Channel Firms Must Choose the Right Cloud Model

Cloud computing offers a number of opportunities to IT channel firms if they’re willing to embrace a transformation of their business, but can be challenging for those holding on to fading business models.

That’s one finding in CompTIA‘s Fourth Annual Trends in Cloud Computing study. It finds that 45 percent of channel companies surveyed said that determining the appropriate business model around cloud computing presented a significant challenge in the past year.

The most difficult challenge cited in the report?: developing cloud expertise across both technical and sales arms within a company.

“Primary business considerations depend on where a company wants to go with cloud,” said Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA.

The study identifies four main cloud business models which encapsulate much of what is being done by IT solutions providers today:

  • Build: Firms procuring vendor-based hardware and software products to construct private and/or hybrid clouds for customers. They might also offer consulting guidance on the best IT architecture, configuration and product choices for the project.
  • Provide/Provision: This model positions the solution provider as the hub for provisioning various vendor-based and homegrown cloud services to the end customer.
  • Enable/Integrate: Typically, the channel firm provides integration and implementation services that may include tying a customer’s on-premises IT solutions to its cloud-based solutions or, customizing cloud-based solutions to fit a particular business need or vertical.
  • Manage/Support: Firms are delivering the ongoing management and support of cloud-based services as project work or in a contractual, recurring revenue model. They are also adding, scaling or troubleshooting cloud services as needed.

With demand sometimes exceeding supply, channel firms need to react quickly in choosing the proper model, CompTIA said. Two-thirds (63 percent) of channel firms characterize customer demand for cloud-based IT solutions and services as either very high or high, with another three in 10 describing demand as somewhat high. Four in 10 channel firms surveyed said they experienced cases where customer demand for cloud solutions outstripped their capacity to deliver, while 20 percent lost a deal because a customer desired a cloud solution they did not offer.

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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