CompTIA Breakaway: Where Cloud Meets Managed Services?
Plenty of MSPmentor readers are heading to CompTIA Breakaway (Aug. 9-12, San Antonio). No doubt, the conference will stir plenty of cloud channel chatter. I wonder: How many VARs and MSPs attending Breakaway generate some revenues from cloud and SaaS applications right now? Also, how will the worlds of managed services and cloud computing converge? Here are some clues.
Before writing this blog, I re-read recent MSPmentor contributions from:
- Jason Beal (Memo to Channel Partners: How to Avoid Cloud FUD);
- Sam Gutmann (How to Choose a Managed Services Vendor); and
- Phil LaForge (Five Sales Plays that Separate MSP Leaders From Laggards).
- Beal makes the case that managed services and cloud computing are close cousins (I agree);
- Gutmann describes how VARs and MSPs can protect their brands while potentially embracing cloud and SaaS services; and
- LaForge highlights MSP sales strategies, which I think apply to the cloud industry as well.
Those themes should echo at CompTIA Breakaway 2010. Remember, CompTIA acquired MSP Partners in September 2009 — so managed services chatter has been growing within CompTIA. Fast forward to the forthcoming CompTIA Breakaway conference, and you’ll notice plenty of cloud and recurring revenue topics on the agenda.
The Real Question for VARs and MSPs
Some people still ask “is the cloud real?” Frankly, I think that debate is over. Check out The VAR Guy’s SaaS 20 Stock Index and you’ll see a lengthy list of growing, profitable, publicly held SaaS- and cloud-centric companies.
Still, channel partners face at least four lingering questions in the cloud world:
- What types of cloud and SaaS solutions, if any, do my customers want?
- How can my company profit from those potential SaaS or cloud opportunities?
- To meet those potential customer needs, do I build those solutions or partner to offer them?
- How do I maintain brand control and customer control every step of the way?
It’s also important to keep the cloud in proper context. Amid the mixed economic recovery, sales are booming for on-premises servers, PCs, notebooks, network hardware and other infrastructure. That’s why organizations like SMB Nation and vendors like Intel are talking up hybrid cloud business models.
The cloud may not rule the IT world. But it’s here to stay. The ultimate question: Which MSPs will participate in cloud profits and which will cower in fear? I’ll be searching for answers at CompTIA Breakaway.