July 16, 2014
By TC Doyle
**Editor’s Note: Click here for Channel Partners’ interview with Sue Barsamian in which she discusses HP’s relationship with its partners.**
Sales of cloud services are moving to another level for some solutions providers. Whereas early cloud business was opportunistic — helping customers to meet difficult deadlines, assisting them with seasonal computing restraints, soaking up “shadow IT” budgets, etc. — more strategic cloud selling strategies are taking shape. Today, a subset of the market is optimizing how they sell, integrate and deliver cloud-based solutions.
HP is helping cloud partners achieve their goals to deliver “higher cloud” with world-class programs, breakthrough technologies and inventive thought leadership. In this Q&A, HP Senior Vice President Sue Barsamian talks about the strategies and technologies that are shaping cloud computing today in her keynote address at Cloud Partners, a Channel Partners event, Sept. 8-10, in New Orleans. Channel Partners interviewed Barsamian to get a preview of her remarks. Here is an excerpt of that interview.
Channel Partners: How are some partners moving ahead at a rapid pace while others struggle when it comes to building a cloud practice?
Sue Barsamian: I see partners moving at very, very different paces. Today, I was reviewing a business plan for a partner in Germany. Its services mix? Already 49 percent. That’s right in the target range of what we think represents a partner who gets what we call “The new Style of IT.” I’ve met with a number of partners who, just like the one I spoke with this morning, are very close to that 50 percent range. They are doing a combination of on-prem, managed and cloud-based services. My rough calculation is that one in every four partners is at that mix. There is another one-in-four that hasn’t even thought about how to get there. The 50 percent in the middle want to get there. But they need help — both business modeling help and technology assistance. What sets the early leaders apart? Leadership vision and organizational flexibility.
CP: What best practices are partners developing?
SB: Jumping into the platform is great, but it’s all about understanding customer segmentation and workloads. At the end of the day, the cloud is the cloud — knowing how to leverage it is key. That could be leveraging HANA-as-a-service or becoming an expert in IT service management. Partners who understand the skill sets and assets required to deliver a service or capability, they are the ones who are developing best practices.
CP: How can partners help customers caught between the old and new styles of IT?
SB: The future always happens with one foot in the past. We don’t see legacy systems and cloud systems at odds with each other. Customers have a lot of different workloads. It may be totally appropriate that some of these things stay on legacy platforms and not be “cloudified.” Part of the role of the partner is to help assess different attributes of applications and workloads and which ones will benefit most by going to the cloud. From there, they need to help customers determine if something is better in a managed service, a private cloud or even a public cloud.
CP: Are line-of-business managers, who represent “shadow IT,” an opportunity or threat to partners?
If a partner has just pushed boxes and is not connected with the person in the company who owns the business outcome, then they are going to be out of the loop. I think many of our partners are highly engaged with those audiences, especially in the midsized space. In many instances, our partners are closer to these customers than we are. They are on the ground in Poughkeepsie or Cincinnati or where-have-you; they live next to these companies. And I’m more optimistic about our partners to reach these shadow IT buyers than not.
Hear more from HP’s Sue Barsamian in her keynote address, “The Higher Cloud: Enabling Agile Businesses with Strategic Solutions,” at Cloud Partners, a Channel Partners event, Sept. 8-10, in New Orleans.
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