With so many opinions circulating through the IT blogosphere, it's nice to find research to help discern what's credible and what's not. Autotask's 2014 Metrics That Matter survey
is a good example of such a source. The 2014 benchmarking survey, which was conducted by Decision Tree Labs and based on the input of more than 1,300 IT service providers (ITSPs) throughout the globe, offers lots of insights into the state of the channel.
One of the most intriguing findings from this year's survey was the emphasis ITSPs placed on the cloud's role in their top and bottom line growth. Here are a few highlights:For the second year, study respondents said expansion of cloud/hosted apps is the No. 1 technology that’s changing client expectations.
Cloud also debuted as a top-three efficiency improver. Participating ITSPs chose RMM (74%), backup and restore (73%), and cloud (73%) as leading efficiency-improving technologies for 2014. In 2013, cloud ranked fifth.
Not coincidentally, 32% of respondents are projecting between 15% and 25% revenue growth this year compared to just 21% of respondents last year.
If there is one certainty we can conclude from the research it's this: Cloud is Not
a zero sum game controlled by one or two large cloud providers. ITSPs and cloud service providers (CSPs) with a specific point of differentiation can earn healthy revenues.
Some ITSPs are building their own private cloud data centers and bundling it with their professionally managed services. Other ITSPs are finding success partnering with channel-friendly cloud service providers and/or cloud aggregators that offer them many of the same benefits the "build it yourself" ITSPs enjoy without the multimillion-dollar capital investment. Ingram Micro's Cloud Marketplace, powered by Parallels software
, is an example of the latter approach, which the 54% of ITSPs that don't yet have an established, strategic cloud offering (according to the latest research from CompTIA
) should seriously consider.