By Matthew Munson, CTO, Cube52.
As companies continually look to get the best return on investment, the way they buy IT is changing. According to IDC, there will be an 11 per cent increase in IT spending, moving away from traditional in house-delivery, towards various versions of the Cloud by the end of 2016. This will see the adoption of cloud services rise and presents a huge opportunity for resellers to fulfil this on-demand approach.
With customers looking to reduce large scale capital investment on IT hardware and services, resellers need to be in a position to meet this need. For those that can, this will help increase future revenues as well as build long term relationships with their customers.
However, with only 35 per cent of Microsoft's UK partners selling the cloud, according to a recent announcement, many resellers still don't have Cloud services as part of their portfolio. Many still see the Cloud as risky and without in-depth knowledge of the technology, they are simply ignoring it, at huge risk to their business. If a customer's existing IT reseller is not offering the Cloud, they will simply go elsewhere.
So why do some resellers shy away from broadening their Cloud offering to new and existing customers? A common barrier is a simple lack of understanding of the Cloud and its benefits. However, if a business is keen to adopt this technology, it is vital that the reseller is able to offer advice and guidance to prevent them looking elsewhere.
Resellers are also apprehensive of embracing the Cloud and extending it to end users, and this lack of education means they are missing out on huge opportunities for their business. A collaborative approach between the reseller and Cloud vendor will help to ensure a seamless knowledge transfer followed by successful partnership and delivery.
Challenges will arise for resellers when looking at broadening the scope of their offerings for the new wave of Cloud astute customers, but these shouldn't get in the way of progression. There are some key considerations resellers should think about to ensure any partnership with a cloud provider is successful:
Delivery and scalability
Any prospective partner must have the technology innovation and scalability to provide quick and easy integration of current network resources into the Cloud. Resellers should consider whether their chosen provider has the ability to provide one fully encompassed Cloud service that can offer everything their customers need. Recent research has proved that deploying Cloud services from three or more suppliers can damage a company's business agility. UK businesses state a preference for procuring cloud services from a single supplier for ease of management. However, according to the survey many failed to do so as they were unable to find one provider who does everything they need in the Cloud, posing a huge opportunity for resellers with the right partnerships in place.
It is important the reseller has control over the appearance, support and access to infrastructure of the Cloud platform it provides. By working with a partner that offers not only a best-of-breed private, public and hybrid Cloud solution but also the ability to offer a branded platform will add an extra layer of credibility to the business for existing and future customers.
Knowledge and expertise
Resellers must identify a provider that can bring extensive industry experience and knowledge with a proven track record to meet the criteria of performance and scalability that is required by customers not only today but tomorrow. If the cloud vendor has the expertise themselves, they will be able to educate and offer advice to the reseller and in turn their customers.
Resellers must have Cloud services in their portfolio in order to keep existing customers satisfied and prevent losing out on potential revenue. To be able to build for the future, the channel must embrace the partnerships available to them to prevent customers looking elsewhere.