What Does Cloud Computing Mean for the Channel? Presentation at Sage Insights 2010

What Does Cloud Computing Mean for the Channel?

Last week I attended  2010 Sage Insights, Sage Software’s annual partner conference, and had the opportunity to present Perspectives on the Business Model of the Future: What Does Cloud Computing Mean for the Channel? twice at the event.

This was a timely topic for Sage partners, particularly in light of Sage’s recently announced Connected Services strategy, and several newly introduced offerings, including Sage Exchange, a cloud-based payments platform, ePhilanthropy service for non-profits, and the SalesLogix Cloud CRM deployment offering built upon Amazon EC2.

From my perspective, evangelism and a direct sales model fueled cloud computing and software-as-a-service (SaaS) growth early on. But most cloud and SaaS vendors that sell business solutions such as financials, ERP, CRM and HR will need to leverage channel/trusted advisor relationships to drive future growth and scale to the broader, mainstream small and medium (SMB) market.

However, cloud computing and SaaS models doesn’t align with the traditional IT channel provider role and the standard division of labor between software vendors and traditional value-added resellers. In the cloud model, the vendor delivers many of the things that IT channel has traditionally provided–software and hardware sourcing, installation and management–blurring the lines between software vendor and channel roles–and potential revenue opportunities for partners.

In my presentation, I discussed what I think cloud computing means for the channel, how vendor channel models are evolving, and my thoughts on how partners can create value in the cloud. The presentation sparked some interesting questions and dialogue among the partners attending–and several requests to share the presentation more broadly, so I’ve posted it here on Slideshare. Please take a look and send me your feedback and any questions you have as I would like to continue this dialogue!

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