The cloud opportunity for the technology channel ecosystem


13 June 2016
Pang Yee Beng of Dell

Cloud computing presents a tremendous opportunity for the technology channel ecosystem to provide more value to end-user customers and help them drive economic, operational and resource flexibility. This opportunity is even greater in the Asia Pacific where the Asia Cloud Computing Association’s Cloud Readiness Index 2016 shows that economies in the region are already outperforming the world in cloud readiness.

According to another study, the IDC Future Ready Enterprise Index commissioned by Dell, over 50 per cent of the most future-ready enterprises in the Asia Pacific and Japan region found that cloud adoption enabled big data and analytics within their business, and most have seen more effective use of infrastructure and data resources. These organisations can track usage and performance closely, leading to greater productivity across the business.

The cloud transformation places IT and its partners squarely at the centre of the enterprise as both a leader and enabler of value creation. Here are five recommendations as to how channel partners can deliver better value to their customers and ensure that deployments are successful in the long-run.

1) Make decisions grounded in business objectives

Cloud computing is a strategic business initiative, not a technology tactic or capex reduction plan. To be successful, cloud-based strategies and investments must be rooted in the challenges the customer’s business is trying to address. Cloud initiatives can sometimes end up running wild. As a partner, it is your job to ensure that your customers’ business leaders stay engaged and supportive of cloud investments.

2) Be committed to flexibility

Customers need to understand the choice of cloud adoption models that they have at any given time and which approach would be most appropriate. The decision should not be about private versus public cloud. In reality, most organisations will use a combination of private and public clouds in a hybrid cloud approach. IDC has called hybrid cloud the basis of digital transformation, and predicts that more than 65 per cent of enterprise IT organisations in the Asia Pacific will commit to hybrid cloud architectures by 2017. Partners should focus on delivering the right cloud, or mix of clouds, for their customers at the right cost with the right characteristics (i.e. agility, compliance, security) to achieve desired business results.

3) Focus on IT guidance and governance

In the rush to gain access to the benefits of cloud, many organisations have a tendency to overlook the continued involvement and oversight of IT. Challenges are inevitable, especially when issues such as performance, integration, security and compliance go unaddressed or are mishandled. When partners and IT leaders actively advise and align with business leaders, these challenges can be handled more effectively.

4) Make cloud easier

There are ways to make cloud easier for customers, particularly if they are already becoming cloud-comfortable. For example, partners can offer line-of-business owners a catalogue of their most-used offerings. Test-and-development engineers do not have to go to a public cloud behind the backs of the IT department. If they want to rapidly create and test a cloud-based application, pre-approved compute and storage resource options can be offered, showing how much a solution will cost and the assets available for usage. Add the appropriate security requirements, and IT leaders or DevOps managers can get down to business – either deploying a cloud infrastructure on their own or with the help of deployment services.

5) Look at cloud from a lifecycle perspective

The strategic approach to cloud adoption means working with customers to take the long-term view without sacrificing agility. As a partner, it is not just about implementing the infrastructure, but also analysing the utilization and results of the assets and costs throughout the entire lifecycle. What does it take to create, manage, maintain, provision, patch, and keep the cloud controlled? How easily can the cloud be created and does it seamlessly deliver the results that the customer expects?

With the need to become more future-ready on the rise, organisations are trying to determine how to get the most from their cloud investments. Increasingly, achieving that goal centres on finding the right partners to turn the cloud promise into profit. The most successful channel partners will be those that consistently demonstrate how cloud services unlock tangible business value for their customers, and build relationships around core concepts such as risk mitigation, improved user experience, and measurable gains in business outcomes.

Pang Yee Beng is vice president of Commercial Channels, Dell Asia Pacific.