Channeling the Cloud: How to Form IT Alliances
While the cloud market has advanced rapidly in recent years, it is still a relatively young segment in IT–particularly compared to legacy hardware solutions. Cloud providers continue to integrate with existing IT; however, one area that has received consistent investment is the channel. This growth of the marketplace and the inevitable evolution of offers still-to-come creates a unique market opportunity for both technology providers and channel partners to be a true value-added guide to their clients. Through strong technology partnerships, IT leaders can leverage their strengths, differentiate their business and uncover new sources of value.
For long-time players in the cloud industry, channel partners have been an important part of business growth and development. Channel partners can help cloud providers extend market reach within a rapidly changing and competitive cloud marketplace, enabling companies to expand their footprint globally. In my experience, establishing and nurturing a strong and committed group of partners can provide incredible business value and long-term success in a crowded space. To become a truly valued partner in cloud, it is important to stand out from other players in the market and offer value to your partners by:
- Leveraging your strengths: The demand for hybrid solutions—premises and virtual resources—plays to the strength of partners who can effectively complement their extensive hardware experience with the backing of best-in-class cloud services.
- Differentiating your business: Cloud computing and IT outsourcing will inevitably impact traditional hardware sales. Adding cloud services to your portfolio now makes it possible to go beyond traditional product sales and achieve the differentiation that’s key to success in this new marketplace.
- Uncovering new sources of value: The adoption of more IT services via a cloud-based model opens the door to new revenue streams such as application development, smart computing integration and financial consulting.
The explosive growth of the cloud market, combined with the realities of further evolution, offers a unique market opportunity for both cloud providers and IT partners to extend their reach and better service their customers across a broad range of industries. As with any emerging technology, it takes time for both vendors and the channel to establish reliable, affordable and scalable solutions to meet the ever-growing needs of modern businesses.
The establishment of these business relationships is key to innovation and development of new opportunities. At the end of the day the most important element in choosing a cloud partner is similar to that of a customer choosing a cloud provider: you. Very simply, the right cloud partner and provider for your enterprise is the one that can “walk the talk” and truly understands how to implement the solutions needed to best support your business strategy.
How do you think the cloud market differs from other channel partner opportunities? What do you look for in a mutually beneficial business relationship?
Laurie Harvey is director, channel marketing, NaviSite. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.