The cloud helps businesses of any size create products and services faster and with far greater reach than before. The eradication of barriers associated with on-premise systems now enables change and growth as fast as a business demands. Indeed, most business solutions are suited to the cloud, which in turn opens up opportunities for the channel.
Becoming a cloud enabler is the future
Although it has come a long way in a short time, cloud computing is still in its infancy relative to its potential. To stay relevant and take advantage of the opportunity, channel partners must become cloud enablers, developing solution expertise, and even moving to a managed service provider model.
End-user customers will be looking for an IT partner that understands their industry, their business model and their customers, along with their commercial competencies and plans for the future. Indeed, a partner that can help them migrate to the cloud and develop a long-term strategy taking into account their needs, for example, in terms of back-up, business continuity and security.
This presents an exciting opportunity that will require a different way of working from the traditional reseller model. Savvy channel businesses will evolve to become a cloud partner, building an eco-system of vendors, service providers and ISVs to help with their transition, as well as training and support requirements.
At Avnet we see our role to work with business partners to help them manage this transformation, providing a wide portfolio and vendor agnostic approach to help them become an enabler of a cloud business strategy.
Reaping the benefits of the cloud model
Every cloud opportunity brings the potential for new and recurring revenue streams. From data storage and back-up, to security and compliance, business analytics and services, forward-thinking channel businesses must keep ahead of the game to provide the most relevant software, networking and security products.
Business planning will become easier as customers switch to a cloud-based managed service and therefore are less likely to move to a new supplier. Recurring revenue will mean the quarterly rush for contracts and revenue, to meet targets, will become a thing of the past.
The flexibility and scalability of the cloud also means that customers can expand their IT applications and infrastructure to support the business with minimal financial risk. This also reduces the risk to the channel with lower investment in stock. In addition, while training and education programmes have a cost, they can quickly pay dividends with consultancy and service fees.
The cloud wave is rolling on
We have seen that cloud technology has already established itself as a global mainstream solution. Uber has used cloud capabilities to transform the taxi industry, Airbnb has shaken up the hotel industry and Netflix has had an impact on the home entertainment market. No industry is immune to this change and adoption of a cloud strategy is top of the agenda for all businesses and the channel is no different.
All the benefits of the cloud can be realised if channel partners hold their nerve and continue to work together.