Resellers positioning themselves for cloud futures

The channel is investing in its future according to the vendors that contributed to a recent MicroScope cloud roundtable event

The chances of the channel reaping the rewards of cloud computing are high according to some of the vendors who are dealing with partners on a daily basis.

When the concept of cloud first emerged there were plenty of doomsayers happy to predict the death of the channel but in the last year or so it has become clear that customers still want to buy from a local supplier, even for hosted services.

Those vendors that took part in a recent MicroScope cloud roundtable were upbeat about the future prospects for partners with many reporting that they had already seen plenty of evidence of investments being made to safeguard the future.

"The reality is that if you are moving to some sort of hybrid [cloud], then you have to have some sort of relationship and the only people with the relationship are the channel. I am absolutely convinced of the robustness of the UK channel to adapt to what is happening," said Terry Beale, senior director emerging technologies EMEA at EMC.

"I have seen the investment and the channel is creating little seperate businesses within their own businesses," added Beale "It is early days, but I am seeing significant investment across the board in terms of skillsets, the number of people they are hiring."

Andy Burton, chief revenue officer at Zynstra, agreed that the investment was being made by partners but not all of the current players would come through the next couple of years in the same shape and form.

"I believe the UK channel will adapt but I don't think it will stay looking the way it does and there will be winners and losers. The transactional market is giving way to the services-enabled market, which does not mean that all channels will be service providers, but that their business model will evolve to enable the sale, aggregation, billing and support of services, whether related to on-premise or remotely hosted solutions," he said.

Gavin Jackson, vice president and general manager, cloud services EMEA at VMware, said that those that had already made the shift were currently fitting into the description of being managed service providers.

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This isn't new news. For the past couple years, reselling cloud services and products has been the next great thing. If you can guarantee uptime and security, people will buy your solution. Even if it's a white label solution you're repackaging from AWS or elsewhere. This statement shouldn't come as a surprise, but if you're in the cloud reselling channel, you should be ready for margins to get tighter and customers to become more scarce.