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Infiltrate the Cloud Through Partnership

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Industry excitement continues to swirl around the Cloud opportunity. And why not, given the indicators from analysts like Forrester, who says this market will grow to $241 billion by 2020, and SaaS delivery will grow nearly five times faster than the software market on the whole. So the question is: where and how can you find your own opportunity in the Cloud?

Industry excitement continues to swirl around the Cloud opportunity. And why not, given the indicators from analysts like Forrester, who says this market will grow to $241 billion by 2020, and SaaS delivery will grow nearly five times faster than the software market on the whole. So the question is: where and how can you find your own opportunity in the Cloud?

Plenty of business models out there are aimed at capitalizing on Cloud – infrastructure providers and application developers; hosting services; Cloud builders and aggregators; even distributors, among others. Related choices you make today can obviously make or break your business in the Cloud.

The right partnership can undoubtedly speed up your time to revenue and profit with minimal investment. Partners experienced in the Cloud space have already done the heavy lifting—making it easier for you to get in on the action without substantial engineering know-how or deep related software expertise.

Here are three key points to consider when evaluating partner possibilities:

1)     The Right Cloud for Your Business: If you’re versed in a particular line of business or industry, you’ll naturally want to explore vendors that offer Cloud solutions to complement that expertise. On the other hand, the Cloud can also help you cost-effectively expand into entirely new markets, with potential advantages ranging from less competition to easier entry points compared to traditional IT approaches. So plan your business direction and partnerships in tandem, instead of independently. See how SAP partners are profiting with Managed Cloud as a Service (MCaaS): http://bit.ly/1aWj5dA.

2)     Going Beyond Basic Training & Support: Customers expect you to know your Cloud solutions inside and out, of course, and they want smooth integration with systems already in place. A Cloud vendor who offers you extensive training and support will definitely facilitate the migration for your customers and your business model. Things like in-person workshops, on-demand Webcasts, and online resources.– along with tools for assessing and presenting ROI. And when questions arise that you cannot answer, be sure the companies you work with are equipped and ready to respond.

3)     Maximizing YOUR Presence: Channelcorp partner research shows that 60 percent to 70 percent of channel companies do not currently have dedicated marketing resources. Even if you have in-house marketing capabilities, look for a vendor that can support your Cloud success with proven customizable materials, assets you can leverage for lead nurturing, and guidance to strengthen overall Cloud business development.

In addition to the above suggestions, think beyond the present. Consider the longer-term implications of your Cloud partnership, and whether or not you want to build and offer your own Cloud. Is the vendor, service provider, distributor or other type of partner clearly committed to the channel? Do they walk the talk? Or do they show signs of taking indirect business their way? And, finally will they support your business growth if and when the day comes that you want to build your own Cloud offering? The Cloud is rife with both risks and rewards, so whatever you do, make the most informed decision possible.

About SAP
With 13 quarters of double-digit growth SAP is not just about providing ERP to large enterprises; we offer partners a complete portfolio of solutions across five market categories: analytics, Cloud, mobile, applications and database & technology, all powered by SAP HANA, our powerful in-memory solution. More than 80% of our customers are small and midsize businesses, and our solutions are made to address the challenges of these customers across 25 industries. Partners enjoy great benefits from our award-winning SAP PartnerEdge program including partner enablement, generous MDFs and more.

Learn more about partnership opportunities at: http://www.sappartneredge.com/portfolio.

Ira Simon is vice president, Partner Marketing at 
SAP. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship.

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