A Cloud Storm Ahead


The growing gap between the haves and have-nots


There is a twister that is about to wreak havoc on the channel landscape, and it’s going to hit those solution providers that are coming up short in terms of making investments to sell cloud computing services. Make no mistake about it. There are far too many legacy solution providers moving too slowly to make the treacherous transition to the cloud computing services model. One reason for the growing gap between the cloud computing solution provider haves and have-nots is the heavy investment in both technology and thought leadership that is necessary to cross the cloud computing chasm. It’s one of the reasons, by the way, that we here at UBM Channel, with prodding from solution providers, put together the BoB (Best of Breed) conference, which is celebrating its second anniversary Oct. 15-17 at the Grand Hyatt in Tampa, Fla.

Remember, the cloud represents the first time in the history of the channel that solution providers have been forced to implement simultaneously both a major structural change to their business model, while making a massive shift to a completely new technology paradigm. Bottom line: The transitions in the channel up until now -- like PC to local area -- were cakewalks compared to the current cloud computing services shift.

Those that want a lesson in what it takes to pass muster in the cloud computing era would be wise to look at the investments being made by 2012 SP 500 IT Solution Provider of the Year GreenPages Technology Solutions. GreenPages began making the cloud shift in 2008 when many IT executives were looking at cloud computing as a fad. Each year, GreenPages has upped the ante with bigger and bigger cloud investments. This year, GreenPages used its conference to demonstrate its own groundbreaking Cloud Management as a Service (CMaaS) offering, which provides a single pane of glass to manage public, private and hybrid enterprise cloud environments. GreenPages is also making big application development bets with a focus on application modernization, big data and business intelligence.

“Solution providers in the future have to be integrating business services, not physical technologies anymore,” says GreenPages CEO Ron Dupler. “That is what we have to become. That is why apps and [cloud] management become important. In a cloud world, companies like GreenPages need to be about business process, integrating business service platforms.”

Dupler, who will be hosting a best practices cloud integrator forum at the BoB conference, says the cloud computing bet is paying off for GreenPages, with sales up 22 percent this year. He sees “infinite demand” for companies like GreenPages that have invested in the technical talent to make cloud computing a reality for customers.

At the same time GreenPages is prospering, there is a growing number of solution providers that are hitting a wall. Those cloud computing have-nots are doomed to die a slow death unless they start making some big investments to compete in the cloud computing services era.

BACKTALK: Are you Best of Breed (BoB) or part of a dying breed? Contact Steve Burke at steve.burke@ubm.com