Taking on Cloud: What’s Your First Step?

  • Learn How Las Vegas is Stimulating Startups

    by Lester Keizer  | May 12, 2014
    This guest blog entry was written by Lester Keizer, CEO of Business Continuity Technologies. Business Continuity Solutions has been in business for over 30 years. We’re one of the oldest technology companies in the Las Vegas area. Over the decades we’ve morphed from a regular technology product sales company to a company selling enterprise-level products to a firm that does strictly managed services in its purest form. The last six months has really been great for our company. We see ...
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  • ChannelTrends: Tackling the Challenges and Opportunities of Managed Services

    by Brian Sherman  | May 07, 2014
    Remote monitoring and management tools have been available to channel companies for quite some time. Just last week, a friend of mine sent me a link to the first article I ever wrote on managed services — from almost a decade ago — to congratulate me on 10 years of covering this industry-changing topic. Though it was just a brief mention from the former Gartner System Builders’ Summit and VARVision show, the Business Solutions magazine piece reminded me just how much the channe ...
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  • Increased Demand for Skilled IT Help Requires New Recruitment and Training Strategies

    by Paul Cronin  | May 07, 2014
    This addition to the CompTIA blog is part of a guest series celebrating Small Business Week. IT companies today operate in an environment that’s both exciting and challenging. The persistent evolution of technology — cloud computing, mobility, unified communications, cybersecurity and virtualization, for example — make technology solutions more accessible and affordable than ever before.  The willingness of businesses and consumers to embrace these innovations has created ...
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  • IT Hiring Contingent on Sustained Business Confidence

    by Tim Herbert  | May 06, 2014
    The dilemma: Companies have job openings or want to hire in order to expand, but are fearful of a slowdown in new business orders. This scenario has been the default for companies across the IT channel during the past few years of economic uncertainty. New research from CompTIA suggests we may have finally reached a point of sustained stability. According to CompTIA’s recent Q2 IT Industry Business Confidence Index, executives feel more positive about the overall economy and growth prosp ...
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  • CertMaster Represents the Next Wave of Scientifically Grounded Adaptive Learning

    by Terry Erdle  | May 05, 2014
    As the world’s foremost vendor-neutral IT certification body, CompTIA is leading the new wave of neuroscience-based, adaptive learning with a comprehensive new training program: CompTIA CertMaster. This new learning tool, designed to help students and professionals better prepare for IT certification exams and future IT careers, goes beyond the typical race to the finish model and features a variety of techniques to help you learn, including adaptive learning, spacing and motivation trigge ...
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  • Ways and Means Clears Limited Tax Extenders

    by Lamar Whitman  | May 02, 2014
    On Tuesday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved six tax extender provisions and left 50 more on the chopping block. It’s unclear if the committee will reconvene to review the other 50, but in keeping with the desire of Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) to bring certainty to the tax code, yesterday’s action would make the six extenders that did pass permanent. The extenders currently have expiration dates, which most agree hamper their effectiveness, so those supporting the six provisi ...
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  • Patent Challenges Threaten Innovation, Business Growth

    by Greg Plum  | April 29, 2014
    Laser-like focus is critical to the success of any business, but perhaps even more so for small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs). With less of a margin for error than their larger counterparts, anything that causes a small business to take its eye off the ball is a threat to that company’s livelihood. My industry — the conferencing and collaboration space — has been blanketed in recent years by a demand letter from a so-called patent troll, demanding payment for a mute featur ...
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  • Idaho Technology Council Fights Public Advocacy Battles to Help Gem State Companies Thrive

    by Bob Moore  | April 29, 2014
    This month, Jay Larsen, president and founder of the Idaho Technology Council, discussed with TechVoice legislation he and his organization have championed to grow Idaho’s technology ecosystem. Read how the council’s advocacy efforts influenced those bills, the lessons Larsen learned along the way and how the Idaho Technology Council’s partnership with TechVoice has helped in these efforts. I understand you’ve been very active at the state level with several bills around ...
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  • The Internet of Things is Missing Something: Security

    by Chris Gonsalves  | April 23, 2014
    This sponsored blog entry was submitted by Chris Gonsalves of ChannelNomics. There’s a dirty little secret in the grand promise of the Internet of Things. Within the rapidly proliferating realm of talking machines that enables this hyperconnected ecosystem, there is a woeful lack of security. That shortcoming could leave important systems vulnerable to compromise and ultimately threaten the viability of an emerging technology space on which many have pinned high hopes. Understanding t ...
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  • My Six Pivotal Moments as a Woman in IT

    by Samantha Ciaccia  | April 23, 2014
    “What do you want to be when you grow up?” This was never a hard question for me. I wanted to be a veterinarian, then a doctor. However, when it came time to decide on a college major, I chose marketing to pursue a creative career in advertising — or so I thought. What you think you want and where life actually leads you can sometimes be very different. My 18-year-old self would not recognize me today: I’m channel engagement manager for Datto and have been working in the ...
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No doubt there exist many channel opportunities related to the cloud model, among them new sales and customer engagement scenarios as well as the chance to build recurring revenue streams. This is all good business. But the fast-moving shift to cloud is also profoundly disruptive and challenging. Ready or not, many of today’s solution providers find themselves re-evaluating how they conduct basic business operations, regardless of whether they are planning an all-cloud transition (for now, a rarity) or opting to add some cloud services to the current mix of product offerings and services (more likely).

Either scenario can work for channel companies, but that’s not true of a third approach: Ignoring cloud altogether. In spite of the fact that we aren’t going to see a 100% cloud world anytime soon, or frankly ever, firms that turn a blind eye to cloud today in many ways run more risk to their long-term survival than those firms that embrace some level of cloud and begin the business transformation that it entails.

Many are making the move. CompTIA’s recently released, 3rd Annual Trends in Cloud Computing, finds that 7 in 10 channel companies are offering some type of cloud services.

Growth is forecast as well. Over the next 12 months, 42 percent of channel firms expect the cloud portion of their business to grow significantly, defined as by 15 percent or more. This compares with last year when just 24 percent of channel companies cited expectations for this level of growth.



As adoption rates continue to accelerate across the channel, more practical questions arise about how these companies are integrating cloud into what they do today, how they retrain staff, decide what cloud services or offerings to sell and how to adapt their business models. The CompTIA study finds that most companies are – not surprisingly -- starting out by selling a single, entry-level cloud offering, mainly infrastructure such as storage services or data back-up. These areas have been the low-hanging fruit for many channel firms adding a cloud practice. Other obvious first moves into this space include using public cloud platforms to perform custom application development projects for clients, as well as reselling a vendor’s cloud applications such as Google Apps, for example.

Moving beyond Step 1 in the cloud transition, channel firms are considering a raft of different revenue models. One of the more notable takeaways from the findings involves the number of channel companies that are offering aggregation/brokering services that span IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. On average a third of respondents counted these activities as part of their business model in the last 12 months. Close to 4 in 10 plan to add these services in the next year. Aggregation allows the channel company to act as a one-stop shop to customers seeking cloud solutions that might come from a variety of sources. Channel firms aggregate the offerings, build a “menu” for customers, and along the way earn services revenue by making recommendations in a consultative manner.

As for biggest surprises channel companies have encountered along the way, there was no real standout in the survey. But nearly 20 percent of respondents cited internal cost savings – or more likely, the level of savings – as an unexpected result in adding cloud to their portfolios.

For more details, CompTIA members can find the full report in the member resource center section of www.comptia.org.
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