As trusted advisers, VARs should be able to guide their customers as to where cloud fits as an option, and which solutions can be best deployed via cloud.
Resellers should embrace the platform, while ensuring they understand the implications of cloud for customers and themselves. VARs must learn how and when to propose cloud computing as an appropriate option – after all, there is not one correct solution for everyone in every situation.
There are many areas where resellers can add value, such as by simplifying and explaining the pros and cons of various cloud-related terms, such as software as a service, platform as a service or public versus private clouds.
As the market matures, customers will become more knowledgeable about what can be achieved with cloud. However, VARs will still need to present the risks of working with certain cloud providers.
• Is the cloud offering simply a hosted version of a particular product, or does it offer true multi-tenancy? Will the offering be limited by its historical product-based architecture?
• What is the financial situation of the vendor? Is it a profitable business and how is it funded? Will it be acquired by a larger vendor and disappear within the next year or so?
• Who are the competitors? Does the vendor sell direct to the customers, competing with its channel?
In addition, resellers will need to answer a range of new questions if they want to align cloud offerings to their customers in a fair and unbiased way. Many offer multi-year contracts, often with annualised billing. How will the reseller remunerate its own salesforce on these contracts – upfront or annually?
What happens when the cloud vendors offer quarterly or even monthly billing – will the salesperson be compensated in a manner that allows them to advise customers in an unbiased way?
Things might get even more complicated as we get closer to true utility computing, and when monthly use patterns do not match the standard monthly rate charged for the cloud service.
Many things must be considered today, for better business strategies years ahead.
Ian Moyse is EMEA channel director at Webroot
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