Cloud Service Pitches: Frequently All Talk, No PO

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As is the case for most vendors, HP's channel enablement efforts in the cloud are aimed at gathering support among third parties that can help validate their messages to end users.

"Most channel partners are fairly vendor neutral," HP's Baigent said. "If we succeed in educating them, we will help them not only develop their business, they can re-tell our story and bring forth third-party credibility."

Bell Canada is another company that works with channel partners to sell cloud services. According to Sales Director Benji Germain, Bell Canada's marketing strategy also includes a great deal of customer outreach aimed at helping prospects become comfortable with the idea of leveraging the cloud.

"Customers are frequently confused about how to start the transition," he said. "So we do workshops and cloud readiness assessments and help them build a plan around are prioritized needs. Many times, we find ourselves in situations where we're doing a lot of talking and the customer is not taking any action. Usually this is because of some sort of internal disagreements on whether to adopt cloud or the extent to which they should adopt cloud. So, we try to break down those barriers as much as possible, but it is an ongoing challenge."

These challenges are not limited to the U.S. and Canada. A variety of other regions, including South America, are noting similar experiences.

We are pioneering a cloud service in Colombia, but [the uptake] is slow," said Francisco Galvis, president of Compufacil, S.A., a Colombia-based channel partner. "Customers want to talk about it, but it can take a long time to get the decision. We typically need to get approval from a lot of different people within the organizations, some of whom may not be particularly interested in moving towards the cloud."

Although the IT world may become increasingly cloud-oriented in the future, the channel, as well as the variety of vendors and other industry players pursuing cloud strategies, have a lot of evangelizing to do in order to reduce sales cycles and strengthen customer acceptance.

"Moving to cloud requires a change in mindset," summarized Chien from Dasher Technologies. "Right now, a lot of people want to talk about it and some of them have budget for it, but most of them are very unsure of what they want to do. We are seeing a lot of tire kicking right now."


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