The term “cloud computing” has only graced the pages of technology publications and corporate IT agendas over the last 18 months. But already, it has become one of the most dominating technology trends influencing the IT industry.
There’s no doubt market interest is accelerating, and the number of organisations promoting cloud offerings both locally and abroad has grown exponentially. Yet there are still significant questions to overcome around how far cloud computing solutions can go, and more importantly, how channel partners can monetise and profit from this forceful game-changer.
ARN recently brought together representatives from the vendor, distributor and reseller community for a special roundtable to discuss where cloud computing adoption is at today, how the IT industry as a whole is embracing this new phenomenon, and what types of cloud solutions are gaining traction with mid-market and enterprise customers.
The roundtable was not the first ARN has held about cloud computing – less than 12 months ago, we pulled IT representatives together in a similar forum to discuss what cloud computing was all about, and how they expected it to impact their business and customer strategies.
What surprised me was how far the conversation – and channel initiative – has progressed since then. During our first “cloud” roundtable, much of the discussion centred around definitions, and what IT providers needed to do to get into cloud computing. To a large extent, topics covered were theoretical, relying on opinions rather than practical examples. At the time, I also felt the conversation was restricted by the lack of clarity and knowledge around cloud solutions and what they could achieve.
As you will see from the roundtable write-up, attendees this time around are not only comfortable with cloud, but have already invested heavily in building cloud-based offerings for their customers. The representatives were able to talk at length about tackling cloud for their clients, what infrastructure and applications suited a cloud environment, and how as-a-service solutions operated.
Yet some of the same concerns remain. For instance, how does the broader reseller population go about building a cloud service? Should they start from scratch and own datacentres, resell someone else’s offering, or adopt a consulting/broker position across the top? There are also still significant bridges to construct around standardisation and mobility, billing mechanisms, security and portability.
The sheer significance of this on-demand, as-a-service IT delivery method is going to continue transforming the way end-user organisations acquire technology and run their businesses. Simultaneously, it’s revolutionising the way IT providers not only interact with their customer base, but also manage, support and service all manner of technology requirements.
I recommend all of you make sure you know where you fit in a cloud computing world, because this is a revolution.