The advent of Cloud computing and the availability of cloud based business applications is dramatically changing the IT environment for companies of all sizes. The Cloud offers simplification…simplification of the user experience and simplification for those responsible for managing the application deployments. It enables companies to get to value faster with their IT investments, allowing them to focus less on technology issues and place more attention on redefining and streamlining their business processes.
At the same time, the rapid adoption of the cloud, including the accelerating use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, has resulted in an explosion of new data coming at companies from all directions, including from employees, customers, vendors, partners, and other market influencers. Companies that can integrate, assimilate, and make sense of that information across the enterprise will be the winners. Being in the data integration business, this is really good news for our organization. To take advantage of this opportunity, however, will require us to work closely with the hundreds of implementation partners we rely on to deliver our products in order to meet the changing economic model of the Cloud.
A number of our partners are responding quickly to this changing landscape. They are transforming large portions of their practices from being technology integrators to becoming higher level solution providers. Many of these partners have built large portions of their business on doing traditional "systems integration", helping their customers make sense of many layers of the technology stack. With much of that work being collapsed by these new cloud services, these partners are moving towards creating industry or vertical market solutions that establish a new differentiation for their companies in the marketplace. Not only do these solutions offer built in application functionality inherent to the industry but also include pre-defined integration processes to a number of different Cloud and premised based endpoints.
Responding to these changes is having a profound effect on the businesses of ISVs as well as implementation partners. The most obvious is the profit and cash flow impact of the subscription model versus the old software and maintenance model. It certainly does not stop there however. How do implementation partners re-work the skills and talents of their work force to meet the new demands of our customers? How do we provide better tools to support these new demands? How do implementation partners become adept at creating and packaging IP? How do both ISVs and implementation partners look beyond selling software to the delivering an entire end to end user experience? How do we address the operational issues around upgrading and supporting solutions? I could go on and on.
On November 7th, 2011, I will be participating in a panel at the Cloud Channel Summit entitled "Building Effective Cloud Channels: What's Working and What's Not". This should be a very lively and informative discussion as each of the panelists is wrestling with this question in their own business. While each of the panelists will bring their own insights and ideas around how to build these channels, the broader macro level issues outlined above will be the lens by which they should be evaluated. Addressing this important issue of collaboration between ISVs and implementation partners is critical to the broader adoption of Cloud services. I look forward to sharing my thoughts and hearing the ideas of my contemporaries.