Security, as well as unenforceable or undefinable end-to-end SLAs, are still barriers to the adoption of cloud services. In my view, however, the biggest roadblock is a perception within the channel that cloud represents a return to the 1970s IBM single-vendor offering model.
This is simply not true. The cloud does not herald the return of vendor lock-in. Technology has moved on and developed far too much for anyone to see any benefit to this model. Current trends such as bring-your-own-device (BYOD) ensure that input from more than one provider is invaluable.
Why would a customer who has been buying happily from a reseller that understands its industry sector or geographic location, suddenly swap that relationship for one with a single vendor that may know the technology inside out - but not how it applies to the customer’s business or experience? It makes no sense.
What customers need is a trusted partner who knows them, understands their concerns and is able to advise on how the cloud could work for them. They need customised offerings that fit within existing infrastructures or their business processes.
Customers also need partners who can see the bigger picture - not someone who merely sells a solution for immediate benefits. They need a partner who can advise on infrastructure needs surrounding cloud.
Many will need cloud connectivity for remote offices, while others will still require an application strategy. Upgrades, support and maintenance must continue to be managed.
This is where the channel comes into its own. The value of the channel lies in the value it is able to add. But it will take a different mindset: some in the channel view cloud technology as either too expensive or simply not suitable for them to offer. Many wrongly believe they need a cloud product of their own to sell.
In fact, all that is needed is a slight realignment in strategy. In essence, cloud is just an IT infrastructure model with opportunities to wrap additional services around it.
Richard Archer is sales director at Redstone
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