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Letter from the Editors: It's Time to Rethink the Talkin' Cloud 100

The cloud services market looks very different than it did eight years ago when we first launched the TC100. So why are we judging applicants on the same criteria?

As we told you earlier this week, every year since 2010, Channel Futures has honored innovative cloud service providers (CSPs) in our annual Talkin' Cloud 100 list. When we first started this ranking list, cloud services looked very different than they do today. Do you remember those early days of cloud? 

It was far simpler; we'd yet to develop the complex ecosystem of today. Many MSPs – for CSP hadn't yet entered the common lexicon – that were struggling to pivot toward recurring solutions saw the advantage that the cloud would give their revenue-generating services, but may have been reluctant to introduce yet another change to their clients, many of whom were skeptical of the cloud. There were security concerns, complicated integrations and nebulous value propositions, especially for SMBs that couldn't see the ROI on a new, unproven technology.

Today, it doesn't matter how a channel partner classifies itself. VARs, MSPs, agents, consultants, digital agencies and systems integrators all rely on the cloud to solve their customers' business challenges. There are fewer objections from customers, and vendors are developing open ecosystems where partners can use APIs to easily stitch together end-to-end IT infrastructure and services solutions. In just eight years, the cloud opportunity has changed dramatically.

Channel Futures must change with it.

Late Thursday afternoon, on the eve of launching the 2018 Talkin' Cloud 100, the Channel Futures editors made a bold decision to eliminate the rankings this year and instead use the survey to guide how we will revamp the process to reflect the modern cloud services market. We believe this will best serve our readers, the excellent CSPs in this maturing industry, and our own editorial efforts. 

To that end, we are pivoting our award process this year to focus on more substantive contributions to the definition of this industry, rather than a primary focus on revenue as in the past. In lieu of a list of top CSPs, Channel Futures will use the input applicants provide to award those shops that are innovating this space and giving us the feedback we need to guide future efforts, with several special awards that reflect the way you, our readers, define the goals of cloud services.

We know some of you will be disappointed, but we honestly feel this is the best way to help our industry move forward. We beg your patience as we rewrite the survey to reflect these new goals and open it for submissions next week rather than today as advertised. 

We hope you'll still throw your hat in the ring for one of these special awards, but more than that, we hope you'll lend your voice to our efforts to define this segment of the channel, to develop new benchmarks of excellence and to tell us what characteristics you think a top CSP should possess.

Thank you for being a member of the Channel Futures community and participating in a dialogue that allows us to serve you better. We look forward to receiving your thought leadership and using it to unveil a new, much improved Talkin' Cloud 100 for 2019.

Best,

The Editors

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