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Realizing the Full Potential of the Cloud


Bharath NatarajanBy Bharath Natarajan

Cloud solutions have grown to yield approximately $111 billion annually, and by 2016, Gartner predicts that annual cloud revenue will reach $200 billion. With such exponential growth on the horizon, there is a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on new endeavors and address the growing need for cloud migration solutions. With 2013 coming to a close, now is the perfect time to take a look back at the evolution of cloud solutions to realize how far weve come and what weve learned, as well as understand where were going next.

Since its inception, cloud offerings and solutions have grown in an upward trend. Yet when it comes to providing the means and the knowledge necessary to fully apply cloud solutions, the industry has traditionally held back. The breadth of the cloud continues to grow, but is it growing in depth? I believe weve barely scratched the surface of its full potential and maturity.

By understanding the enormous potential of cloud solutions, and recognizing whats been left on the table, lets take a closer look at how to increase the depth of cloud services and further capitalize on its growth moving forward. First, we need an all-in” moment a collective focus on enablement and education. The right investments need to be made by our industrys innovators to take cloud solutions to the next level, including market saturation. This encompasses a focus on more training and development courses, compensation models and overall enablement.

As the evolution of cloud computing becomes more realized and adopted, cloud models will shift. With this in mind, there is an even greater focus on the development of integrated solutions. 

Assessing the needs of the early adopters of cloud services is also a focus area. What solutions work well with particular business models? How are the different cloud solutions packages measuring up in terms of customer satisfaction? Have cloud business needs shifted? These are all questions we should be asking in order to capitalize on future opportunities for growth in the cloud.

Among the many advantages of cloud computing, its ability to provide infinite elasticity, agility and seamless innovation set it apart from on-premise solutions. Whats more, the seamlessness of the cloud has sparked interest in what will likely become a huge opportunity as cloud services continue to mature: intercloud migration. Dubbed cloud hopping,” intercloud migration will likely be a focal area of growth in the cloud solutions segment.

Aligning business models to best complement the shift in cloud computing solutions is also key. This will have an impact on security, which I anticipate will prompt continued software innovation and increased opportunities. In addition, channel partners will further seek to leverage educational platforms, enablement tools and research, placing a greater importance on strategic partnerships, including the utilization of IT trade associations.

The potential of cloud solutions is significant and multilayered, and its true success depends on all of us through our collective adoption and enablement. The sooner that we as an industry are educated, understand and embrace the value of cloud for the end user, the sooner we can begin to truly capitalize on everything that the cloud has to offer.

As an industry, we vendors, distributors and resellers must come together and commit to investing in the necessary resources or the larger potential of cloud solutions will never be realized.

Bharath Natarajan is director, TDCloud and Software Services at Tech Data. In this role, he is responsible for the strategic direction of Tech Datas cloud business and a portion of specialized software business. TDCloud is focused on the sales execution of cloud and subscription products through IT distribution, channel partner education and enablement, vendor selection and onboarding, and establishing/fostering a profitable cloud business within the channel. Natarajan joined Tech Data in 2006 as manager, TDLeanSigma and was later promoted to global enterprise consultant where he played a key role in the development of the companys StreamOne platform.
He also is a member of the 2013-14 Channel Partners Advisory Board .


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