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Harnessing the power of ISVs: A key to digital transformation

By Luke Bainbridge, ISV Channel Manager, Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa

Johannesburg, 27 Jul 2023
Luke Bainbridge, ISV Channel Manager, Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa.
Luke Bainbridge, ISV Channel Manager, Westcon-Comstor Sub-Saharan Africa.

Amid the tumultuous tide of today's digital economies, businesses confront an array of risks and opportunities and are in constant search for solutions that can help them adapt, grow and stay competitive. One key player that has significantly influenced this shift is the independent software vendor (ISV). ISVs, whether globally recognised giants or small start-ups, create targeted solutions aimed at addressing specific business needs across various industries and sectors.

In its essence, an ISV is a company that develops and sells software that runs on third-party hardware or platforms, whether on-premises or in the cloud. The solutions they create are designed to help businesses overcome challenges, enhance efficiencies or tap into new opportunities, contributing to their digital transformation journey.

The DNA of an ISV

To better understand how ISVs operate and how they benefit businesses, let's consider the Azure Marketplace. Picture it as a hardware store for your digital projects. This marketplace is a robust platform that brings together the unique solutions built by various ISVs. If you're in the middle of a project and realise you need a specific component, the Azure Marketplace has you covered.

Just like walking into a hardware store to buy a screw or a can of paint, you can browse the Azure Marketplace to find the specific software solution that suits your needs, streamlining your digital transformation journey. These tools are created by different ISVs and are designed to fulfil different needs of a customer. In the same way, your hardware store offers similar products from different companies – that may do a similar thing to the other – but have slightly different applications.

This concept revolutionises traditional procurement models, introducing a simplified, efficient process where everything a business needs is accessible via a single platform – Microsoft's Azure Marketplace. This way, businesses no longer must get skilled up, sign on multiple vendors or deal with multiple invoices. It's a one-stop shop model that significantly reduces complexity and accelerates digital transformation.

Role of the distributor

We understand that bringing new software solutions to the market is inherently expensive and time-consuming and it also comes with several challenges. Some of the common challenges that software product developers and companies face include: market research, validation and promotion, infrastructure hosting, market entry and distribution, to name but a few.

It should also be noted that for our partners, sometimes finding the right solution can be a complex task, which may require intricate solution builds and architectures to allow for a seamless experience. As a channel-centric value-added distributor, Westcon-Comstor plays a pivotal role in this process. While some may argue that these digital marketplaces have done away with the need for a distributor – the opposite is true.

For example, we have over 15 years of experience working with vendors like Microsoft, addressing the aforementioned challenges. We help remove or ease the complexity while ensuring our partners are successful in their endeavours to sell and offer solutions through the cloud and the commercial marketplace.

Role of private offers

But what about private offers? How do they fit into the picture? Simply put, private offers are special deals offered through the Azure Marketplace. Discounts and margins remain key concerns for partners, and these are addressed directly through the private offer route. So, a partner could have a specific private offer in place for a particular deal, providing exclusive benefits and discounts.

For ISV partners, the Azure Marketplace offers significant advantages.

As a South African ISV, for instance, with a unique product, the marketplace provides access to a global market. ISVs can make their offering available globally, instantly extending their reach to 167 countries. This capability removes the complexities of tax compliance and regulatory requirements, providing the ISV with a global footprint. It has never been easier than right now in this digital age to expand and extend their solutions, apps and services to the world.

Simplified engagement

The procurement process, too, is streamlined. Instead of placing multiple orders from different vendors, businesses can place a single order on the Microsoft commercial marketplace and get their ISV product. This ease of procurement takes the pressure off businesses and accelerates the deployment process.

Finally, the ultimate winner in the ISV model is the end customer. They can easily find and deploy applications within their environment without building the solution themselves, saving significant amounts of time and resources. The ease of access and simplified process drive digital transformation forward, helping businesses stay agile and competitive in a constantly evolving landscape.

Future of the ISV

ISVs and their role in the Azure Marketplace are driving the digital transformation journey, simplifying procurement, accelerating deployment and helping businesses unlock incredible value.

The role we at Westcon-Comstor play is instrumental in facilitating these connections, guiding our partners through the process and supporting them every step of the way. From the initial “build” to “market” and “sell” activities, we believe that the value we bring can help lead to greater ISV and partner success.