The Channel-Centric Cloud: Creating New Partnership Opportunities for Providers and Partners
May 03, 2017
The cloud computing model was launched as the ultimate in self-service IT. Yet, from the start, businesses of all sizes and types have found the cloud so utterly complex that they have difficulty implementing a cloud strategy on their own.
But why such difficulty? Often, IT technicians have limited knowledge as to how best to leverage cloud solutions. Integrating premises and cloud infrastructure into a hybrid environment can also be more difficult than expected.
As a result, more than 90% of enterprises will seek outside assistance with their cloud strategy and implementation, according to Frost & Sullivan research. Cloud service providers—which staked their entire business on a hands-off, self-service delivery model—are, in many cases, not set up to offer significant guidance or support to companies deploying cloud within their business; nor (so far) are they interested in doing so. But the indirect sales channel, and the partners that comprise it, are well-positioned to help customers develop and deliver a strategic cloud computing environment that will meet their specific needs.
As such, there is a shift afoot in how cloud services are being sold; with channel partners increasingly leading the way in sales and integration—with the full support of the cloud service providers they represent. Partners whose businesses have been decimated by the introduction of cloud services to the market need to create new value propositions that will retain their relevance in the current cloud market. Many providers are creating and rolling out new partner programs, or enhancing old programs with features that make partners successful.
MSPs and similar partners will indeed continue to grow in importance in the cloud market; but need to establish value propositions, and be willing to shift away from transactional sales, and toward a cloud and solution-based sales model. Hybrid cloud integration, and the ability to manage services from a variety of providers to create a comprehensive solution, will be key capabilities of consulting partners moving forward.
Likewise, technology providers are growing increasingly more comfortable with inter-industry partnerships to complement their own portfolios, to create more robust solutions for customers. Such partnerships are a win-win for the parties involved: they allow providers to remain focused on their core technologies and strengths, while still providing ancillary capabilities and complete solutions to their business customers.
As a whole, partnerships in the cloud-based IT market are both thriving and increasing in number. Frost & Sullivan sees this trend continuing to grow, as enterprise IT drives a services-based IT market, and providers answer that call.
For more information on channel providers in the cloud, see my Frost & Sullivan research at: http://www.frost.com/q297521852
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