If you are like me, and have been around for a while, the next mention of anything to do with “Cloud” will either have you shaking your head and thinking “here we go again,” trying politely to stifle a yawn, or – like Wordsworth – wandering lonely as a cloud in the eternal debate on where this is leading us. So much has been written, so much hot air expelled, that it’s difficult to get beyond the hype generated by pundits, soothsayers and venerable Industry Analysts as they attempt to chart and predict the future of what everyone is sure is the IT world’s The Next Big Thing.
The enterprise Cloud businesses are already clearly marked out, we know where that is today and where its going. But as far as a broader adoption goes, and leaving aside any consumer debate, it’s SMBs and the Channel that serves them that will determine how big the Cloud business gets. Today, it’s still somewhat diffuse as IT distributors attempt to cash in, with several across Europe launching efforts to set up Cloud divisions, but these are early days and the results a while off yet.
But there is one indicator of where resellers, SMB and Cloud are heading, and that is to look closely at what real people are doing. At a recent European IT Channel trade event, my eye was caught by what I can only describe as a scrum milling around a leading software distributor’s stand. In fact, it was the busiest part of the trade show floor. I walked over, fully expecting to cash in on whatever freebie was on offer. The distributor was offering were pre-packaged Cloud solutions specifically designed for resellers to offer their SMB customers. The offer was clear, pricing was attractive, and it hit the right spot with resellers anxious to capitalise on their customers’ growing acceptance of Cloud in their businesses. There were twelve neatly packaged solutions, ranging from back-up (of course), storage, security, video conferencing and virtual office. Each application was clearly explained, along with a list of the suppliers who made up the components of the whole offer. On the distributor’s web site, there are videos explaining the service.
And that’s what was attracting the resellers in droves. It was clear, it related directly to business solutions they’re dealing with already, and all the work had been done to integrate the different services into the solution.
Are resellers prepared? Of course they are. It’s up to their Distributors to create the right packages.