Cisco: Enterprise Cloud Deployments Fail Without Channel Partner Involvement

Customers need a solution provider to guide them through the coming digital transformation or risk a flameout of their cloud deployments, said Cisco's Peder Ulander on Sunday at the XChange 2015 conference.

"Customers are looking to you to help them get through this digital transformation, and that's ultimately where the [channel opportunity] is," said Ulander, vice president of Cisco's Cloud and Managed Services Partner Organization, during a keynote address at the conference, hosted by CRN publisher The Channel Company.

Ulander cited recent research from Gartner showing 95 percent of enterprise cloud deployments fail. There are several reasons for those failures that tie back to the fact that the businesses did not utilize a solution provider to marshal their march to the cloud, he said.

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"They had to do everything themselves: They had to learn it on their own, they had to engage with that [cloud] provider on their own and they were blindly going down a technology path based on hype, versus [doing] what they should do, because they didn't have a partner bringing them down that path," Ulander said.

Another reason for the failures is that the businesses by themselves did not have the operational know-how and skill sets to successfully deploy cloud, Ulander said.

[Related: Cisco Launching Application Bundles For Intercloud, Recruiting New Partners]

San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco is enabling its partners to offer the professional services successful cloud deployments require, Ulander said, referencing the cloud professional services portfolio Cisco launched in April at its partner conference.

"The good news from a Cisco perspective is that we've got a lot of successful private clouds under our belts. In the last three months, we've taken all of that know-how and packaged it up into seven services programs that we deliver exclusively through the channel, so that you can engage with your customers with all of the data and information that helps your customer on that journey to becoming a successful cloud deployment," he said.

Several solution providers in the audience said their role as educators is front and center in their daily efforts to sell cloud solutions.

"As much as we as solution providers talk about cloud all the time, there's still an education level at the customer that's not there," said Dave Casey, regional vice president at Peak Uptime, a solution provider based in Tulsa, Okla., that services mid-market and enterprise customers. "We are still educating [customers about cloud] daily at various levels of the organization, and typically the higher you go in the organization, the more confused they are about cloud."

Even small businesses are seeking guidance from the channel on the best path to the cloud, said David Grinder, founder and solution architect at Y3K IT Services, a small business-focused solution provider in Yuma, Ariz., who said that 100 percent of his customers are utilizing cloud computing in some form.

"They [ask us to] explain the mystery, how does it fit them, can they use it and take advantage? And then the pros and cons: cost, security, save money," Grinder said.

As far as Cisco is concerned, cloud computing and the digital transformation of businesses is an opportunity that can only be seized by working with the channel, Ulander said.

"We're gearing up to seize that opportunity, and we believe we can do that with every single one of you," Ulander said.