For Australian companies, finding the ‘new normal’ way of working and doing business with customers during and post COVID-19 continues to be top priority.
Teams are working remotely, customers are increasingly transacting online and system performance is much more important than ever before.
As a result, DX is now top of the list for Australian companies, with 89 per cent of Australian/New Zealand CEOs under pressure to deliver, according to IDC.
The need to bring data processing as close as possible to the action means it is also increasingly being done outside the data centre. Edge Computing will see 21% compound annual growth to 2024, according to GlobalData, and worldwide spend in that timeframe will hit $250.6B, according to IDC.
The key to selling Edge computing is taking a holistic solution design approach. This means thinking of everything that’s needed to deliver the same quality of infrastructure from the Cloud to the Edge for your hybrid IT solution.
According to Gartner, 90 per cent of businesses will initially identify a single use case for Edge but are likely to substantially increase their spend over coming years.
So, focus on building clear, simple and repeatably deployable solutions, and having regular conversations with your client to stay across new opportunities as they arise.
Profit from sustainability
Working with a technology vendor like Schneider Electric – the world’s most sustainable company in 2021, according to the Global 100 Index – allows partners to leverage strong sustainability credentials to differentiate their offering from others while delivering more efficient business outcomes.
For customers, sustainability is a lucrative business opportunity. According to Harvard University researchers, companies that put sustainability centre in their strategy see markedly better performance: 46% better sharemarket performance, 61% better return on assets and 23% better return on equity.
Centralised data centers currently produce 2% of the world’s carbon emissions and are forecasted to use 20% of global electricity by 2025, so maximising energy consumption efficiency is critical. Creating a sustainability framework that applies across both data center and Edge infrastructure will differentiate your proposal and help customers achieve their corporate sustainability goals.
More than 75% of Schneider’s products are Green Premium standard, helping customers reduce wide area network traffic and reliance on data centers. They are also highly optimisable for efficiency.
This is where resellers play an essential role in helping their customers design environmentally sustainable solutions. Schneider helps partners design more resilient and sustainable solutions. See how Schneider helps partners solve the “CIO Equation”.
Schneider’s five point framework for designing sustainable solutions includes questions you can ask clients like:
Do you have sustainability goals in place as a company?
Are you implementing the most efficient designs?
Do you know how to operate those designs most efficiently?
What's your renewable energy strategy?
What’s is the carbon footprint of the equipment you’re buying?
Designing end-to-end solutions with optimal IT and operational technology parameters mean you as a partner can deliver a lower total cost of ownership solution for customers, which will also allow them to meet sustainability targets. Watch Schneider’s Senior Vice President EcoStruxure Solutions Kevin Brown explain it at Schneider Electric’s Innovation Day 2021.
Demonstrating hidden value
According to Energy Consumers Australia, energy costs for businesses have been rising on average 10 per cent/year1. While this is something businesses can’t control, you can help them manage their consumption with smarter configuration decisions for both their IT and OT requirements.
Analysis of small business retail energy bills in Australia, Energy Consumers Australia, June 2018, https://energyconsumersaustralia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/SME-Retail-Tariff-Tracker-Final-Report-June-2018.pdf
For example, retailers operate on thin profit margins – 4% is not uncommon after all costs are taken into account. A 15% reduction in energy consumption may reduce power bills to the extent that overall profitability increases.
As a channel partner, the decisions you make in designing an operational technology solution for your customer’s edge deployments can create this kind of tangible business value for your customer.
Using comprehensive monitoring software solutions like Schneider’s EcoStruxure IT allows you as a partner to provide the digital services needed to proactively manage Edge infrastructure for customers. This can help ensure impending problems like battery failures in Edge deployments are managed before the problem occurs, but can also help with energy use optimisation.
Providing Managed Services with Schneider allows partners to get insight into the health of smart UPS deployed throughout a customer’s environment, allowing them to add an additional layer of managed services to their business relationship with the customer.
The opportunity of Edge in key market segments
Edge computing is a direct response to the overwhelming growth of data that's being created by new technologies, such as smartphones and devices connected to IoT.
But it’s also closely linked to the deployment of 5G technology, which reduces the problem of latency and allows machines and robots to operate with near real-time data.
Artificial intelligence deployed on Edge nodes is allowing businesses to analyse data in real time, to enable rapid decision making and tighter control on processes that impact profitability.
There are many positive effects of Edge deployments, and for customers who are on the fence about taking them up, it’s worth talking about the cost of doing nothing.
