By Lawrence M. Walsh, CEO and P resident, The 2112 Group
The IT and telephony channels approach their respective customers very differently. The IT channel places value on its technical prowess, where the telephony channel emphasizes services and service delivery. Not surprising that, in the cloud, these two channels are focusing on products and services that best match their core skill sets – except in one place: disaster recovery and backup.
As part of the launch of the Channel Partners Cloud Convergence Council, Channel Partners magazine and The 2112 Group surveyed nearly 189 solution providers, integrators and agents in the IT and telephony channels on their current standing with cloud computing, where they’re finding success and what’s impeding their cloud adoption. Out of 10 common cloud services, the only place where both channels showed near parity in penetration is disaster recovery/backup and professional/consultative services.
Disaster recovery/backup dominates the channel offerings, as one in four solution providers in both channel segments offers or represents a cloud-based solution. The service is more pronounced in the IT channel, of which 43 percent offers it as a service. In the telephony channel, 34 percent of companies offer backup services.
What’s more interesting is the demand for cloud services. One in four end-users asks their solution provider for cloud-based disaster recovery and backup services. Again, the proportion of end-users seeking this service from IT solution providers is higher, but at least one-third of the telephony channel’s customers are asking for the service by name.
Analysts and prognosticators can talk all they want about the cost savings, flexibility and scalability of cloud computing services, but applications such as collaboration, business analytics, e-mail and voice are useless without redundancy, retention and recoverability. It’s an issue that affects platforms in both channels. The problem with all disaster recovery applications is that they’re insurance: You don’t need them until something goes wrong – making them a cost center, not a profit center. Moving disaster recovery into the cloud is the means for greater efficiency and scalability, as well as cost savings.
This is also a point of potential collaboration between the two channels, both of which are quite divergent on the other common cloud applications, namely security, collaboration/file sharing, business applications, productivity software and telephony/voice. Disaster recovery and backup mean different things to each of these services, but the technical implementations are essentially the same. Collaborative teaming between the two channels could produce disaster recovery services with greater scalability, easier management and consolidated costs.
In some respects, disasters – and the tools to recover from disaster – could be the catalyst for drawing the IT and telephony channels together.
Lawrence M. Walsh is CEO and president of The 2112 Group , a technology business advisory service that specializes in optimizing indirect channels and partner relationships, and principle blogger at Channelnomics . He’s also the executive director of the Channel Vanguard Council and moderator of the Channel Partners Cloud Conference Council. He is the former publisher of Channel Insider and editor of VARBusiness Magazine. You can reach him at email@example.com.