Cloud computing has been massively disruptive for many technology segments, and will continue to cause changes in the channel in 2015. We recently discussed some of the changes observed on the datacenter front, with hyperscale datacenters becoming a major building block for the cloud and causing original design manufacturers (ODMs) to effectively change their business models to sell directly to datacenters.
The cloud has been equally disruptive in the telecom space, particularly with regard to the channel between telecom master agents and IT solutions providers. A panel of experts recently discussed this disruption at an industry trade show in California, as well as outlining some of the ways the cloud is creating opportunities for master agents and IT solution providers.
"Cloud and distribution models that we never dreamed are possible are being sold routinely," one speaker noted. And yet this can create confusion, added Bob Buchanan, vice president of cloud channel at Windstream. He said that all the IaaS, PaaS and SaaS (News - Alert) options available in the market at different prices and with different functionality make it difficult for master agents to find their niche. He advised agents to pick a few good providers that target different segments of the market and focus on different parts of the stack.
"Pick your spot, figure out what's going to work, and then just keep replicating that," advised Lisa Miller, senior vice president of sales at Level 3 Communications (News - Alert). She added that agents and consultants need to demystify the cloud for their clients in an evolving environment.
Gregg Rowe, area vice president at solution provider CenturyLink (News - Alert), pointed out that CIOs are typically under the gun at their organizations, and their tenures have been shortened as a result. Being able to consult with IT and telecom specialists offers a new way to solve problems and improve agility, while also dealing with the cloud. "This whole cloud concept, be it agility in networking, agility in storage or application, is critical to them," Rowe said.
Rowe also offered some good general advice about the cloud as it relates to both master agents and IT solution providers. He pointed out that no solution is perfect, and that some cases require public clouds, others private and still others need some form of hybrid or managed cloud. He said that telecom agents and IT players alike need partners that will help them form a strategy to deal with the ever-changing demands of the cloud.