Archive for May, 2010

IBM Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is: Major Investments In Simplicity

Global PartnerWorld Program Streamlined and Multiple Partner Transactional Models Recognized

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

The big theme around the halls of Big Blue these days? Extreme Simplification. Yes, the computing behemouth has been focused heavily these past 3-5 years on really being easier to do business with. Really. No small feat for a company with five huge independent business units (hardware, software, services, developer relations and mid-market) and which posts more than $12 billion dollars in net income for an average quarter (yes, quarter, not year).

In today’s announcements, the global partner team has taken an important next step in simplifying and streamlining the way their global PartnerWorld program recognizes partner value and offers up benefits. There are now four consistent criteria for PartnerWorld advancement, authorization and access to benefits – globally. Across all partner segments. In all geos (with minor modifications). For every product category. Think about that. Write it down. It’s a big deal.



May 19, 2010 at 8:53 am Leave a comment

The Five Business Models of Cloud Providers

From affiliates to developers, there’s a place for many partner types in cloud computing

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

In the channel ecosystem of Cloud Computing, we see five distinct partnering roles emerging that are critical to the effective deployment of public or private cloud technologies. Interestingly enough, these roles all exist in non-cloud technology deployment, and have more in common with the models used today to support premise-based, client/server solutions than differences. This supports our assertion that basic partner reach, pre-sales skills and post-sale integration will be as (if not more) important than ever as the industry moves to services-based technology models. (more…)

May 18, 2010 at 7:39 pm 3 comments

How are Solution Providers Making Money in the Cloud?

There’s plenty of value for solution providers to provide around the cloud

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

Solution providers of all business models including managed service providers, ISVs, systems integrators and even traditional resellers, are all eager to capitalize on the revolution of cloud-based solutions. Here are some of the most common ways solution providers are making money around cloud services today.

Agent/Affiliate influence –  companies with vertical industry or unique business process insights are more valuable now than ever.  With the complexity of the application or infrastructure deployment out of the way, these business specialists will be more highly sought after than ever.  And, many traditional (on-premise) IT vendors and cloud vendors alike have affiliate or influencer programs with attractive fees for referrals.
Reselling –  this is the function acting as the hotbed of debate.  But, yes, many cloud vendors still allow partners to front-end the customer relationship and in some cases even do the billing automation.  Most agree channel partners performing this function alone won’t survive.  But, the vendors still need customer reach, relationships and cloud evangelism.
Virtualized/On-Demand Infrastructure –  those early adopters of the MSP business model are dancing in the streets right now.  As VMware, Microsoft and others push companies to virtualize their basic IT infrastructure on their “journey to the cloud,” those organizations with robust data centers and 100% virtualized infrastructure available on a capacity-basis are well poised for growth.   Some MSPs are building it themselves and some are actively recruiting resellers or agents.
On/Off Premise Architectures –  what stays, what gets outsourced to the cloud and how to glue it all together for optimal service levels are decisions that many IT shops don’t want to make by themselves.  Solution providers who are SaaS and managed service-aware but are still conscious of the need for control and security of mission critical on-premise computing, will be the darlings of CIOs.  This architectural planning will take both tech and business savvy, but smart integrators will jump on the opportunity to help companies plan for their migration.
Application customization – just because and Google are robust applications and available to everyone online doesn’t mean their workflows are going to meet the needs of every business.  Many of the leading cloud integrators we talk to are making a sizeable percentage of their revenues from light to heavy customization of these applications –  some over 50% of their revenues.  Their understanding of their clients’ business processes makes them the perfect translator of business needs to application interface and flow.  This brings together SI and ISV skill-sets, and represents an emerging cloud solution provider business model.
Post-sale integration – this is arguably the largest revenue opportunity for any solution provider dipping their toe in the cloud computing.  Integrating front-office or mobility SaaS applications to legacy ERP systems.  Anticipating SaaS email and collaboration tool usage by mobile users and integrating that with the size/capacity of server and storage farms.  Integrating Google or apps into other financial forecasting systems and customer databases.  Yikes!  This is where CIOs will delay cloud deployment, if what’s on premise and what’s in the cloud aren’t fluidly integrated.   Tech savvy infrastructure resellers and SIs will be the agents for change and migration here.

Excerpted from Amazon Consulting’s Thought Leadership Brief, The Ecosystem of the Cloud: A Primer on Solution Provider Business Models and Roles in the Customer Management Lifecycle

May 12, 2010 at 8:25 pm Leave a comment

Cisco Partner Summit – Day 3

May 12, 2010 at 8:21 am Leave a comment

Making “Partnering” a Bit Easier

Bill Marcus – Director, Client Services
Amazon Consulting

How one major vendor is taking the “3 C’s” (Chaos, Confusion, Complexity) out of partnering.

Also: The Cost of Complexity – Executive Brief

May 12, 2010 at 1:03 am 2 comments

Cisco Partner Summit – Day 2

May 6, 2010 at 11:24 pm Leave a comment

First Things First – Cloud Vendor as Friend or Foe?

By Beth Vanni

Emerging channel engagement models in cloud services delivery

There I sat at the recent Baptie Channel Focus conference listening to channel executives from Microsoft and NetApp talk about their vision for c loud services.  Now, I’ve sat at this conference for some eight years running, and in that moment I had a vivid flashback to the movie “Ground hog Day.”

In the movie, the lead character is trapped in a time warp where he wakes up every morning to the same set of limiting circumstances, and he gets to do a “do-over” of how he handles the day’s events and relationships.  Great movie if you’ve never seen it.   The déjà vu moment for me was about the basic relationship between IT vendors and their channel partners. Despite how far IT technology has come in the last decade and how much of a revolution cloud computi ng promises to offer us all, it seems like basic vendor/partner relationship dynamics are caught in a time warp.


May 5, 2010 at 11:15 pm Leave a comment

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