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Survey Findings Illustrate Partners Roles in Enterprise Cloud Adoption

Edward GatelyPartners who provide value-added services and sell licenses for multiple cloud platforms are going to stand out from the rest of the pack as more enterprises move toward cloud IT adoption.

BetterCloud's Taylor GouldThat’s one of the key takeaways from the latest findings of BetterCloud’s survey of 1,500 IT professionals on cloud IT trends. This set of data compares the Google Apps and Office 365 channels, and the role providers play in overall cloud IT adoption.

Taylor Gould, BetterCloud’s vice president of marketing, tells Channel Partners that as the cloud partner ecosystem continues to evolve, the “pioneers” will be partners that offer services and subscriptions.

“In their written responses, respondents were sometimes unsatisfied with the support their partners provided (though most times support was a major positive),” he said. “Partners that are able to provide services like ongoing training and support on top of implementation, data migration and integration work will lead the way towards cloud IT.”

Among the findings:

  • Average time between initial research and purchase were six months for Google Apps and eight months for Office 365.
  • Microsoft leads in direct sales, at 67 percent, while only 33 percent purchase Office 365 through a partner. For Google Apps it is 55 direct and 45 percent indirect.
  • Expected increase in app usage in the next two years: 173 percent for Office 365 vs. 89 percent for Google Apps.
  • Only 45 percent of large enterprises working with a partner will be 100 percent cloud in the next 10 years.

“On average, organizations are more likely to be satisfied with Google Apps and Office 365 when they work with a partner, regardless of an organization’s size,” Gould said. “There isn’t a best or one-size-fits-all deployment methodology. The size of an organization has a significant effect on the way an organization chooses to deploy their preferred cloud office suite.”

Organizations working with partners expect to run more cloud applications in two years than those that don’t, according to the data. Also, larger organizations are more likely to …

… purchase licenses through a partner than smaller ones.

“We were surprised to learn that many customers have chosen to run hybrid environments because they believe Office 365 doesn’t meet their needs,” Gould said. “But Office 365 has evolved significantly in the past two years and if customers who have moved fully to Office 365 are more satisfied than those in hybrid environments, then it’s probably time for organizations running hybrid environments to reconsider their approach.”

Also surprising was the fact that Google Apps organizations were more likely to purchase their licenses through a partner than Office 365 organizations, he said.

“We expected the opposite,” Gould said.

Two major challenges ahead are dealing with the proliferation of cloud applications and integrating non-homogeneous environments, he said.

“Maintaining a high degree of expertise for a growing number of cloud applications will likely prove to be one of the biggest hurdles for cloud partners moving forward,” Gould said. “Organizations are using the cloud applications that fit their needs, not necessarily the ones that fit well together. Integrating a wide variety of cloud applications that are customized to each client – and ensuring their environment can grow to include more cloud apps – is going to be a major challenge.”

The shift to subscription-based software is forcing many successful Microsoft partners to reevaluate their business models, he said.


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