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Cloud Services are Now Critical for SMB ICT Channel Partner Portfolios

This has been a successful year for the SMB-focused cloud partner ("MSP") ecosystem with an average cloud service revenues increasing by a healthy 12%, according to AMI's soon to be published 2013 U.K. Cloud Partner Transformation Overview. Partners are also bullish on cloud service prospects for 2013.

"With the increasing uptake and interest in the cloud services model amongst U.K. SMBs, it is now critical for all channel partners to be able to offer managed services and cloud solutions to their customer base. How they choose to play is fundamental for future survival. Is it with SaaS or infrastructure or managed services? Do they resell or build their own services?" queries Hugh Gibbs, VP, Research & Consulting at AMI EMEA and report author.

There have been a number of other key developments during 2012 in the Cloud Ecosystem. We have seen significant proportions of players now at the "migration" stage of cloud transformation. They are investing strongly in their own SaaS and managed service solutions. AMI estimates that close to 40 percent of the population is at this stage in its Cloud Transformation Segmentation Model - up from 15 percent in 2011.

Top cloud solutions have focused on partner-customized or own vertical SaaS solutions. There has also been an increased interest in hosted productivity and collaboration suites as well as data storage and backup services. Other top cloud solutions are desktop virtualization and hosted security services.

Remote-managed ICT services are the usual entry-point for traditional channel partners to begin their journey to the cloud--over 80 percent offer these types of services. There has been a significant increase in the numbers of partners using third party hosting facilities with dedicated hosting companies and ICT vendors being the preferred suppliers.

Most channel partner solution projects now involve integrating important cloud service delivery elements. In addition, cloud consulting and support services continue to contribute the largest proportion of cloud-related revenue with the biggest part of this now being implementation and integration.

2013 expectations:

" Continuing growth in partner cloud services revenues well-above industry averages.

" New partner focus on more advanced business process applications - BI/Analytics, HR & Business Process-as-a-service being amongst the most common new areas.

" Continuing focuses on security-as-a-service as U.K. SMBs look to the cloud to solve this increasingly complex problem.

" The emergences of PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) - as Channel Partners look to migrate their customers' legacy of on-premise solutions.

Top Vendor Targets for Partners in the next 12 months:

Citrix

DELL

Cisco

Salesforce.com

McAfee

EMC

"Working with the successful cloud partners/MSPs has become a key issue for all ICT vendors, whether they are looking for partners to use their infrastructure or take their new cloud and managed services to market. Local partners still hold the key to the vitally important SMB sector." added Gibbs, "Understanding the state of cloud readiness of their traditional partner communities and being able to identify and attract successful new cloud service pure-plays needs to be on the agenda of all infrastructure and applications vendors. Those that support their partners re-orient their businesses to the cloud in the most committed and imaginative ways will reap the benefits in future."


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