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Cloud marketplaces like AWS Marketplace, Google Cloud Marketplace and Azure Marketplace are quietly disrupting conventional software channels. 

These software-as-a-service (SaaS) sites are designed to simplify the cloud procurement lifecycle, making it easier for clients to buy and manage cloud-based applications and licensing from cloud service providers (CSPs), OEMs and trusted independent software vendors (ISVs), often with a single click.

In migrating to the public cloud, organizations regularly enter multi-year, multi-million-dollar contractual commitments with CSPs. Yet these same businesses often struggle to meet their CSP commitments due to stalled migration attempts, supply chain delays that impact infrastructure modernization efforts, cost optimization hurdles and pervasive workforce skills gaps related to cloud.

Despite the growing popularity of cloud marketplaces, many organizations still want to negotiate cloud contracts, access discounts and integrate technologies into their IT environments.

This article explores how a trusted channel partner and solutions provider like WWT is well-positioned to help such businesses extract the most value from their cloud marketplace experience.

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The value a partner can bring to cloud marketplaces

1. Financial health and management

Cloud marketplaces can help organizations reach their cloud consumption commitments faster, while potentially unlocking higher discount tiers with their preferred CSPs. But understanding what percentage of marketplace spend counts toward a cloud commitment can be confusing when tracking across Azure, AWS and Google Cloud. Without expert knowledge, managing the overall health of your cloud environment can be an administrative struggle.

WWT's cloud team simplifies and rationalizes the cloud marketplace experience by working closely with clients to develop and implement a comprehensive plan for maintaining and maximizing the financial health of cloud environments. We evaluate your existing cloud spend; forecast future spend; help you understand the different CSP, ISV and OEM offerings; and identify actionable opportunities to optimize costs.

2. Simplified procurement, consolidated billing

Cloud marketplaces present thousands of ISV and OEM products, services and pricing options -- from annual licenses and SaaS contracts to private offers and hourly consumption rates -- only some of which are available for custom terms. Navigating the nuances of these procurement and billing processes can be challenging, even for a seasoned cloud buyer. This is especially true as buyers are often required to link multiple accounts to access subscription services.

With expert guidance from a partner, cloud marketplaces can streamline procurement and billing by enabling organizations to request new subscriptions with a single click, consolidate billing reports from service providers, manage current subscriptions and license agreements from one central account, and even attach internal purchase order numbers to marketplace transactions.

To illustrate the value of the channel partner in this process, consider how easy WWT makes it to purchase a private offer directly from a consulting partner via a CSP-run marketplace:

  1. Client, WWT and ISV/OEM agree on solution pricing.
  2. WWT creates a private offer URL in the CSP portal.
  3. WWT emails the private offer to the Client.
  4. Client clicks to subscribe (i.e., places order).
  5. CSP invoices Client.

As you can see, a partner like WWT can handle the behind-the-scenes heavy lifting to simplify the procurement process.

3. More flexibility, more options

While cloud marketplaces have gained significant traction with born-in-the-cloud software vendors, they've also made it easier for traditional ISVs and hardware manufacturers to embrace SaaS and consumption-based product models. Today, many OEMs have listings on marketplaces that let businesses consume their solutions in the cloud with more flexible payment options.

In addition to offering more choices in consumption and licensing models, cloud marketplaces also make more services available. A marketplace partner like WWT can incorporate even more technical services and options from ISVs and OEMs whose offerings are not otherwise available in closed CSP ecosystems.

For example, WWT was one of the first solution providers to offer our clients professional services via the AWS Marketplace. More flexibility is always a good thing.

4. Accelerate proofs of concept and reduce time-to-market

One of the benefits of public cloud technology is reducing time-to-market, as test cloud environments can be spun up in a few clicks. Cloud marketplaces are no different. Within minutes, you can quickly deploy third-party solutions into your cloud accounts for testing before purchase.

However, most organizations will want to test the integration of multiple ISV solutions in a specific configuration with cloud-native services (with potential hooks into hybrid or multicloud environments as well). Achieving this level of testing can range from difficult to impossible for certain cloud marketplaces.

WWT's physical and virtual lab ecosystem, the Advanced Technology Center (ATC), makes it easy for organizations to spin up proofs of concept (POCs) and demo complicated multi-vendor solutions that call for more nuance than the point-and-click testing offered by CSPs. Using our labs, clients can test integrations between multiple ISVs and OEMs -- and potentially even between multiple CSPs. 

By combining the best of the ATC and cloud marketplaces, our clients get to market that much faster.

5. Long-standing CSP, OEM and ISV relationships

Not all cloud marketplaces are created equal. In fact, working with a channel partner who does not maintain close relationships with hardware and software vendors can slow down your cloud initiatives. Why? Because nascent partners can struggle to establish new relationships and acquire the technical understanding of specific solutions fast enough to deliver on the full value cloud marketplaces have to offer.

Over the past 30 years, WWT has developed longstanding partnerships with the leading CSPs, ISVs and OEMs. Our expertise is not only cloud-specific, but comes from years of building the infrastructure on which modern clouds run. Our experts are intimately familiar with the latest cloud hardware and software solutions across industries. They understand the best ways to procure cloud solutions and modernize IT infrastructure. In fact, WWT understands the different cloud marketplaces so well that CSPs often come directly to us for consulting advice on how to further optimize their marketplaces.

Finally, it is WWT's commitment to providing an independent viewpoint focused on solving your specific needs -- regardless of the brand or product -- that sets us apart as a marketplace channel partner. Before proceeding with new cloud commitments or retiring existing ones, we encourage you to find out how WWT can augment your next cloud marketplace experience.

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