I am welcoming my business partner, Judith Hurwitz, as a
contributor on my blog. The following is her observations
about the partner ecosystem in the cloud.
I have been spending quite a bit of time these days at Cloud
Computing events. Some of these events, like the Cloud Camps, are wonderful
opportunities for customers, vendors, consulted, and interested
parties to exchange ideas in a very interactive format. If you
haven't been to one I strongly recommend
them. Dave Nielsen,
who is one of the founders of the Cloud Camp concept, has done a
great job not just jump starting these events but participating
in most of them around the world. In addition, Marcia
Kaufman and I have been conducting a number of half and full day
"Introduction to Cloud Computing" seminars in different
What has been the most interesting observation from
my view is that customers are no longer sitting on the side lines
with their arms crossed. Customers are ready and eager to jump
into to this new computing paradigm. Often they are urged
on by business leaders who instinctively see the value in turning
computing into a scalable utility. So, for the first time,
there is a clear sense that there may well be money to be made.
While a lot of the focus lately has been on software developers, it is
interesting to look at the channel as a huge opportunity to bring the
cloud into a broader set of business customers. I recently helped to
run a couple of workshops with Sandy
Carter, vice president of Software Group Channels for IBM. Channel
partners and distributors will be an increasingly important part of the
cloud ecosystem. These companies typically have the organization and
ability to reach into specialized customer markets with solutions.
These workshops are very interesting for a couple of reasons. First,
many distributors and channel partners are looking for guidance and
direction about what the cloud is and what it means for these business. Second, once these partners understand what resources are available to
them they are in an excellent position to become a conduit for change.
The two workshops that IBM aptly named “Cool
Cloud Cash” brought cloud computing into sharp focus for these
partners. These are savvy business leaders. Once they understand how
they can leverage cloud computing software, hardware, and services they
start to see dollar signs.
In a sense, the channel is the most
important avenue to bring cloud computing to the rest of the market—not just the early adopters. IBM has a renewed focus on channel
partners and is focused particularly on expanding its cloud partner
ecosystem. One important aspect is new certifications in cloud
computing. Given the fact that this is an immature market, it is
important that distributors and channel partners are able to demonstrate
to their customers that they have deep knowledge. It is especially
important that platform vendors like IBM work closely with partners
since they are both selling and representing them in the market.