Cloud Potential Big for IT Channel Firms

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New research from CompTIA shows cloud computing is generating significant revenue streams for IT channel companies, many of which plan to boost their investments in the cloud over the next year.

The CompTIA survey says 46 percent of IT companies that offer cloud solutions have derived more than half of their annual revenue from cloud-related products and services in the last 12 months. The vast majority of these companies (85 percent) expect cloud sales to grow in the next year.

“This clearly underscores the momentum cloud is having on the marketplace and the variety of opportunity avenues available to the channel," said Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA.

Nearly half of the channel firms surveyed for CompTIA’s Second Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study plan to bump their investment in cloud business by between 10 and 15 percent in the next 12 months. Last year, less than one-third said they were upping their investment that much.

Current revenue-generating cloud solutions for channel companies include the cloud-based email, storage, backup and recovery, and business productivity applications. These solutions are in high demand among customers, but are relatively simple for channel companies to deliver, CompTIA said.

The survey also showed an average of nearly six in 10 channel companies with $20 million or more in annual revenue reaped revenue from mobile application development as a result of their cloud-based sales; despite describing themselves as having “light involvement" with cloud, nearly four in ten said they made money from cloud integration work in the last 12 months; and eight in 10 value-added resellers reaped post-sale integration work from the cloud last year.

CompTIA says more sophisticated services, such as collaboration and analytics, are also on the horizon for cloud solution providers.

Challenges in the cloud persist, however, as customers continues to have security concerns. Six in 10 channel companies still report security concerns are the main roadblock to a cloud sale, consistent among customers of all sizes. The study also suggests that foundational work needs to be done within the IT channel as the evolution of cloud computing accelerates. Roughly one in five channel firms said they have either a partial roadmap or no roadmap for their cloud business plans. Channel companies also face a number of challenges – primarily business-related – as they shift more of their focus to cloud.

CompTIA’s Second Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study is the result of online surveys of 400 IT firms in the U.S. and 500 U.S. IT and business professionals involved in IT decision-making. The survey was conducted in June 2011 and is available at no cost to CompTIA members at www.CompTIA.org.  

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