Channel Chief Roundtable: Cloud And Managed Services Demand A New Partner Approach


CRN: We are at a point in the market now where we're actually seeing solution providers that were born in the cloud that have come along.  Is that partner more attractive to you because they're the future? Or are they less attractive to you because they may not be interested in some of the legacy products?

Duncan: I think it's a mix. We need both right now. One thing is not going to shut off what the other starts. And so I think finding that balance between those two kinds of partners is really important for the vendor to prosper. And for the entire ecosystem of the partners to prosper because right now they need the skills that the others have because the clients are looking for a mix of both of those things. 

Chavez: I think also for those partners that are born in the cloud, from an overall ecosystem perspective if you include them as part of your ecosystem, and you actually have that as an offer for your channel, that they can now offer those [cloud] services to their clients -- which I think we're seeing a lot more of that as far as these brokerage services -- then I think you can build that ecosystem. Certainly, I think it's a mix. I completely agree with that. But I think you can bring those partners into your ecosystem and then point your channel to actually sell those [cloud] services. You can actually build an ecosystem that is going to be productive for not only that particular partner, but your channel partners that are trying to evolve into the new style of IT and hybrid IT. 

Peres: One of the things that we've been working on with our partners for years is to grow their service capabilities. And they've been doing that, which is great. We think that's going to be the foundation for where this new future is going. 

Where there's mystery, there's margin. If you think about a lot of what we're talking about, the majority of the opportunity in the foreseeable future is still going to be in the private cloud space, not in the public cloud space. So for customers trying to rationalize the type of workloads that they want to put in the private environment vs. in the public environment, how do you make sure that the infrastructure allows the movement of those workloads in a seamless way? That's going to be where the partners are going to make a lot of the money, which is going to be professional-services-based.

So I think that the professional services capability they've been growing for the last number of years is going to set them up for being able to be able to bring a lot of value in the future, which is their IP and their value, and I think that's is going to make them even more relevant going forward. That's in the cloud world.

NEXT: Are Partners Moving Too Slowly With Professional Services Moves?