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Solution Providers: What’s on Your Cloud Menu?

More channel partners are shifting their attention to the cloud these days—and it’s a smart move considering cloud’s impressive growth. According to IDC, worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will more than double between 2019 and 2023,.. Continue


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Tim Fitzgerald

More channel partners are shifting their attention to the cloud these days—and it’s a smart move considering cloud’s impressive growth.

According to IDC, worldwide spending on public cloud services and infrastructure will more than double between 2019 and 2023, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 22%. Analysts at the research firm say a shift to software and infrastructure as a service in a variety of markets is driving the growth.

While the broad availability of cloud offerings should be giving solution providers ample incentive to adopt and support specialized, high-touch cloud offerings that can maximize their value propositions and position them for growth, many seem reluctant to veer off the path of what’s tried and true—and commoditized.

New roads to riches

The 2018 State of the U.S. Cloud Channel report, developed in conjunction with Ingram Micro Cloud and Microsoft, found that channel organizations are opting to take the path of least resistance when developing their cloud offerings, investing in run-of-the-mill solutions instead of delivering more complex, high-value services.

Cloud-based backup and recovery, for example, was the most widely sold cloud offering in the channel, cited by 76% of respondents. Productivity apps followed at 65%, and the remaining top mentions were network monitoring and management, hosted email, endpoint security and storage.

Bigger, better, different

It’s not to say all those offerings aren’t important—backup and recovery is a fundamental requirement for any business—but solution providers should consider breaking into other areas that aren’t as commoditized. Why? Because they can set themselves apart from competitors and initiate long-term, high-touch engagements with customers.

Some of those high-value offerings include virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), mobility management, development platforms, and business applications and administration services.

Virtualization offers businesses accessibility and flexibility when it comes to endpoints, streamlining hardware footprints and making it easier to deploy, manage and maintain desktops. According to Gartner, about half of VDI users will be using desktop as a service (DaaS) by year’s end.

Meanwhile, more and more businesses are choosing to leverage mobile solutions to increase efficiency and productivity. Overwhelmed by an array of devices, billing cycles and contracts, many are turning to solution providers to help manage their mobile-system ecosystems.

Some channel partners have indeed taken notice of these increasingly popular and less commoditized offerings. Among the 2018 cloud survey respondents, nearly one in four said they offer cloud-based VDI, and roughly the same percentage cited mobile device management (MDM). Other such offerings included internet of things (IoT), cited by 24%; business apps, cited by 22%; and high-performance computing, cited by only 11%.

It's time to put more on the menu

Solution providers across the board know they need to flesh out their cloud practice—and its potential for growth. Among respondents, 74% said they plan to increase the number of cloud products and services they’ll bring to market next year. Only 12% said they’ll stay with their current cloud portfolios, while fewer than 2% said they have plans to decrease the number of cloud services offered.

For solution providers willing to invest in their cloud businesses and take some risks, the opportunities are endless. Adding high-value cloud offerings to the menu will help differentiate, amplify value propositions and expand roads to greater revenues.

See how your cloud practice measures up

The 2112 Group Cloud Altimeter—a cloud assessment tool exclusively for Ingram Micro partners—helps you understand your cloud computing capabilities and performance relative to companies with the same profile as yours in your region.

By collecting answers to a few questions about your company and its cloud practice, the tool will generate a comprehensive report on how your company compares to others in the same class. To see how your business stacks up in the cloud, visit the 2112 Group Cloud Altimeter.