Latest cloud research notes continued struggle for channel

Research from IT services bods MTI has revealed that UK channel businesses are struggling to meet the needs of their demands due to the accelerated growth of cloud computing.

No prizes for guessing the angle of this research; if your instant thought was ‘resellers struggle in a cloud-heavy market, thus they’ll need a partner to help monetise’, then you’d be right. Yet the stats, taken from over 150 respondents with seven in ten resellers, make for interesting reading.

The results show infrastructure as a service (IaaS) is the most common service provided by resellers, with over three quarters (77%) of respondents citing it as a key service for their clients. Conversely, the least popular being managed security services.

For resellers, the biggest challenge over the next 18 months was clear: clients are requesting more complex solutions which is affecting their business. Ranked one to six with one being highest priority the average rating for diverse client requirements was 2.63 – far ahead of skills shortages (3.21) and retaining key staff (3.27).

Similarly, the biggest challenge to working with vendor partners is “channel conflict”, according to those surveyed – competing against your supplier. Not being able to deliver a complete solution, as well as competition with other service providers, was also cited.

Direct sales support was cited as a key determiner for respondents growing their cloud services business (3.57), behind vendor funded lead gen (3.38) but ahead of education for staff (3.96).

There’s been a long-standing struggle between vendors and resellers in the channel for cloud computing products. As CloudTech contributor Ian Moyse wrote back in 2012: “As cloud solutions move towards more competitive and flexible billing their will of course be challenges for the traditional reseller approach, but these are not insurmountable if the adoption and adaption to these starts now.”

It was a bold statement at the time, but this latest research shows the difficulties still prevalent in the market.

“Our research demonstrates there is a clear contrast between what clients want and what resellers and service providers are delivering,” said MTI’s Chris Roberts, adding: “It’s very difficult for resellers to be flexible enough to provide solutions as and when they come into fashion, or when demand from clients peaks.”

What do you make of the research? Can the channel fully get to grips with the cloud?

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