Can You Compete With Kids Born in the Cloud?

Can You Compete With Kids Born in the Cloud?

I've seen the future of the IT channel. And it looks a lot like the crowd at this week's Google I/O Conference in San Francisco. "Born in the cloud" kids are launching born-in-the-cloud businesses. Instead of looking back on legacy hardware, they are marching forward with disruptive ideas. Lots of them. Can you, the maturing managed service provider (MSP), compete with those upstarts?

At its heart, Google remains a search company. Sure, Android has taken off but additional concepts like Google Wave (officially shut down, Jan. 2012), Chromebooks and Chromeboxes (niche appeal) and Google TV haven't exactly conquered the world. And as of October 2011, it sounded like Google Apps annual revenues were less than $200 million -- though the company has never publicly disclosed revenues for the cloud suite.

But here's the twist. Roughly 33 percent of the world's top cloud services providers (CSPs) and cloud integrators already focus on Google Apps, according to the second-annual Talkin' Cloud 100 survey results. And many of those Google Apps partners are attending this week's Google I/O event.

Plus, a younger crowd -- ages 25 to 30 -- is attending the conference to learn where Google Apps Engine, Chrome OS and the new Android 4.1 (code-named Jelly Bean) are heading next. In stark contrast, the bulk of Microsoft's upcoming Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2012) attendees will be somewhere between age 40 to 50, I suspect.

Older isn't bad. Experience matters. But so does an open mind. And many of those minds are absorbing Google's messaging. I wonder, can you compete with those "kids" as they start to advise customers on cloud apps?

Here's a closing thought: Instead of competing with those new-age cloud consultants maybe you should hire them.

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