Is There a 'Holy Grail' In The Cloud?

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With so many directions to go in when it comes to the cloud, customers can quickly become overwhelmed and misinformed. Cloud leaders in the channel gathered in a panel discussion this week at the Channel Company’s Best of Breed Conference to debate what offerings their customers are asking for, and what they really need.

’Customers are confused. The industry’s doing them a disservice because I don’t think we’re providing clarity. Everyone’s coming, saying, ’We’ve got the holy grail’ of where you need to go right now,’ said moderator Ron Dupler, CEO of GreenPages, based in Kittery, Maine.

Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon said customer expectations around cloud are simple: ’They want it to work,’ he said.

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’Particularly in our markets, I think one of the challenges of industry is an awful lot of mediocrity,’ head of the Westborough, Mass.-based company said.

Meanwhile,Jamie Begin, CEO of RightBrain Networks, of Ann Arbor, Mich., agreed that speed was key to his customers.

’A lot of my customers are probably spending 99-plus percent of their budgets making sure what happened yesterday happens today. There’s just no opportunity for them to move beyond that. Moving to the cloud gives them flexibility. You can fail fast, you can fail inexpensively, and they’re just looking to move faster,’ he explained.

Sean McCarron, a vice president with Smartronix, based in Hollywood, Md., said he has found the best way to make customers successful in the cloud is to target exactly what they’re looking to get out of it – whether it’s cutting costs or becoming more agile.

’At the end of the day, cloud, it’s infrastructure. I mean, it changes the way you treat your infrastructure,’ he said.

’It’s [about] how you want to leverage that infrastructure that’s globally available and infinitely scalable,’ McCarron added.