Reading the tea leaves : Transforming for growth


Tiffani Bova is a Vice President with Gartner Research, where she covers IT sales and channel strategies. Her area of specialization includes the development of comprehensive indirect channel strategies, including program development and optimization, go-to-market sales coverage models, the impact of cloud on the traditional channel, and trends in wholesale IT distribution. In the last two years, she has conducted new research in the area of cloud services brokerage (CSB) as a new role for the indirect channel to play in its quest to stay relevant with cloud services.

In addition to her responsibilities at Gartner, Tiffani is a regular on the public speaking circuit at major channel events across the world and we’re honored to have her here in Toronto for the 2012 Asigra Cloud Backup™ Partner Summit.

In her keynote presentation this morning “Reading the Tea Leaves: Transforming for Growth,” Tiffani discussed how managed service providers can work to use cloud services effectively on a strategic level to effectively compete in what is seemingly becoming a crowded marketplace.

She began with a look at some of the top channel trends for 2012, which served as an overview as to where the industry is going and how service providers should differentiate themselves in order to outmarket the competition.

The cloud opens up new business dynamics, as purchasers can go indirect and direct cloud. What really stood out is when she noted that cloud purchasers are looking for business outcomes – not technology. It is a completely different sell and as such, the channel needs to adapt to a new way of doing business and utilize services to differentiate in what is a highly competitive and fragmented market. Simply put, a service provider’s success relies entirely on how much the customer cares, and not how great the technology is!

Benoit Lheureux’s recent Talking Technology event, “Does a CSB Make Sense for Your Business?“, explained how Cloud Service Brokerage is an emerging business model where a company acts as an intermediary that helps its customers through navigating their options, while removing complexity through aggregated and value added services.  The model can be a key differentiator for any Cloud Service Provider competing in today’s marketplace.

If Managed Service Providers want to really grow into the cloud, they will have to invest in marketing to create an integrated experience. The transactional model that exists today will change in Cloud Environments and the channel must evolve in order to service

Tiffani also spoke to the key technology trends as identified by Gartner and include mobile tablets, mobile apps, contextual and social experiences and the “Internet of things“. She noted that the Cloud is very much part of these trends, which in turn is driving exponential growth in data centre infrastructure investment.

Table 1 Top 10 CIO Business and Technology Priorities in 2012

Top 10 Business Priorities

Ranking

Top 10 Technology Priorities

Ranking

Increasing enterprise growth

1

Analytics and business intelligence

1

Attracting and retaining new customers

2

Mobile technologies

2

Reducing enterprise costs

3

Cloud computing (SaaS, IaaS, PaaS)

3

Creating new products and services (innovation)

4

Collaboration technologies (workflow)

4

Delivering operational results

5

Virtualization

5

Improving efficiency

6

Legacy Modernization

6

Improving profitability (margins)

7

IT Management

7

Attracting and retaining the workforce

8

CRM

8

Improving marketing and sales effectiveness

9

ERP Applications

9

Expanding into new markets and geographies

10

Security

10

Source: Gartner Executive Programs (January 2012)

Source: Gartner Press Release: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1897514

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