Flexibility Was Never Goliath’s Strength

By Gary Schick

No matter what sort of reseller niche youve occupied, its been upended by the cloud. The question is no longer whether you should find a way to offer cloud services. The question now is, what kind of cloud services should you provide?

From some of my recent conversations with telecom agents, Ive concluded that many are caught on the horns of what I call the David-versus-Goliath dilemma: The commoditized simplicity of Goliath cloud services like those from Amazon, Google and Rackspace appeal to many customers, yet precisely because these clouds are commodities, their service arrangements are intractable, their options are minimal and their take-it-or-leave-it rigidity can be tough to adapt to customer idiosyncrasies.

Certainly, Goliath cloud services can be a good choice for straightforward, non-strategic applications. But what should you do when your customers needs are more complex? Perhaps a customer needs help integrating the security of their cloud services with other IT operations. Maybe a customer needs tech support at their location to cobble together a variety of applications and capabilities. Or you may encounter customers in search of levels of end-user support that just arent available from the Goliaths.

In fact, the Goliaths must sacrifice service and support to achieve the scalability that keeps their clouds competitive. If your customers are limited to those who want only these kinds of commodity cloud services, then great youre all set.

But when your customers need more advice about how to use information technologies to build their business, help integrating new and legacy technologies, levels of support that commodity services just do not provide and so on youll need to look past the Goliaths to respond effectively. Youll also need to look past the Goliaths if you want to avoid the classic commodity service death trap of competing on price alone at the expense of your margins.

This is why I see immense opportunity for those who partner with smaller, far more flexible David-like cloud providers who are willing and able to deliver what the Goliaths cannot. A relationship with a David can be especially important given that the Goliaths have precipitated a shift in who can buy (or rent) technology from the IT person to the line of business manager or even the C-suite.

More and more these days, its your customers non-technical people and business leaders not the IT staff who are making the key technology development and acquisition decisions. These people want the ease and simplicity of cloud services but they also want the hands-on, expert help that theyll never get from a Goliath.

Gary Schick is director of sales


, with direct responsibility for partner sales, growth and customer satisfaction. He brings more than 30 years technology sales, management and channel leadership experience to this role. Prior to joining Quest, Schick worked in sales and management positions at Netigy, Amerivox, Epson and Toshiba. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and is a member of

the 2012-13 Channel Partners Advisory Board.

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