One of my favorite parts of attending Cloud Summit is hearing from Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst, Tiffani Bova. This year she gave attendees a look at the future via a video presentation that included a simulated plaza in the year 2020, which highlighted the evolution of the “Internet of Everything.” In this not-too-distant-future cars automatically drive to lower-priced parking spaces and business offices automatically lock themselves up at night, change employees’ network access permissions, and adjust heating/air conditioning temperatures.
So what does this future world have to do with VARs and MSPs in the year 2014? It’s about moving your business up the value curve now by migrating away from the old paradigm of selling point products and thinking about providing the type of customer experience that’s akin to what Starbucks provides to its customers.
Bova also shared a warning against the typical VAR’s approach to sales, which entails following up with a new lead and spewing a lot of information about how great your company is and why your company is great to work with. “In many cases your prospects have already done their homework on you and they know exactly what they want. Taking them back to square one can put them off and kill a potential deal.”
VMware’s VP of Hybrid Platform, Scott Collison took the stage next and shared some impressive cloud growth stats:
- 45% of enterprise IT will come to the cloud by 2015.” (Source: IDC 2012 Cloud Survey)
- The total addressable cloud market is projected to grow from $9 billion in 2013 to $31 billion by 2017.
Collison also shared some impressive numbers about VMware’s advantage over its biggest competitors: “We’re 7x faster than AWS [Amazon Web Services] and 2x faster than Microsoft Azure,” he said.
VMware will also be making a backup and disaster recovery announcement in the near future, which will further complete its cloud offerings, which include core cloud computing, infrastructure services, and application services.
Ingram channel partner Craig Teahen, VP of IT at All Covered spoke next about his company’s evolution in the cloud over the past several years, which eventually led to building its own private cloud to provide better availability to its customers.
IBM’s VP of Midmarket, Judy Smolski, gave a keynote presentation this morning, too, educating channel partners about the fact that while many still think of IBM as an enterprise-only company, it actually has several offerings (e.g. BlueMix PaaS cloud offering and SoftLayer acquisition) that are appropriate for partners selling to customers as small as sole proprietorships.
Citrix’ VP of Americas Mike Fouts spoke next about opportunities in the DaaS market, which represents a $1.5 billion opportunity in the next 18-24 months. He challenged partners to think about DaaS as more than just desktop and to see it as a combination of three services: data, applications, and desktops (i.e. ShareFile, Xen App and Xen Mobile, and XenDesktop).
The morning session concluded with a panel discussion led by Nimesh Davé, EVP of Global Business Process and Cloud Computing at Ingram Micro and two financial analysts from Raymond James & Associates.
After pouring through lots of data comparing companies with high valuations to those with lower ones, the analysts summed up their conclusions with:
“Drive higher profit margins [and a higher business valuation] by finding where you can add the most value and outsourcing the rest,” said Joe Estes, Managing Director and Co-Head Technology Services Investment Banking, Raymond James & Associates.
“VARs and MSPs should avoid capital-intensive investments [i.e. commodities] and focus their efforts on white-labeled cloud services,” said Brian Alexander, Managing Director and Director of Technology Research, Raymond James & Associates.
I’ll be sharing highlights of the breakout sessions in upcoming CloudTalk blogs. Stay tuned!