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Analysis

Getting cloudy in the channel
Bob Tarzey By: Bob Tarzey, Service Director, Quocirca
Published: 16th March 2011
Copyright Quocirca © 2011
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The relentless increase in the use of cloud-based services presents both an opportunity and a challenge for resellers of IT products and services. It's an opportunity because they have the chance to help their customers adapt to the new landscape and identify when a cloud-based service is the best option for delivering a particular requirement. The challenge they face, though, is how to create a portfolio of cloud-based offerings—from reseller friendly suppliers—that sits alongside traditional on-premise products, so they can offer their customers a choice.

The problem is identifying such services and doing due diligence on suppliers takes time. Even harder is integrating services together to provide a federated look and feel. Here distributors are starting to take a lead. Quocirca recently spoke at the launch of COMPUTERLINKS's Alvea platform. (The presentation can be viewed here.) 

Alvea is a range of cloud-based security services including on-demand servers and storage, data backup, security and collaboration services. Unified billing and management are built in to the offerings and resellers can white-label the whole thing to appear as their own. Being a well-established distributor, COMPUTERLINKS has chosen to work with channel-friendly suppliers, plugging gaps with its own offerings as appropriate.

Ingram Micro, meanwhile, has assembled a set of cloud services it has branded 'Seismic'—perhaps an indication the earth really is shifting under the channel, or at least the clouds above it! Certain other distributors, for example Avnet, look set to follow the lead of COMPUTERLINKS and Ingram Micro and build cloud service portfolios of their own.

Cloud-based services will continue to grow as a proportion of overall IT spending for the foreseeable future. Resellers and distributors that fail to recognise this and extend their portfolios accordingly will be failing both their customers and themselves.

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