Major distributors nailing their cloud colours to the mast are a timely development as cloud becomes an increasingly confusing sector, according to Carl West, supply chain director at GfK.
The comment follows an announcement from Tech Data that it is set to launch its first real foray into the cloud later this month under its new Business Transformation Programme, which will provide tools and resources to help resellers launch into the cloud space.
"We are seeing cloud grow across the UK and Europe, but unfortunately we're also seeing a lot of confusion – an increase in the number of brands and vendors that are offering cloud solutions – so it's becoming a bit more of a fragmented space," West told CRN.
"When you're looking at the likes of Tech Data, Ingram etc now offering cloud solutions to their customer base, it makes those organisations who are confused [about cloud] more engaged and helps them start to move towards cloud services, whereas traditionally they will have been more hardware based."
Although a transition period is inevitable when introducing cloud, West added that the benefits will be clear to see.
"Anybody who thought cloud would save money clearly didn't understand cloud correctly and anybody who thought cloud would be an easy sale would again be underestimating what's involved," he said.
"There is going to be an element of concern that it is going to make things more complex when you're looking at associated products, but actually these things will become second nature.
"It isn't straightforward, but when done well it adds a lot of efficiency and benefit to the end user."
Speaking to CRN about Tech Data's new cloud strategy set to launch on 14 June, David Newbould, director of cloud business, Europe, said that any resellers not already embracing the cloud cannot afford to ignore it any longer.
"It's clear that not only is cloud here now, it is growing and accelerating," he said. "I often tell partners that if your end customer is not talking to you about cloud today, who are they talking to? That's because if you refer to various analysts' reports, every single one will say that end users are using cloud.
"Resellers really need to already be transforming. If they are not, then this year they need to start thinking that way. [The cloud] is a market force – it's not a product that has come along that presents a short-term opportunity, it is a fundamental shift in how technology is consumed so it affects all areas of business and we need to embrace it."
Newbould added that cloud will also have a huge effect on other areas in the channel.
"It is an exciting time because we're seeing more and more that cloud influences a lot of areas.
"It presents a really interesting opportunity, not just for us in cloud, but also for our colleagues in mobility division, security, and so on because with big changes comes a number of disruptions, but also exciting growth."
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