Corel, Parallels Focusing on MSP Partners to Support SMB Customers

Corel, Parallels Focusing on MSP Partners to Support SMB Customers

By Erik Linask

The MSP space has been as active as ever over the past two years.  While many – perhaps even most – businesses struggled, MSPs found a growing demand for their services.  That’s not to say they, too, didn’t have their own challenges during the pandemic, but it generally wasn’t for lack of demand for their services.  The truth is, the past two years only accelerated a trend that had started years earlier – businesses began to see more value in outsourcing at least some or most of their IT needs to experts, so their internal IT staff could focus on other tasks.

It’s why we’ve seen so much activity in the MSP space in terms of mergers and acquisitions as MSPs continue to position themselves for growing market share.  It’s also why MSPs continue to partner with a growing number of vendors to increase their breadth of services and maximize on the relationships they have built with their clients. 

At the same time, it’s why vendors, like Parallels, continue to focus on partner programs, recognizing the growing demand for its services and the opportunity the MSP market presents.

I recently caught up with Jaime Becker, Senior Director, Global Channel Marketing and Channel Chief, at Parallels.  Here’s what she had to say about some exciting news from its parents company Corel, and she’s seeing happening in the MSP space – and why Parellels and Corel are investing in their MSP partners.

Is there any recent news from your company you would like to highlight?

Yes! Corel®, the parent company of Parallels®, has signed a deal to acquire Awingu, a provider of secure access workspace technology. This is an exciting event for many reasons. Awingu’s SaaS-based secure access workspace technology shares our mission for empowering businesses

     Jaime Becker

and teams with anywhere, anytime access to the apps they depend on. Both companies are passionate about enabling the future of remote work. The fit is remarkable, and we’re excited to welcome their people to Corel and our Parallels® team.

Parallels and Awingu deliver the two halves of the puzzle that businesses need to drive productivity in today’s decentralized world. With Parallels RAS, organizations have a powerful solution that enables them to offer anywhere, anytime access to the Windows and legacy applications they depend on. With the addition of Awingu, we'll extend this flexibility with the ability to run and access SaaS applications securely, from a browser, on any device. The combination of Parallels RAS + Awingu will stand out as both powerful and unique in the industry, enabling customers to securely run applications on-premises, in hybrid environments, and in multi-cloud environments.

How have the past two years changed your company?

Corel has undergone a massive transformation in the past two years. Since the fall of 2020, Corel has hired three additional female executives in the roles of Chief Revenue Officer, Chief Legal Officer, and Chief Marketing Officer (in addition to our female CEO). If you want to build a successful business, the data on the value of diversity is clear: Diverse teams make better decisions, which leads to better business outcomes. When you build diverse and inclusive teams, the organization’s profits, innovation, and productivity all go up. We’re extremely proud that we are a unique example of a tech business that is both led by a female CEO and features 50/50 gender parity in the C-suite.

Beyond the C-suite, Corel has welcomed over 200 new employees in the past two years. We’re in full-blown growth mode, which means we’re committed to hiring the best and brightest to help grow our award-winning portfolio of technology and software solutions.

We also debuted our new Corel Partner Program in July 2021. In addition to Parallels RAS, this program provides partners with access to a unified partner portal that includes the latest resources and 24/7 support so they can provide our broad portfolio of innovative creativity and productivity solutions—which include CorelDRAW®, MindManager®, and WinZip® in addition to Parallels—to their customers.

Our program features a tiered structure that provides partners with unique benefits that are customized for their business. Partners have access to free enablement training, marketing tools and resources, collaborative joint-marketing initiatives, a variety of sales and technical tools, and our premier support team. We want to make sure our partners have the resources they need to attract new customers, access additional revenue streams and foster customer success. You can learn more about the Parallels Partner Program and apply here.

And this is only the beginning—Parallels and Corel have big things planned, so stay tuned!

What changes have you seen in the MSP market?  What’s driving that change?  Why is the market growing so rapidly?

In 2022, MSPs will ride the trend toward adoption of cloud services while facing challenges such as aggressive competition, security for remote customers, and cost control. Organizations of all types have quickly pivoted to come up with solutions that help their workforces and customers adapt to the “new normal” of increased remote work and distributed teams. This change has significantly impacted how businesses and their employees use software and technology solutions to access critical tools and information, collaborate virtually, and ensure business continuity amidst a rapidly changing world.

What are businesses struggling with that is driving them to seek out MSPs?

Businesses are looking more and more to MSPs as a one stop shop. MSPs offer considerable value in the form of service expertise that allows their customers to free up internal staff so they can focus on internal IT related projects and not add to existing workloads. MSPs offer both full service and third-party expertise so organizations do not have to invest in additional resources to manage solutions internally.

What are the biggest opportunities for MSPs to increase their revenues and profitability?

Small and medium businesses (SMBs) often lack the proper in-house expertise and IT budget to manage and implement cloud technologies, which is where the biggest opportunities for MSPs lie. Managed services enable SMBs to scale and operate more efficiently by outsourcing key IT services. This presents MSPs with considerable opportunities to grow their own business while helping SMBs conquer and manage today’s complex business problems.

