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Networking and managed service skills key to selling cloud

The advice from some of the vendors that attended a recent MicroScope cloud roundtable was to focus on the network to secure the hosted sale

Gaining networking skills is going to be one of the best ways for the channel to put themselves in the driving seat when it comes to helping customers move to the cloud.

With the ultimate platform the user settles on likely to be provided by one the industry giants like AWS or Microsoft the opportunity for developing the customer relationship is going to be at the networking level for most resellers.

The advice to improve networking skills was one of the main conclusions of a recent MicroScope cloud roundtable, which brought together a number of vendors to commentate on the latest market conditions.

On the positive side TechTarget research revealed that there are more users planning to move more services into the cloud and refresh their hybrid strategy.

But there continued to be some need for guidance around just how the channel can cash in on that ongoing business transformation in the market.

“If you are going to get into cloud centric solutions then they will need network expertise and ideally a network vendor behind you that you can rely on who has some good cloud expertise and can help you with latency and colocation,” said Gary Moore, business development director, Colt.

“We have a very healthy channel that is focused around network. These are people who are network professionals and operate managed networks for customers and can give certain classes of customers  localized attention that most telco's can't. So there is a channel partner there that is network centric but I am more skeptical about the reseller community as a whole, accepting that there will always be strong exceptions,” he added.

The advice from others in the market was to resellers to also develop managed services expertise to also gran more of the market opportunity.

“I think that the value that they add is the managed services element. Most enterprises that we speak to want a service wrap around what someone brings to the table,” said Sachin Sony, marketing field development manager at Equinix Cloud and IT services.

“They don't want raw service providers. Invariably there are multiple dependencies that they need to consume and they need a single provider, vendor or a managed service provider to aggregate all those requirements and add it with a services wrap,” he added.

For the channel the other advantage of developing networking and managed services skills and pulling it together is that it remains far from a crowded market.

“We want to bring together managed service providers so they can work with these service providers so they can build a holistic solution and then take that to enterprises. That is how we hope we can help these managed service providers, VARs and system integrators,” added Sony.

More advice from the assembled vendors included developing some vertical expertise and starting with virtualisation.

“For me it would be verticalisation first and getting relevance to a vertical. Then it is about adding services into that in a very focused way. Working with VARs that have vertical specialisms really does work for us,” said Craig Parker, head of product marketing and technical pre-sales at Fujitsu.​

See the forthcoming December edition of the MicroScope ezine for the full cloud table transcript.

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