**Editor's Note: Click here for Channel Partners' interview with Sue Barsamian in which she discusses HP's relationship with its partners.**
Sales of cloud services are moving to another level for some solutions providers. Whereas early cloud business was opportunistic — helping customers to meet difficult deadlines, assisting them with seasonal computing restraints, soaking up “shadow IT" budgets, etc. — more strategic cloud selling strategies are taking shape. Today, a subset of the market is optimizing how they sell, integrate and deliver cloud-based solutions.
HP is helping cloud partners achieve their goals to deliver “higher cloud" with world-class programs, breakthrough technologies and inventive thought leadership. In this Q&A, HP Senior Vice President Sue Barsamian talks about the strategies and technologies that are shaping cloud computing today in her keynote address at Cloud Partners, a Channel Partners event, Sept. 8-10, in New Orleans. Channel Partners interviewed Barsamian to get a preview of her remarks. Here is an excerpt of that interview.
Channel Partners: How are some partners moving ahead at a rapid pace while others struggle when it comes to building a cloud practice?
Sue Barsamian: I see partners moving at very, very different paces. Today, I was reviewing a business plan for a partner in Germany. Its services mix? Already 49 percent. That’s right in the target range of what we think represents a partner who gets what we call “The new Style of IT." I’ve met with a number of partners who, just like the one I spoke with this morning, are very close to that 50 percent range. They are doing a combination of on-prem, managed and cloud-based services. My rough calculation is that one in every four partners is at that mix. There is another one-in-four that hasn’t even thought about how to get there. The 50 percent in the middle want to get there. But they need help — both business modeling help and technology assistance. What sets the early leaders apart? Leadership vision and organizational flexibility.
CP: What best practices are partners developing?
SB: Jumping into the platform is great, but it’s all about understanding customer segmentation and workloads. At the end of the day, the cloud is the cloud — knowing how to leverage it is key. That could be leveraging HANA-as-a-service or becoming an expert in IT service management. Partners who understand the skill sets and assets required to deliver a service or capability, they are the ones who are developing best practices.
CP: How can partners help customers caught between the old and new styles of IT?