Dupler said he has seen firsthand just what kind of impact Maritz had at VMware after he took the helm in 2008. "At that point, virtualization had become a really important strategic technology but it was very much about server consolidation, what I would call tactical infrastructure management imperatives reducing costs, improving IT efficiency and driving server consolidation," he said. "Paul provided incredible thought leadership on the power and potential of virtualization to power IT and drive a hybrid cloud architecture and what that means to businesses. He's a very creative strategic thinker who I am sure will do a great job at Pivotal."
The key to success for solution providers is to continue to invest heavily in top technologists. Dupler has often said that GreenPages' true product is its technical talent-from presales to delivery. That talent now makes up about 50 percent of the company's employee population, compared with only 20 percent four years ago. The trend toward a higher percentage of channel talent focused on consulting and professional services will continue in the big data era, said Dupler.
"We see ourselves becoming a pure-play cloud services company," he said. "We have actually structured the organization to drive in that direction behind LogicsOne [a cloud computing consulting organization GreenPages acquired in 2012]. We understand how to run a successful professional services and consulting organization. We have those business processes down. For us, making the move into big data is an investment in new talent. For anybody going to enter this market they have to realize they are going to have to invest in some really critical talent. Technology is one component, but integrating and using technology properly with an expertise to achieve business goals is the key. That takes smart people."
The challenge for solution providers is going to be investing in the big data opportunity even as they are still making the cloud computing shift. Those still heavily focused on infrastructure plays with traditional IT vendors could have a hard time. Said one CEO for a large national solution provider, who did not want to be identified for fear of ranking his solution provider colleagues: "This is too complex for a lot of companies in this space today unless they really specialize and rally around the opportunity. This is another layer of complexity. You are going to see a new channel arise, and not everyone is going to make it."
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