Cover Story: Rise Of The Cloud Provider


Helping Partners Step Up To The Cloud

Many solution providers are struggling with how to move from the Vintage solution provider model, making their living selling on-premise hardware, software and services and integrating them into solutions. One troubling statistic from the Everything Channel study shows that nearly 33 percent of solution providers "do not see" the cloud services opportunity. The key to whether those partners are successful in making the transition to the cloud may well rest on whether they step up and make cloud investments or partner with other companies to get to the cloud.

Everything Channel research shows that 46 percent of solution providers are expanding their technology offerings by partnering with other companies. That's where a company like IndependenceIT, an Allentown, Pa., solution provider, comes into the picture. The company hopes to attract service providers that otherwise don't have the cash or the infrastructure to go it alone trying to offer cloud solutions to customers.

IndependenceIT, in fact, has been so successful transforming its business to a cloud model that it's now looking to get out of the VAR business and resell its cloud solutions through other solution providers.

Thus far, IndependenceIT has attracted about 15 to 20 channel partners but hopes to ramp up that number quickly, said Seth Bostock, director of business development for IndependenceIT.

"We've launched a channel program to sell prepackaged solutions to help MSPs get out of the gate. We're getting out of getting direct customers,' he said. "Our goal is to transition out of being a direct service provider to strictly serving the channel. We've already started giving our direct sales force [leads] to MSP partners we have today.'

IndependenceIT was born as a traditional MSP in 1999 with the mission of delivering services and application upgrades. By 2000, replicating an on-site environment into a co-located data center was its primary offering and, by 2004, its only one.

The really big play for IndependenceIT�and all cloud solution providers�is integrating disparate cloud applications into a seamless dashboard, said Bostock.

"A customer might have Salesforce.com or Dynamix or QuickBooks, but they're not integrated together. You also have the cost for having two cloud delivery systems with more sophisticated apps,' he said. "Our outlook is a continued rapid migration to cloud services. Today we see the market a little more fragmented. The big thing we see is a mass migration in the next three to five years of knowledge workers.

"We are able to go in and for less than most managed service contracts offer an entire cloud IT solution and immediately end cap/ex and lower the cost they were paying,' Bostock said. "A lot of companies are four to six years in and at the point where they need to raise money. They have some seats out there but they can't buy the equipment to expand. There is a challenge to get off the ground.'

 

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