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Wednesday, Oct 16th

Selling Cloud, How Deep and How Wide?

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Gartner recently stated that by the end of 2015 at least 20% of all cloud services will be consumed via cloud brokerages. This is growth of around 15% in one year, which represents a huge opportunity. With this, many VAR's (Value Added Resellers) and SI's (System Integrators) are looking to broaden their offerings and get in on the cloud action.

The question they are asking themselves is who do they partner with? Do they put all their eggs in one proverbial cloud basket, and choose a single vendor e.g. Microsoft or Google, or do they rather look for a supplier that can offer them a wide range of cloud vendors and solutions?

One thing every SI or VAR in the IT channel will tell you is no two customers are the same. All will require a core set of IT requirements, and then there will always be the additional specialised solutions that some may require and some not e.g. Governance, Risk and Compliance solutions, or CRM. However, when it comes to the core set of requirements, items like email, virtual servers, and security, one customer will demand Brand A, and another Brand B. One will want a Microsoft Hosted Exchange solution and one will want Gmail. It is clear therefore that to go the route of only supplying a single cloud vendor product set, will definitely limit your solution and sales potential.

Today many companies call themselves cloud brokerages and it is necessary to scratch beneath the surface of the service. For example, to be offering a set of 4 cloud services that the company hosts themselves, is not a Cloud Brokerage but rather a Cloud Service Provider or CSP. There is immense value in what these companies do but the offerings will be limited and therefore your business will always be limited by their offerings, actions and decisions around what solutions they have in their datacentre.

In contrast to this, the true Cloud Brokerage model does not essentially host any of the services themselves, but rather distributes best of breed cloud services through a unified sales and provisioning portal. Customers can then consume as many cloud services as they require and have a consolidated bill once a month, as well enjoying the simplification of a single sign on (SSO) environment, giving the organisation back control over the public cloud environment.

IT Resellers who are looking at moving into providing cloud solutions should definitely examine all the options that are available to them from providing a single vendor to having the ability to on sell a range of cloud services. Ultimately, the customers' requirements need to be met, and if you can only provide one solution or one vendor, they will most likely go elsewhere for the other components. Today's IT managers and CIO's are looking to simplify cloud service consumption and reduce the risk of loss of control. The cloud brokerage model allows resellers to provide their customers with exactly this.

So if you want to go deep in your engagement with your customer, my recommendation is to go wide with your range of offerings, both from a vendor and the area of solution perspective.

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