The Cloud Benefits Us All But Still Confuses Many

Are the channel's concerns about the cloud legitimate? Perhaps, but they can be overcome with education and a willingness to embrace cloud technologies, says Erik Walczak, Ingram's cloud technical specialist.

In speaking with many 20+ year veterans of the IT industry, without question the consensus opinion is that cloud computing is the biggest game changer anyone has seen for some time.

Equally undeniable is that the cloud is ambiguous. It takes on many forms, has many versions and many functions, making it not only the most concerning topic today, but also the most hyped.

While the cloud stirs up some fear, uncertainty and doubt in the channel, the opportunities far outweigh the risks. For a solution provider, the cloud is one of those deals where you’ll end up risking more by ignoring it or not acting on the opportunity as it comes your way than if you check it out.

Are concerns over the channel’s relevance with the cloud model legitimate? Perhaps, but they can be overcome with education and a willingness on the channel’s part to embrace cloud technologies. After all, at the end of the day, your mission as a solution provider is to leverage technology to bring your customers the best answers you can to solve their problems.

Solutions to address your customers’ problems ultimately cover hot spots such as security, growth, overall business needs and objectives, all of which are better served by the cloud than any other traditional solution models out there.

Be prepared for the cloud challenge

To get there you must not only be willing and educated but also prepared.

For many channel partners, transitioning to the cloud is going to take a reset in how you approach the model, a new mindset, if you will.

Perhaps you might think of it as a lesson in “survival of the fittest.” To “survive” in today’s difficult economic climate, you have to evolve and adapt to new landscapes. Being “fit” enough means dedicating time and energy to evolving, taking risks, analyzing situations and possible outcomes.

Ultimately, you must choose your battles wisely, strike the right partnerships, learn quickly who are your allies and who are your enemies and figure out what is to be gained and what’s to be lost.

Fortunately, as you move to embrace the cloud, you don’t have to go it alone, there are experts about to provide guidance and partners like Ingram Micro who can offer you tremendous support.

In analyzing the cloud landscape, I’ve noted an abundance of symbiotic relationships, that is, ones that are mutually beneficial to everyone involved.

For example, cloud vendors seem eager to cultivate the newly developing ecosystem together. For the most part, this is far opposite my experience with major hardware vendors who, as a group, rarely have endorsed partnering with each other.

Cloud vendors work together

Among cloud vendors, however, it’s almost as if we are in the technology version of the Renaissance period, in an age of learning new things based on the foundations of the past. I suspect that’s why Ingram Micro’s Cloud Conduit Council has been so well received.

Indeed, almost every cloud vendor I speak with has a story of another vendor they’re tied into or they’ve opened their API for other vendors to tie into them.

Another, and just as interesting, symbiosis occurring in the cloud marketplace involves vendors morphing into channel-friendly players. Even though the channel largely is new to them, they see its value.

Why is that?

Perhaps a look back at history will explain. For those that may not know, Galileo Galilei was an Italian astronomer, physicist and mathematician, who observed that the earth was not the center of the universe. At the time, the church pronounced his modern beliefs as heresy.

As a result, he was forced to find another “channel” to deliver his “solution.”

Consider, for a moment, in this example, that today’s cloud vendors are Galileo looking for an audience for their solution.

We can either turn them away and define them as heretics or open our minds to their ideas. If we don’t take them seriously, they’ll find support elsewhere because their ideas are too convincing not to. They will find, or build, another channel of support and leave us behind.

Alternately, we can embrace them, support them, evangelize for them and become part of their ecosystem.

I’m not saying that the cloud is a white fluffy ball of goodness and joy with no rain. Far from it.

But I do think that those solution providers who learn their cloud lessons early – much like we saw with managed services – and aren’t scared away and embrace the concept of evolution and new partners, will form a lasting relationship with the cloud that will only benefit them in the short and long run. What’s your plan?

Erik Walczak is a Cloud Computing Technical Advisor for Ingram Micro. He is dedicated to helping VARs and MSPs understand and address the business needs of their clients and architect the right cloud computing solutions.

TAGS: cloud computing,partner,channel,Ingram Micro

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