IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference: Cloud Meets MSPs?

IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference: Cloud Meets MSPs?

At the IBM PartnerWorld Leadership Conference, Big Blue is talking a lot about business analytics and cloud computing. And CEO Sam Palmisano (pictured) described why channel partners need to keep innovating to remain relevant. But during my half-day of meetings here I've heard the MSP acronym only once. And I think it was by accident. So is IBM overlooking the managed services provider opportunity? Actually, no. Here's why.

First, the good news: IBM is focusing quite a bit on recurring revenue opportunities and cloud computing strategies for channel partners. The effort includes a new IBM Cloud Computing Specialty for five types of channel partners. Within the five cloud partner types there are plenty of opportunities for MSPs -- including SaaS, managed cloud services, and integration services. So yes: Savvy MSPs can likely thrive within IBM's cloud channel strategy.

It's just too bad that IBM hasn't addressed MSPs by name during today's meetings -- though the conference does run until tomorrow.

Trends Elsewhere

Meanwhile, a growing number of technology companies offer partner programs that specifically serve the MSP crowd and the cloud crowd. A prime example: Cisco's rapidly growing managed services partner program, which has attracted dozens of certified MSPs in recent months.

Looking ahead, Cisco will likely unveil a range of cloud-related partner programs at Cisco Partner Summit 2011 (New Orleans, Feb. 28-March 3). And I suspect Hewlett-Packard will make some managed services moves during the upcoming HP Americas Partner Conference (checking the date; stay tuned). HP Channel Chief Stephen DiFranco is a managed services expert.

In the meantime, I'm at IBM PartnerWorld. There's plenty of channel partner, business analytics and cloud computing buzz. But how about some equal time for MSPs?

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