"Where do you see yourself in five years' time?" The question may be a staple for recruitment managers, but is one that may make staff at certain companies wince. Traditional resellers failing to move with the times and get on board with cloud could end up facing "real change" in the next two to five years, according to Born in the Cloud partner Minttulip.
The Amersham-based Microsoft partner was set up in 2011 and employs about 34 staff. The company claims that over the next half decade, it – and similar cloud-only firms – will have developed to such an extent that some of the traditional VARs will not be able to catch up.
Speaking to CRN as part of the Born in the Cloud series, Minttulip's founder Adrian King said one of the benefits of starting up five years ago was that it could focus on cloud from day one.
"If you look back five or six years ago, the advantage we had was we didn't have a business, so we were guessing what would happen," he said. "Yes it was a bold move, but we didn't have a £100m business we had to change. We weren't going to screw anything up. The worst thing that could happen is we weren't successful. We had a perfect opportunity."
Born in the Cloud firms are defined as those that were set up with the sole purpose of selling cloud services. Some, which came from traditional roots but turned their business on its head, describe themselves as being reborn in the cloud.
King said that traditional resellers only just thinking about cloud now may have a rocky road ahead.
"You'll see a real change in the channel over the next two to five years," he said. "There will be a massive change in the way the channel is structured and what they will do. Companies will start to dip their toe into it and try to provide those services. Traditional resellers are trying to change their whole strategy and culture... and that is difficult.
"We will see a lot of consolidation and a lot of people changing their business models. We will see some go out of business because they won't survive – they won't be able to make that transition themselves. We'll see a lot of consolidation.
"Will they become a threat [to Born in the Cloud companies]? Yes, naturally. But the advantage we have is we have no legacy. We're able to be very agile and focused on what we do and we don't have to change our culture. We are changing it as we go along. It will take them a while to get there and I am very confident we will carve out our space very well. I think that's where we will be."
King conceded that although being a pure-play cloud firm means he does not have to worry about the same issues traditional resellers do, he is not immune to the perennial problem of the IT skills gap.
"I think attracting the right talent in the company is always a big challenge," he said. "Because we need people who get this new future model and who understand this type of thing. We're careful about people we select. The classic challenge of people is difficult."
He added that the old-fashioned mind set of traditional resellers can also have an adverse effect on his business.
"The other thing is there are lots of other companies that are confusing the market," he said. "There's a lot of people still trying to hold on to their traditional business models and the cloud is a threat to them. Consequently, we become a threat to them. I think that's important – you've got a lot of companies desperately trying to hang on to old business models and cloud partners and cloud is a threat to them. That's always a challenge for us because you always end up with people who want clients to continue in their old operating models. We're a disruptor to that."
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