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The Channel Steps Up to the Cloud

By Jeffrey M. Kaplan
Oct 12, 2012 5:00 AM PT

I've been suggesting for the past few years that a more robust channel ecosystem must emerge for the cloud movement to continue to grow at its current pace. While fundamental nature of the cloud computing business creates significant challenges for traditional channel companies, rapidly rising user demand creates market pressures and opportunities that cannot be ignored.

The Channel Steps Up to the Cloud

Over the past year, the established channel companies have stepped up to these challenges and are now poised to capitalize on the new opportunities. Here are a few examples of some of the initiatives a few of the major channel companies have launched this year.

Simplified Sales, Streamlined Management

In January, Tech Data launched its StreamOne Solutions Store to simplify the tasks associated with selling cloud services and related software licenses. The StreamOne Solutions Store provides authorized Tech Data partners with a portal-based access to thousands of product SKUs and new cloud consumption and billing models, pricing tiers and complex licensing rules. StreamOne's Software License Selector guides resellers through the steps to select and provision cloud services from a multitude of vendors.

In February, Insight Enterprises unveiled its new Insightcloud Solution Center to help its business and public sector clients learn about, acquire and manage cloud solutions. The center's first round of service offerings include cloud-based messaging, security, infrastructure and collaboration solutions. In addition to a robust online marketplace, the center includes a blog that discusses fundamental cloud concepts and best practices.

In March, Ingram Micro's North America Services Division announced an agreement to sell and support Siemens Enterprise Communications OpenScape Cloud Service via the Ingram Micro cloud marketplace. The Siemens Enterprise Communications OpenScape cloud service provides managed service providers and others a cloud-based unified communications solution for small and mid-size businesses without the cost and complexity of an on-premises system. The Ingram Micro cloud marketplace includes more than 40 services and two dozen vendors.

Social Building, Cloud Training

In July, CDW announced that it will provide's Platform as a Service for building social apps, and Salesforce Chatter to more than 250,000 CDW customers across business, government, education and healthcare sectors.

As a part of this agreement, CDW-G will provide Salesforce Sales Cloud and Salesforce Service Cloud to its public sector customers. In order to appreciate the magnitude of this channel agreement, it is important to note that currently services more than 100,000 customers.

In August, Avnet Technology Solutions established a new Avnet Cloud Solutions group to spearhead its cloud initiatives and unveiled a new training framework to enable Avnet's independent software vendor, managed service provider and value- added reseller partners to compete in the cloud marketplace. Avnet is teaming with Itpreneurs, which works in collaboration with CompTIA and the cloud Credential Council to offer a vendor-neutral certification programs.

Cloud Channel Summit

These are just a few of the interesting channel initiatives launched in 2012 that clearly demonstrate how the major players are moving to the cloud.

Learn more about these initiatives and other important industry trends at the cloud Channel Summit on Monday, Nov. 5, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif.

E-Commerce Times readers can save 10 percent on their Summit registration by using discount code ECT12.

Jeff Kaplan, managing director of THINKstrategies, is the founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace and host of the Cloud Channel Summit conference series. He can be reached at

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