In retail | 2021 has been a year of massive disruption for retail, with a rapid transition to online shopping. Providing smooth omni-channel retailing is about much more than just the sales experience – it also requires accurate, rapid fulfilment and the ability to quickly scale to accommodate peaks in demand. There are so many points of failure in a retail fulfilment process and only one thing needs to go wrong to give a customer a frustrating experience. Don’t let this happen to your customers by helping them invest in the technology suite needed to keep everything up and running even if the internet connection to head office is down. Server racks, UPS, micro data centres and cloud-based management tools are key elements to a robust edge architecture. See how leading retailers are using Edge to deliver robotics, AI for rapid shopping fulfilment of omni-channel shopping experiences.
In mining | The top threat to any mining organisation is losing its licence to operate. More than ever before, the community expects higher levels of safety and improvements in sustainability in mining. A safety incident can cost a company millions of dollars in production slowdown, while sustainability shortfalls can call into question a mining company’s responsible behaviour as a member of the community. Workforces are now more transient, which means knowledge can’t be passed down ‘generations’ of workers as in the past. Instead, knowledge and training must now be embedded in the machines and systems themselves, often using AR/VR to demonstrate procedures immersively. However, these training systems must have high performance, or they won’t be used. See how the mining sector is using Edge to improve safety, training, productivity and real-time monitoring.
In education | Education is all about creating memories. Institutions now compete to attract students with digital technology that can give students immersive experiences to build those memories more efficiently. Those that remain competitive will deliver “connected campuses” with latency-sensitive applications like finger touch technologies that allow hands-on learning and AR, VR and mixed reality systems so students can experience what it would be like to be in the room, operating a specialised radiology lab, for example. This needs to be underpinned with a high-performance hybrid architecture that brings together the scale of cloud and the high performance of Edge Computing. Watch how Edge Computing can enable modern, disruptive educational experiences.
Addressing pain points with Edge solutions
Building great Edge solutions starts with understanding the challenges being faced by customers and how Edge can resolve these points.
Latency: Applications are increasingly reliant on latency of 10ms or less. Edge achieves this by removing the internet from the network path between the application and the server.
Bandwidth: As workers increasingly work with video and other large documents, they expect it to be available on demand on every device they use. Edge solves internet bandwidth demands by keeping files local, allowing streaming at gigabit LAN speeds.
Security: According to Trend Micro, 29% of data breaches involve physical security intrusion. As Edge servers are deployed in less controlled environments, physical security is critical. Schneider has a long history in operational technology and can provide robust physical security around the electronic components.
Autonomy: When server infrastructure is on-site in an Edge micro data centre, the system can be designed to continue working even if the upstream link to the main data centre is down.
Ease of deployment: Schneider’s micro data centre solutions can be deployed quickly – in weeks, not months – and cost up to 48% less than data centre builds. Once in place, they can then be securely managed from anywhere through EcoStruxure IT Software.
Fitting the space: The advantage of Edge is it can be placed anywhere. Different clients will have different spaces, from rugged factory environments with wide temperature variance, dust and water and little to no physical access control, through to highly controlled IT server rooms.
How Edge can be more efficient
Edge is all about efficiency – both in terms of sustainable energy use and in reducing customers’ dependence on only one IT solution.
On the sustainability front, customers are increasingly asking for IT solution providers to prove the sustainability of solutions they’re proposing. This is where Schneider’s Green Premium program can help. For the 75% of Schneider’s range now meets this standard, partners are given detailed information about the products’ compliance with different international regulatory standards, the energy efficiency and battery recyclability. This allows partners to optimise the total lifecycle cost for customers.
In terms of helping customers with operating Edge assets as efficiently as possible, Schneider has an entire methodology to help partners give customers visibility of their edge assets, optimise them and reduce the cost and burden of managing the deployment.
Managed services for integrated Edge
There are many ways an Edge micro data centre can be designed and deployed more efficiently, providing lower cost and higher resilience for the customer, while generating annuity revenue for the reseller.
Specifying a Lithium Ion UPS adds to not just making a system more resilient but also requires three times fewer service cycles a traditional UPS, for example. When included as part of a managed service, the UPS can be actively monitored by the reseller and service proactively provided before a failure occurs.
Converged systems make it less expensive for customers to build infrastructure. Schneider’s micro data centres are an example of a converged solution where everything can be built in a factory and then deployed to a site complete, reducing the build cost of the overall solution.
Lifecycle decisions can be made before adverse events happen. Sensors in micro data centers constantly produce operational metrics and this information can be used to proactively manage problems, as well as remotely administering systems rather than having to send technicians on site to fix issues.
