Opportunities in the Cloud

Opportunities in the Cloud

This is a series of posts on the opportunities brought about by advancement in cloud services and aims to summarize the main roles and value propositions channel partners can choose from. To review the first post, click here. To review the second post, click here.

Most partners are somewhere along the cloud journey. It is reasonable to aim for at least 50% revenue from cloud based activities today. Partners should decide sooner rather than later between becoming:

  • Cloud Broker
  • Cloud Provider
  • Cloud Auditor

To review what these services offer, see the previous post.

All three are independent roles and could be run as a business in the future.

Below are some value propositions for each of the roles described.

Neutrality is very important for a cloud broker. A cloud broker will provides cloud consumers with a single consistent interface to multiple providers. A cloud broker will Improve lead times for the acquisition, ordering and provisioning of cloud services.

Examples of value added services a Cloud Broker can offer include:

  • Unified billing
  • Load planning and cloud bursting
  • SLA management
  • Drives dynamic pricing
  • Consistent end-to-end quality measurements


If partners choose to become a Cloud Provider they should become trained and certified in the tools and the processes involved in at least  one of the “Cloud Service management practices“:

  • business support
  • provisioning and configuration
  • portability and interoperability

This diagram shows the level of control over the application stack and helps understand the responsibilities of

The higher in the stack, the more control the cloud provider has

The higher in the stack, the more control the cloud provider has

parties involved in managing the cloud application. The higher in the stack the more control the cloud provider has over the application and the more committed he will be to the cloud consumer.


The main requirement of a cloud auditor is his/her independence. Often the auditor sets the liabilities and risks. Specialization is key in this area because you need the required certifications and references to enjoy the trust of CXO’s dealing with you. Possible value propositions for auditors are :

  • Provide security audit & reporting
  • Privacy Impact Audit covering both the technology as well as the legal side
  • Offer a performance audit


So what should an ISV do?
ISVs can build channel and cloud programs to support their partners through their transition to the cloud. More and more software vendors are offering PaaS to enable partners to create development and integration work for their end customers. ISV should not only train their channel partners in cloud technologies, but more importantly they should re-train their channels sales people to deal with cloud sales cycles and to accept getting paid through cloud revenues.

Hardware centric vendors are also offering IaaS Services to their channel partners in Backup and Recovery (Services for backup and recovery of file systems and raw data stores on servers and desktop systems) as well as Computing (Server resources for running cloud-based systems that can be dynamically provisioned and configured as needed).

Some examples of PaaS Service offerings from software owners could include:

  • Business Intelligence: Platforms for the creation of applications such as dashboards, reporting systems, and data analysis.
  • Database: Services offering scalable relational database solutions or scalable non-SQL datatanks.
  • Development and Testing: Platforms for the development and testing cycles of application development, which expand and contract as needed.
  • Integration: Development platforms for building integration applications in the cloud and within the enterprise.
  • Application Deployment: Platforms suited for general purpose application development. These services provide databases, web application runtime environments, etc.
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