Everywhere you look these days, there's news about cloud computing -- new applications, services, how the cloud will revolutionize IT, ways the cloud will help channel partners. The topics are dizzying and endless. But amid the clamor a few illuminating truths stand out for channel partners. There are plenty of opportunities ahead. There's also plenty of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). Here's how to tell one from the other.
Let's start with the positive. For one, without a doubt, the cloud does open up brand new market opportunities. It also uncovers new customers, offering up to channel partners a chance to embrace innovative ideas for marketing, distribution and services.
More importantly, however, the cloud gives channel partners the best opportunity in years to provide customers what they want -- great service at lower cost, simplicity, more value add and a focus on business value.
Risky Business?Right now, a good majority of channel partners are standing on the sidelines with cloud computing. Many are uncertain how to move forward, who to ask for help, or they simply just don't know what to do to get involved. Some are overly concerned about the cloud's impact on their business as an IT solution provider, and have bought into the hype that cloud computing marks the end of the era for VARs and MSPs.
Whatever the concerns may be, waiting around and doing nothing isn't the right course to take. In fact, right now -- while cloud technology and services are emerging -- is the perfect time for channel partners to get their feet wet.
Same Story, Similar MarketThe trend toward cloud computing is a lot like the growth of managed services. At Ingram Micro, our experience with Seismic has shown us that channel partners who didn't start testing new managed services models in the early years -- and of course, took their share of lumps along the way -- are still lagging behind the growth curve and missing out on recurring revenue opportunities to this day.
We think the same dynamic holds true for channel partners and the cloud. Those resellers who take a wait-and-see approach to the cloud will ultimately suffer the same fate as the managed services hold outs -- years from now trying to get a handle on the basics, struggling to transform their business models and, perhaps, losing customers to their competitors who jumped in earlier.
Make Your MoveOur advice: Don't get caught up in the FUD. Get involved in the cloud and align your business with reputable partners so you can start to move one customer at a time to one cloud service at a time. Remember, there are a variety of ways to get started such as selling a simple SaaS application or single hosted server to an existing customer for one of their specific needs to build experience in cloud computing.
While you won't have all the answers about support and SLAs and management right away, you'll learn along the way, which is far better than trying to play catch up -- or worse, missing the market entirely.
Jason Beal is Director, Services Sales, Ingram Micro North America. He plays a key role in Ingram Micro Seismic. Monthly guest blog entries such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual Platinum sponsorship.