Is the Forecast for Cloud Workspace Clearing?

Is the Forecast for Cloud Workspace Clearing?

Data amassed by the Cloud Clarity Score suggests 2016 will be the year that DaaS breaks out and gives shape to the Cloud Workspace market.

After VMware purchased Desktone and Amazon announced their cloud workspace offerings in 2013, industry analysts have been looking forward to the year of "DaaS (Desktop as a Service).” But the tsunami of sales has yet to hit our shores. Now there’s strong speculation in the market that Microsoft will release its own Desktop as a Service (DaaS) product next year. Could Microsoft’s entrance into the market make 2016 the year of DaaS?

If independent numbers aggregated by Clarity Channel Advisors are any indication—and I believe they are—then the answer is absolutely “yes.” What's more, the numbers also give us insight into why Microsoft would push their own DaaS platform. 

Before getting to what the number reveal, here’s some background on where they come from. Hint: it’s mostly from companies like you.

In the fall of 2014, Clarity Channel Advisors announced the launch of a new free tool, the Cloud Clarity Score, here on MSPmentor and Talkin Cloud. The simple tool can help service providers determine if a client or prospect is a good fit for a cloud workspace solution. Since its introduction, two of today’s leading cloud workspace platform providers, itopia and nGenx, have promoted the free web tool to their service provider partners, which number in the hundreds.

Suffice to say that the data has been pouring in. Over the last year, for example, more than 5,200 prospects from customers and service providers from all over the globe have been scored. The numbers highlight a significant market opportunity that is still largely untapped. 

Here is what the data reveals:

  • 79% of opportunities scored 70 or above, indicating a favorable fit for a cloud desktop/cloud workspace solution
  • 94% of opportunities scored involved companies with between 5-150 employees—a sweet spot for MSPs
  • 93% of the opportunities scored had at least one server that is three years old or older
  • 88% of opportunities scored had at least one third-party application beyond Microsoft Office
  • 74% of opportunities scored featured remote workers and/or multiple offices
  • 65% of opportunities scored have a desire to implement a BYOD policy
  • 49% of the opportunities scored still use XP or Server 2003 within their environment, though the number within the last 6 months has dropped

Based on the data, there is little question that there is a big opportunity for service providers who leverage a cloud workspace offering to host their client’s third party business applications. Consider one MSP in the Baltimore/DC market that has been working with Clarity Channel Advisors for the last year. Developing a cloud-first strategy has proven fruitful for this 35-person company. Among other things, it has converted 20 percent of its recurring revenue to its cloud workspace product with impressive results. Whenever it has moved a customer to a cloud workspace offering, its average revenue per seat has increased from $95/seat/month to $197. In addition, the company has found that the cost to support a $197 monthly seat with a cloud workspace offering is cheaper than the cost to support a traditional $95 managed services seat. 

Whether you believe 2016 will be the year of DaaS or the cloud workspace offering, the numbers indicate that the new year is shaping up to be an interesting one.

If you have a second, I’d be very interested to know which of these data points you find most interesting. You can reach me at [email protected].

Jim Lippie is the Chief Advisor at Clarity Channel Advisors, a Quincy, Mass., business consultancy that helps MSPs, VARs and other channel companies transition to more profitable business models using a comprehensive cloud strategy and better Business Intelligence (BI). He can be reached at [email protected].

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