Cloud Channels Coming Into Focus

Posted on September 23rd, by thinkstrategies in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Cloud Channels Coming Into Focus

The topic of building effective channel alliances in the Cloud continues to gain greater attention. This past week, I spoke at two events and attended a third in the Boston area in which Cloud channel strategies and solutions were a central theme.

The first event was a local gathering called, “Mondays in the Cloud”, organized by Sonian and hosted at the UMass-Boston Venture Development Center. The session was kicked off by Greg Arnette, Sonian’s Founder and CTO, who provided his perspective on the state of the Cloud marketplace. I followed Greg with a talk about the Cloud industry trends driving the demand for a stronger channel network to build on the initial success of Cloud services. My talk was followed by Erik Sebesta of cloudTP who talked about how Cloud integration services companies like his are becoming an important channel to market for Cloud vendors seeking to sell private Cloud solutions into enterprises. Brian Matsubara of Amazon Web Services (AWS) concluded the event with a description of AWS’s channel strategies, programs and success stories.

The next day, I presented and moderated a panel about the state of the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Cloud marketplace, and how established independent software vendors (ISVs) can capitalize on these trends at Progress Software’s “Revolution” customer and partner conference. The overall event attracted over 1,000 attendees, an illustration of Progress Software’s worldwide user and partner base. My breakout session, “Winning the Revolution at the Next Frontier—In the Cloud”, was followed by a panel discussion which I facilitated consisting of Grant Christensen, General Manager-Operations at Supercorp Technology Pty Ltd. based in Australia; Sten Petersson, CEO of Exicom based in Scandinavia; and Tim Diassi, Executive Vice President and General Manager, UnicornHR based in New Jersey. The companies not only operated in different continents, but also delivered very different solutions. Supercorp Technology supplies data services to insurance and financial service companies. Exicom offers an enterprise project management solution. And, UnicornHR provides SaaS-based payroll services. All three companies are experencing growing demand for their Cloud-based solutions and benefiting from their channel relationships with Progress Software.

Yesterday, I attended the ASCII Group’s Success Summit in the Boston area. While it wasn’t promoted as a Cloud event, nearly every speaker addressed the opportunities and challenges associated with the Cloud from a channel perspective. The event attracted over 100 local IT service companies and value-added resellers (VARs), as well as a couple dozen sponsors. It was an impressive gathering with a number of good speakers offering practical advice for channel companies moving to the Cloud.

All the talk about Cloud channel strategies and success stories reinforced the timeliness of the Cloud Channel Summit. You can hear more of my views regarding the forces bringing Cloud channels into focus in the podcast I recorded with Brett Martin and Mike Vizard of Channel Tech Network in Episode 52 of their Channel Happy Hour series.

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