Here's some good news for all you cloud-focused VARs out there. According to a new Dell survey, "securing a trusted IT partner" is the best way for a company to deploy cloud technologies. Hmm, sounds good for the channel, especially when VARs are often the "trusted adviser" for many things. Our resident blogger has the breakdown on the survey results for you. Opportunity abounds ...

First up, The VAR Guy has noticed a rash of surveys as companies look to make sense of mobile and cloud trends, so Dell's latest survey (developed in conjunction with Techaisle) comes as no surprise. But the information contained therein raised a few eyebrows and revealed some encouraging figures for channel partners.

According to the survey, SMBs are gobbling up cloud solutions as fast as they can and plan on adopting more cloud services in 2012. But the real takeaway was that "69 percent of SMBs [bought] cloud applications from a single trusted vendor." That should have some VARs' ears perking up, because this means the cloud market isn't just an opportunity to grow a customer base -- it's also a chance to create considerable stickiness with your customers.

Our resident blogger found the following factoids worth highlighting:
  • CRM holds the highest amount of cloud-app use, with 55 percent penetration in the market.
  • SMBs complain about multi-vendor cloud solutions, which can be annoying to manage, integrate and pay for. Single-vendor solutions win out.
  • Selling the cloud should get easier as the word spreads -- SMBs using cloud services reported "38 percent improvement in operational efficiency," along with "39 percent improvement in employee productivity."
  • VARs living the trusted adviser ethos can help customers make important decisions, especially since "63 percent of respondents would like the option to modify the integration based on business process changes." That means VARs have the opportunity grow and build a lasting relationship with a customer.
Obviously, since Dell has its own agenda, it touted the Dell Cloud Business Applications as a perfect solution for many SMBs looking to adopt a spectrum of cloud services. But for the rest of the channel, the results indicate it's time to get cozy with a cloud vendor of your choice. If VARs can continue to deliver a full package of services their cloud vendor can provide, the sky's the limit in the SMB space (pun somewhat intended).

The VAR Guy has a hunch that there will be congruous data when mobile device management (MDM) reaches its peak, so cloud-based VARs who can append MDM solutions to their single-vendor cloud package solutions should find considerable opportunity in 2012 and 2013.