IBM SmartCloud Counters Google Apps, Amazon Web Services
IBM’s (NYSE: IBM) cloud services team is jabbing away at Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). New York radio ads now tout IBM’s SmartCloud strategy as the logical mid-market business cloud option — better than trusting a search engine company (Google Apps) and an online bookstore (Amazon Web Services) with your data. But is the IBM SmartCloud catching on with channel partners and customers?
Here are some clues: In its most recent quarterly results, IBM said cloud revenues doubled — though no actual revenue figured was shared. And in a May 2012 investor presentation, IBM predicted its cloud revenues would grow from $0.2 billion (in 2011, I think) to $3 billion by 2015 (side note: Thanks to David Falabella for that IBM estimate.).
At the same time, IBM has recruited roughly 1,200 MSPs (managed services providers) into its partner program. Some of those MSPs have their own data centers; others will leverage IBM SmartCloud and Big Blue’s data centers.
Still, gaining mind share against Google Apps and Amazon Web Services can be a tall challenge. Amazon is widely considered the cloud leader, while Google Apps has attracted roughly 6,000 channel partners. More recently, Google Compute Engine has entered the Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) market.
IBM’s goal: Position Amazon and Google as commodity cloud services providers, while positioning IBM as a business-class cloud provider. We’ll be watching to see if the strategy works.