During a recent cloud computing webcast in which I was participating, a solution provider asked: “How much time do we have left before cloud computing completely disrupts the channel?” It’s a surprising question – as nonsensical as it is simple, much like the viral video produced by The Onion on Hewlett-Packard’s cloud ambitions …
Channels Destiny In Its Own Hands
A good contributory article. Cloud is one of the most disruptive IT changes ever to effect the IT supply channels and there remains a mix of worry, fear, misunderstanding and back turning from resellers to cloud, led by fears of vendors selling direct, a lack of understanding how to structure a sales business around it (commission schemes for example) and a concern over cannibalisation of existing revenues and renewals. We have recently watched as a variety of industries have been disrupted by form factor change; Video Rental has been all but killed by online sales and on demand providers such as Netflix and Lovefilm; The music stores struggling or going as Tower Records did effected by online sales such as Itunes; Photography we have seen Kodak vanish with more now keeping photos electronically and storing them online; these were long time large industries rapidly changed by a different delivery format being made available the consumer which was faster, cheaper and more flexible, to believe this disruption won’t displace the traditional IT solutions is naive to say the least. Once a customer has a flavour of cloud, expect more growth to follow, the snowball has started as shown by th 73% of customers already using cloud and questioned in the Cloud Industry Forum Cloud Adoption Survey in 2011 who expect to increase their use of cloud in the next 12 months with 96% satisfied with the results of their cloud services in use thus far. With this it is key that the channel figures out how to engage both with customers and vendors (many of whom will be new engagements) in the cloud world, the internal business model required and the value the channel brings to supplier and client.