A lack of vendor support prevents channel from fulfilling cloud ambitions, finds new CIF research

  • Research from CIF and Intermedia reveals that while 99 per cent of the channel recognise the potential benefits of cloud, only 65 per cent are offering cloud services today
  • Eight in 10 resellers identify skills shortages, the change in company culture required, and cloud marketing as the top barriers to selling cloud services

Vendors must do more to help the UK IT channel overcome the barriers to selling cloud-based services if resellers are to fully capitalise on this opportunity and satisfy end-user demand. This is the key finding from a major research project revealed today by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and Intermedia.

The research, conducted by Vanson Bourne in Q2 2016 on behalf of CIF and Intermedia, polled 150 senior decision-makers from IT channel organisations (MSPs, technical VARs and Systems Integrators) regarding their attitudes and confidence in reselling cloud services. Despite 99 per cent of respondents recognising the potential benefits of cloud, only 65 per cent are offering cloud-based services today.

A significant departure from more traditional IT models, the vast majority of channel organisations selling cloud services today have had to overcome significant barriers in doing so. The survey identified three common roadblocks:

  • 82 per cent view cultural changes within the organisation to be a challenge,
  • 81 per cent have experienced staff skills shortages, and
  • 80 per cent have come up against difficulties surrounding their cloud marketing and positioning.

Commenting on the findings, Alex Hilton, CEO of the Cloud Industry Forum, said: “The channel is clearly struggling when it comes to cloud deployments and is missing out on major opportunities as a result. We have seen end-user adoption of cloud-based services rocket in recent years, with 78 per cent of end user organisations using at least one cloud-based service today, up from 61 per cent in 2012, but the channel hasn’t been able to keep up with demand. Resellers that do sell cloud services are reporting a wide range of benefits, from improved competitive edge to extended revenues and market reach. This puts channel resellers that haven’t yet made the move at a distinct disadvantage.

The research indicates that vendor support must increase for the channel to overcome cloud business model challenges. Over a quarter (26 per cent) of respondents felt that vendors were not doing enough to help them transition to the cloud model, 47 per cent would like more guidance on contracts/SLAs, and 44 per cent need additional technical support.

Eric Weiss, SVP of Marketing at Intermedia, added: “While the channel has recognised cloud’s potential, resellers, as made evident by these findings, aren’t getting the support they need to transition. At Intermedia, we’ve really focused on addressing these potential roadblocks, helping our partners through every stage of the customer lifecycle on a partner-by-partner basis. Beyond tailored levels of support and technical expertise, partners need help differentiating, which is why 82 per cent of respondents incorporate value-adds and 59 per cent view white label programmes as ‘critical’ or ‘very important’ to their success. This is why Intermedia has put such an emphasis on its Private Label Resale programme – so partners can create solutions customised to their customers’ needs while owning the relationship, pricing and branding.”

The full research is available as a White Paper (18) for CIF Professional Members and can be downloaded from: https://www.cloudindustryforum.org/content/cloud-and-channel-threat-or-opportunity

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