Channel will play a key role in a cloud world

The theme of the Intermedia Cloud Insights event is that the channel will play a key role in delivering hosted solutions going forward

The future might involve the internet of things, wearable tech and more cloud-based applications and data storage but it will also be one that firmly involves the channel.

The view of the speakers at the Intermedia Cloud Insights 2014 event was that cloud was increasing but it should not be seen as a threat to the channel but an opportunity that was set to deliver further growth.

The demand for local support continues to be as high as ever and the need for vendors to work with partners is also something that will remain a feature of the market.

Aidan Simister, director of sales EMEA Intermedia (pictured), said that cloud vendors needed to have partners, "not resellers because that doesn't describe the relationship, they need partners", if they were to reach their market ambitions.

"We can't achieve the kind of growth we want to achieve without the channel and I think that some vendors have forgotten this," he added that the most important feature of a channel and customer relationship was now trust and those able to become a trusted advisor were going to be in a much stronger position.

"IT resellers have to reinvent themselves and have much more interesting conversations because the opportunity is significant," he added.

His view of the channel playing a pivotal role in delivering cloud services was also shared by Tracy Pound, CompTIA Faculty and managing director of Maximity, who said that the channel could harness growth opportunities if they started to make the move towards a managed services model.

She added that CompTIA was advising resellers to take a strategic approach to choosing the right cloud suppliers to make sure that they were able to deliver a solution to the customer that they felt comfortable with.

Neil Cattermull, director of Compare the Cloud, warned that not all partners would make the transition if they continued to view the cloud as something they could choose to avoid making an investment in.

He said he knew of one reseller that had seen a 15 year relationship with a customer disappear because of the inability to deliver cloud and warned that customers would look to work with those partners that could provide both on-premise and hosted options.

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