Software Development Essential To Channel Cloud Success
The IT channel is accustomed to change, fueled by technology innovation and market evolution. But for the first time in many years, the shifting technology landscape is deeply impacting the business model of channel players. From vendors to solution providers to end-user customers, cloud is changing the game.
Today, when solution providers build on-premise systems for customers, they depend on an ecosystem of partners to meet all the customer’s IT requirements. For example, an MSP may build the infrastructure systems for the client, but leverage a system integrator for custom business applications that reside on that infrastructure. Or, that MSP may partner with a local agent that onboards the telecommunications services needed. That model has worked, providing growth opportunity as well as extending each business’s reach well beyond what could be accomplished individually.
So why mess with a good thing? Cloud. Like I said, it’s changing the game.
What happens when your customer’s business solution is best delivered in the cloud? Remember that system integrator you used to partner with? He’ll propose a software-as-a-solution (SaaS) solution that includes the infrastructure you used to build, squeezing you out of the equation. In another scenario, that system integrator takes an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) or platform-as-a-solution (PaaS) offering and develops a custom business application to meet the customer’s requirements. Again, you might be cut out of the picture.
For many MSPs, failing to adapt to the new era of cloud computing potentially means losing opportunities and market share, particularly if they lack the software development skills that others offer. MSPs can still be competitive, but with more than 50 percent of today’s cloud spend in SaaS, and the remainder in IaaS and PaaS, MSPs may find that lacking application development skills threatens their ability to take full advantage of the cloud opportunity.
That doesn’t mean MSPs need to panic, but rather, they need to start thinking about developing those skills. If you’ve already tackled software development, kudos. If you haven’t, I understand that it’s daunting. My suggestion is to call your distribution partner, because the answer may still be partnering, but just with different players. For example, at Ingram Micro we offer the Cloud Service Network, an extension of the Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN), a partnering ecosystem and infrastructure to enable channel partners to work together, extend their skill set, and meet customer needs.
Regardless of how you approach development of those software development skills, I hope you’ll launch a strategy soon that focuses on building the skill sets and partnerships to differentiate yourself from the channel pack.
Renee Bergeron is VP of managed services and cloud computing at Ingram Micro, overseeing such efforts as Ingram Micro Cloud. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual sponsorship program. Read all of Bergeron’s guest blogs here.