By Lawrence M. Walsh, CEO and President, The 2112 Group
The evidence is clear: The IT and telephony channels are converging, and converging rapidly in Web-based, cloud and managed services. A new report by The Insight Research Corporation places spending on “managed telephony" at $237 billion over the next five years. Under this umbrella of services is a plethora of voice, network and IT services.
The growing customer demand for consolidated services and simplified sourcing is what’s driving the channel convergence. And yet, the trend remains in its infancy as solution providers on both sides of the channel divide struggle to find their place amid the clouds and how they should adopt these converged solutions.
The Cloud Convergence Council – a joint program developed by Channel Partners and The 2112 Group – will explore these issues at this week’s Channel Partners Conference & Expo. The all-star roundtable of cloud computing experts will open the event with a review and exploration of exclusive cloud convergence research conducted by the council.
While cloud is on the tip of everyone’s tongues, it remains a relative mystery to the channel community. A little more than 10 percent of solution providers from both the IT and telephony channel earn no revenue from the sale and support of cloud products. Half of the channel community earns less than 10 percent of their revenue from cloud services. And only a handful of solution providers earn more than one-quarter of their revenue through the cloud.
Business users are racing to adopt cloud services to capitalize on the lower costs, scalability and flexibility. Converged offerings are giving businesses greater benefits through integrated functionality and extended accessibility and mobility capacities. While the opportunity for solution providers is exploding, most are unable to capitalize on the trend because the business model is unclear, the return on investment is seemingly long and the cost of entry is too high.
The fallout from this disconnect between the cloud opportunity and cloud barriers is high. One-third of all solution providers say they’ve lost sales opportunities because they lacked the cloud services sought by potential clients. Another one-third of solution providers believe their cloud shortcomings are a contributing factor to their losing deals.
The Cloud Convergence Council was formed to explore these issues through open-dialogue and the sharing of experiences by carriers, IT vendors, telephony agencies, IT solution providers and distributors. The Council’s roundtable will delve into the trends and explore some of the solutions that will accelerate convergence and cloud maturation in cloud computing.
The roundtable is made up of industry all-stars, including Peter Steward of PGI; Mike Ferney of Catalyst Telecom; Lori Cornmesser of Juniper Networks; Anthony Newton of Qwest and Andrew Pryfogle of Terrapin Solutions. It will be held on Sunday, March 13, from 2:15-3:30 p.m.
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 Convergence Council . He is the former publisher of Channel Insider and editor of VARBusiness Magazine. You can reach him at email@example.com .
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