There’s a business opportunity for partners to invest in providing managed services to generate annuity revenue while customers can reduce the cost of building these systems and processes themselves to reduce lifecycle cost. Schindler’s newly launched MSP program helps partners to generate recurring revenue streams, while also providing the partner with better visibility and control of their customers’ deployments.
Designing Edge solutions easily
Schneider has EcoStruxure solutions that suit all Edge scenarios. Whether you’re helping customers deploy from on-site Edge or to colos, choosing Schneider means ensuring the same quality of IT infrastructure right across your customer’s hybrid IT architecture
For on-site Edge installations that need to be placed in a small space, Schneider’s Micro Data Centres are a single cabinet that can be installed into the corner of a room or a hallway, with strong physical security built in.
For larger solutions, a Row Data Centre – a set of cabinets arranged in a row – can be installed into a room and physically secured, with comprehensive operational technology solutions.
Prefabricated Edge micro data centre can be great solutions for warehouses, factories, and industrial sites where there are no dedicated IT rooms. These are quick to deploy because the infrastructure can be built in a factory and then deployed externally outdoors.
The solutions are designed around three different site scenarios: R Series – for rugged environments, C Series – for commercial/office environments and S Series – for controlled IT environments.
All the solutions include options for the necessary infrastructure including enclosures, cooling, power, fire suppression, lifecycle services, security and management.
To make specifying the solution easy for partners, Schneider has built the APC Local Edge Configurator which provides a simple drag-and-drop interface to design an end-to-end solution.
It allows partners to filter products based on requirements (for example the width and depth of a rack, or power capacity required).
It also includes many third party IT products from major vendors which can be similarly filtered by height and power draw requirements, for example.
Partners don’t need to know all the ins and outs of compatibility of items they’re choosing with other equipment – the configurator will flag where products would be incompatible.
How to differentiate and evolve your channel business
Sustainability is top of the shopping list for many customers, and partnering with Schneider – the world’s most sustainable company according to the Global 100 Index – will put you at the top of your clients’ partner shortlists.
Schneider partner Dell agrees on the importance of sustainability. Dell’s SVP and MD Enterprise, Matt Fioretto, says “We're seeing a lot of customers having as part of their selection criteria of who they will partner with and which products or services they'll buy are companies that are aware of and have a social impact program around sustainability.”Watch his full commentary.
Channel partners are also evolving their business model from a sales to recurring revenue, by taking on the role of Managed Service Partner. This business model allows you to manage the whole lifecycle of the Edge infrastructure, relieving your customer of workload and providing you with valuable ongoing revenue opportunities.
Schneider’s EcoStruxure ITsoftware solutions allow you to monitor the customer’s environment while also giving the customer complete visibility themselves. You can also link into Schneider’s global service network to provide expert advice on any situation.
The solution portfolio is flexible enough to allow you to provide a full service model where you monitor the infrastructure and service it, through to Schneider monitoring it and servicing it.
By partnering with Schneider, you’ll be giving your customer the advantage of Edge solutions that are efficient, integrated and connected, with solutions already designed for key verticals leading digital transformation including retail, mining and education.
With the mySchneider IT Solutions Partner Program, you’ll have all the support you need to put together brilliant, winning proposals for your customers that deliver more profit to your business.
Why partner with Schneider?
Joining the mySchneider IT Solutions Partner Program will enable you to drive growth and build successful businesses while delivering value to your customers.
The myySchneider IT Solutions Partner Program is specifically designed for Schneider’s diverse global channel of IT Solution providers, including Value Added Resellers, IT System Integrators, Managed Services Providers and Data Center experts.
The program provides key business enablers, tools, incentives, benefits and trainings focused on our complete IT physical infrastructure solutions, which includes Schneider’s industry-leading power protection portfolio and Schneider’s data center, software and services. See the full benefits.
Top 4 reasons to join the mySchneider IT Solutions Partner Program
1. Profitability — Our Program provides partners with access to exclusive benefits, such as the Opportunity Registration Program (ORP), which protects projects, grants discounts and increases profitability. Earn up to 15% discount on your registered opportunites plus extra bonuses for your first 20 opportunities.
2. Enablement — We provide partners with a wide range of trainings to elevate team competency, marketing and sales assets and Marketing Development Funds (MDF) to drive market demand, and the Partner Locator for end user visibility.
3. Support — Partners get access to numerous tools and configurators, such as the Local Edge Configurator (LEC), as well as support from their local Sales Representatives and Partner Account Managers.
4. Experience — The Partner Portal provides partners with the tools, benefits and resources they need to be successful and certification trainings to grow their business and experience.
Get cutting-edge knowledge and insights on Edge Computing View Schneider Electric’s On-Demand Innovation Day 2021