CompTIA: Cloud is Driving Big Business Model Changes for Channel Partners

Cloud computing presents countless opportunities to information technology (IT) channel firms willing to embrace business transformation, while challenging those holding on to fading business models, according to the Fourth Annual Trends in Cloud Computing released today by CompTIA.

Forty-five percent of channel companies in the CompTIA’s survey say determining the appropriate business model around cloud computing presented a significant challenge in the past year. That assertion falls just behind the most difficult challenge cited in the findings: developing cloud expertise across both technical and sales arms within a company, a task that logically flows after the initial business model decision is made.

“Primary business considerations depend on where a company wants to go with cloud,” said Carolyn April, director of industry analysis at CompTIA.

The study identifies four main cloud business models which encapsulate much of what is being done by IT solutions providers today:

Build: Firms procuring vendor-based hardware and software products to construct private and/or hybrid clouds for customers. They may also offer consulting guidance on the best IT architecture, configuration and product choices for the project.

Provide/Provision: This business model for cloud positions the solution provider as the hub for provisioning various vendor-based and homegrown cloud services to the end customer.

Enable/Integrate: This business framework for cloud has been a sweet spot for channel firms over the past several years. Typically they are providing integration and implementation services that may include tying a customer’s on-premises IT solutions to its cloud-based solutions or, customizing cloud-based solutions to fit a particular business need or vertical.

Manage/Support: In this model, firms are delivering the ongoing management and support of cloud-based services as project work or in a contractual, recurring revenue model. They are also adding, scaling or troubleshooting cloud services as needed.

“With demand sometimes exceeding supply, channel firms need to react quickly in choosing the proper model,” the report said. “Two-thirds (63 percent) of channel firms characterize customer demand for cloud-based IT solutions and services as either very high or high, with another three in 10 describing demand as somewhat high. Four in 10 channel firms said they experienced cases where customer demand for cloud solutions outstripped their capacity to deliver, while 20 percent lost a deal because a customer desired a cloud solution they did not offer.”

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