With cloud acceptance growing, more and more businesses are dipping their toes in the water and trying out cloud based services and applications in a bid to work smarter and lower IT expenditure. But with recent research suggesting that four in ten ICT decision-makers feel their deployment fails to live up to the hype – more needs to be done to ensure cloud migration is a success.
This is where the channel has a vital role to play and can bridge the knowledge gap and help end-users reap the benefits that cloud technology can provide.
With the cloud becoming a mainstream solution for businesses and an integral part of an organisation’s IT strategy, the channel is presented with a huge opportunity. Offering cloud services to the market has the potential to yield high revenues, so it’s vital that the channel takes a realistic approach to adopting cloud within its portfolio, and becomes a trusted advisor to the end user.
We have identified three key reasons why resellers shy away from broadening their offering to encompass cloud for new and existing customers. A common barrier is a simple lack of understanding of the cloud and its benefits. However, if a business is keen to adopt this technology, it is vital that its reseller is able to offer advice and guidance to prevent them looking elsewhere.
Research by Opal back in 2010 found that 40 per cent of resellers admit a sense of ‘fear and confusion’ around cloud computing, with the apprehension to embrace the technology also extending to end users, with 57 per cent reporting uncertainty among their customer bases. This lack of education means they are missing out on huge opportunities for their business. A collaborative approach between the reseller and cloud vendor will help to ensure a seamless knowledge transfer followed by successful partnership and delivery.
The sheer upheaval caused by offering the cloud will see some resellers needing to re-evaluate their own business models and strategies to fulfil the need. Those that are unaccustomed to a service-oriented business model may find that becoming a cloud reseller presents strategic challenges as they rely on out-dated business plans and models that don’t enable this new technology. However, failing to evolve business models could leave resellers behind in the adoption curve, whilst their competitors are getting ahead. Working with an already established partner will help resellers re-evaluate their existing business plans to ensure they can offer cloud solutions to their customers.
Resellers are finding it challenging to provide their customers with quick, scalable cloud solutions due to the fact that moving existing technology services into cloud services can be time consuming, and staff will be focused on working to integrate these within the enterprise. However, this issue can easily be resolved by choosing a trusted cloud provider, and in turn building a successful partnership.
Although resellers will come across barriers when looking at providing their customers with cloud services, these shouldn’t get in the way of progression. In order to enter a successful partnership with a cloud provider, there are some important factors resellers should consider before taking the plunge.
Before choosing a prospective partner, resellers need to ensure it has the scalability and technology innovation to provide a simple integration of current IT services into the cloud. Recent research has proved that deploying cloud services from three or more suppliers can damage a company’s business agility. UK businesses state a preference for procuring cloud services from a single supplier for ease of management. It’s important to make sure the chosen provider has the ability to provide one fully encompassed cloud service that can offer everything their customers require.
Choosing a partner that offers not only a best-of breed private, public and hybrid cloud solution, but also has the ability to provide the reseller with a branded platform will give an extra layer of credibility to the business for not only existing customers, but future ones as well. Resellers are more likely to choose a cloud provider that gives them control over the appearance, as well as support and access to infrastructure of the cloud platform.
It’s vital to ensure the cloud provider has extensive industry experience and knowledge with a proven track record in order to meet the required criteria of scalability and performance. The partner must have the knowledge in order to educate and offer advice to the reseller. If they are able to do so, the reseller can therefore pass this knowledge on to their own customers.
By not offering the cloud, resellers will miss out on vast opportunities and in turn, lose potential revenue as well as new and existing customers. The channel must now embrace the cloud and take advantage of the partnerships available in order to succeed.
Written by Matthew Munson, chief technology officer, Cube52