By Raul Castanon, Partner Marketing Manager, End User Computing
I recently participated in a virtual event hosted by Everything Channel: "Cloud Computing Is All the Rage: How Solution Providers Can Get Into the Game and Grow Their Business". The event featured great speakers and leading technology vendors sharing a lot of interesting information, but I couldn't help noticing that the conversation centered on how to move services to the cloud and the benefits for the enterprise, but hardly any information relevant to the channel and their role in the process.
For example, Andrew Hickey of Everything Channel presented "10 Cloud Computing Best Practices", a "how-to" guide to setting up cloud services. His presentation was rich with information and included excellent recommendations for both the enterprise and for technology vendors, but nothing about the channel. Another presentation, "Next Generation IT: Cloud Computing for the Enterprise" by Pete Koliopoulos of EMC, focused on the VCE coalition by VMware, Cisco and EMC. Koliopoulos' presentation included a lot of useful and relevant information but again the focus was not the channel. One of his slides even mentioned a 'select' group of partners that are enabled to work with the joint offering these companies have developed. From a channel perspective, the questions that come to mind are: who is in this 'select' group and what will happen with the rest of the partners?
It shouldn't surprise us then that the channel still perceives cloud computing as a perfect storm looming over their heads. However, this is not the first time that the channel's role in the value chain is questioned and experience has shown that technology vendors do not have the capacity to reach the enterprise without a solid channel program.
It makes sense that we are paying more attention now to technical and business aspects of service offering for the cloud; it is part of the learning curve that all of us are going through. It is important, however, to bring the channel into the conversation now, the main challenge we face is getting partners to buy the cloud concept and get their input.
Technical issues and contract negotiations can all be resolved, but getting buy-in from partners is critical to make cloud computing a reality. We may have the technology and the moment may be right for the enterprise, but it is the channel that will determine when and how this will happen.
What are your expectations for cloud computing for the enterprise? Do you think the channel is ready to move forward?