Specific opportunities for MSPs in the context of SMBs include the need to transform to a digital environment, the need to protect company data and enhance cybersecurity, and managed cloud services. For example, 79% of mid-market organizations believe that centrally controlled virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)/DaaS solutions are more secure than older technologies. This presents MSPs with the ability to play a crucial role in helping these organizations implement, scale, and manage these solutions.

Where do you see MSPs struggling to meet their customers’ needs effectively?

MSPs must stay on top of the latest technologies and trends to equip themselves with the latest tools and solutions to deliver a complete service to their customers. The present challenges that many companies face due to supply chain issues along with the increasing shift to subscription billing models are two big areas that MSPs can step in to help organizations with.

How are you helping overcome those challenges?

When MSPs partner with companies like Corel, which offers cloud-based solutions so MSPs can serve customers more efficiently, they can provide a solution like Parallels RAS, which enables organizations to provide employees with secure virtual access to applications and desktops. This solution can help MSPs’ customers migrate existing applications, data, and resources to the cloud to better enable remote and hybrid workforces to access the tools they need to be productive and offers MSPs the chance to be reliable ally as organizations embark upon their cloud journey. We offer a subscription model to overcome billing challenges and make it a seamless process.

What factors are important for MSPs to consider when choosing which vendors they partner with?

MSPs need to consider vendors like Corel who have a robust partner program that is also flexible for MSP needs. When you join the Corel partner program, you get access to robust enablement tools across all our brands through our partner portal, which include marketing and sales resources, and technical and sales training. MSPs should evaluate vendors that are committed to growing partner revenue streams, have a dedicated track record of investing in MSPs through marketing campaigns to gain new customers, and that can accelerate profitability and growth by offering the latest technologies.

What do vendors need to do to effectively support their MSP partners in today’s market?

Vendors like Corel onboard new partners efficiently, as we take a great deal of pride in building strong relationships with every MSP we work with. It’s also essential that vendors offer benefits such as free enablement training, technical tools and resources, collaborative joint marketing initiatives, and dedicated partner support.

There has been a lot of consolidation in the vendor space serving the MSP market.  How does that consolidation impact MSPs?

Most MSPs themselves are small businesses, which means the consolidation of MSPs in the market will continue to be ongoing. This creates additional revenue streams for MSPs by allowing them to increase their service offerings to companies. When MSPs can offer more services to companies, it strengthens the relationship with the customer by enabling the MSP to be a “one stop shop,” which will result in greater customer loyalty and a longer customer lifespan.

How big is the IT expertise gap in the MSP space?  How can MSPs overcome that gap and what role do vendors play in helping MSP navigate the evolving technology landscape?

The IT skills gap continues to get worse as it's harder than ever for organizations today to recruit and retain top technical talent. When MSPs partner with Corel, we help close that gap by equipping partners with the technology, software, and solutions they need to excel. By partnering with Corel, you gain full access to our suite of products designed to make the workday easier for your companies and their employees by providing innovative solutions that increase efficiency and produce better results, faster.

We have seen significant changes in work environments and MSPs have been instrumental in supporting that change.  Are these changes sustainable in the long term for or at they merely a passing fad?  How can MSPs protect their new revenue streams?

Organizations of all types have quickly pivoted to produce solutions that help their workforces and customers adapt to the “new normal” of increased remote work and distributed teams. When MSPs partner with Corel, we provide access to technology solutions to access critical tools and information, collaborate virtually, and ensure business continuity amidst a rapidly changing world. MSPs can protect their new revenue streams by partnering with vendors like Corel that offer technologies such as remote access solutions and virtual collaboration tools.

Please make one (bold) prediction about the MSP space in general, or your market segment, for the next 6-12 months.

Corel will see a considerable increase in MSP partnerships, as we offer technology solutions that solve many of today’s organizations’ most pressing business needs, complement each other, and are quick and easy to implement and scale. Get ready!

What are you hoping to achieve at MSP Expo?  Why should attendees be sure to stop by your booth?

Parallels is a Platinum Sponsor for MSP Expo 2022, so come chat with us at booth #515! Our Parallels RAS solution provides MSPs with a simple, secure remote work solution that provides 24/7 virtual access to applications and desktops, on any device, and offers a simple, cost-effective licensing model.

What will you be discussing at MSP Expo?  Why should your session be on attendees’ must-attend list?

Don’t miss this session! As businesses leverage a variety of technologies to support multiple work scenarios, MSPs must understand how to support those models. This discussion will uncover the intricacies of delivering and managing IT solutions that enable employees to function optimally, regardless of where they’re located or what device they’re using.

How MSPs Can Capitalize on Today’s New Workforce Models

Wednesday, June 22, 2022, 10:00-10:55AM
with Dennis Colar, Director of Channel Sales, Parallels

Edited by Erik Linask
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