap vacated by time-honoured channel players of the past, moving organisations to the cloud across Australia.
“We looked at the market in Australia and realised that traditional System Integrators were reluctant to transform their organisations,” Kloud co-founder and Managing Director, Nicki Bowers, said.
“Our model is based around helping businesses move from on-premise to the cloud and through this approach we challenge every single traditional SI in the market.”
Since starting at the top end of town, Kloud has picked up a string of large leading customers, including over half of the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
“There’s a slow cloud shift happening in the market but the big guys still don’t get it,” observed Bowers, when speaking to ARN on the ground at the 2016 Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto.
“They are not agile enough to respond to customer needs whereas we can walk in, meet a customer and have a work order signed within two meetings, which could represent a $500,000 project.”
In squaring up to the typically product-heavy, infrastructure layer focused resellers, Kloud is carving out opportunities across a range of sectors and customer bases, outlining cloud strategy and roadmaps for large brands such as Coles, Queensland Government, Deakin University Australia and SEEK.
Yet while born-in-the-cloud implies a refreshing sense of freedom and flexibility, in being recently acquired by Telstra for $40 million, such privilege appeared threatened.
“Telstra don’t want us to be sucked into their processes because they need us to keep innovating as a standalone business,” Bowers explained. “We work closely together and are happy where we landed in terms of a buyer.”
Despite appearing contradictory, Bowers said the company could have sold for more money to different buyers, but made the conscious decision to join forces with Australia’s largest telco instead.
“For an organisation such as Kloud, it’s all about our people and culture is key,” Bowers added.
“We needed to ensure our business had a solid future ahead and even though we operate separately, our pipeline is increasing and we’re seeing a massive uptake across the market.”
In short, Kloud remains close enough to the Telstra tent to access the broader things the telco providers, yet far enough away to zip it back up to ensure an agile approach to business.
Partner to partner
With the ink barely dry on the Kloud acquisition, Telstra also recently acquired fellow Microsoft partner Readify, tapping into its capabilities around enterprise cloud applications, big data and IoT solutions.
As reported by ARN, Telstra said its latest buy will provide an additional platform to drive digital transformation for its enterprise customers in domestic and global markets, while also complementing its recent purchase of Kloud.
“We look forward to working closely with Readify to drive greater collaboration across the business and help our customers move to the cloud,” Bowers added.
Representing the new mentality of the new partner type in the channel, Bowers said Kloud is no stranger to collaboration across the industry, demonstrating a forward-thinking approach to meeting changing customer demands.
“We always work with partners because we don’t do everything,” Bowers explained. “We do what we do incredibly well but if we can’t meet the needs of the customer then we will insert relevant partners into the mix.
“Now Kloud, Readify and Telstra are all part of one business, we can work more closely together, but collaboration has always been central to our success.”
Compared to traditional VARs however, Bowers observation is simple; “they don’t want to know.”
“Our mindset is driven by a customer first mentality because if we do the right thing by the customer, they’ll never leave us,” Bowers explained.