Channel Embracing the Cloud, But Challenges Loom

By Charlene O'Hanlon Comments
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New research from AMI-Partners shows that the number of channel partners offering cloud services to their small-business customers has increased significantly since 2008, but their current business model as a traditional reseller has hampered their ability to see real success in the space.

“The channel partners are hampered in their transition to cloud-based services by their small scale and accompanying legacy cost structures and business models," said Avinash Arun, channel partner research manager at AMI, in a release announcing the research.

As a result, a new breed of channel partner – remote managed IT services providers – is stepping in to take advantage of the opportunity through its services-based sales approach.

To ensure success in the cloud services arena, traditional channel partners must change their current business model to create standardized remote managed offerings, SLAs and pricing, the report says.

Standardizing remote managed offerings can help channel partners streamline their palette of services and eliminate the prospect of customers not knowing what services are available, while standardizing SLAs helps companies express in clear terms the types of services and responsiveness their customers can expect. Standardizing pricing, meanwhile, provides a standard and transparent model that can help in raising the comfort level of end user customers as they look for ways to control and manage their IT costs.

Vendors, also, can help channel partners as they evolve their sales models by standardizing their offerings, SLAs and pricing, and thereby enabling broader adoption of cloud-based services by SMBs, Arun noted.

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