The IT Forecast – Especially for Partners – Is Becoming Cloudy

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In this headline, I’m actually referring to a couple of things. Yes, the cloud (for this post, virtual storage) is becoming more pervasive – no news there. But perhaps not as obvious is how this changing IT environment is clouding the previously distinct lines between the business models of our various partner types.

At our recent Global Partner Summit, I spoke with more and more traditional resellers who are getting into the cloud service provider business, or partnering with EMC’s Service Provider partners who are already there. We also see our systems integrators reselling technology as they help larger customers build out massive data centers to develop their own on premises private cloud service. In essence, I’m seeing what used to be silo-ed partner communities melding together and becoming increasingly dependent on one another, significantly blurring the lines between technology partner types.

So what does this mean to traditional resellers? Value-added resellers are well-positioned in this new environment, given their stronghold with customers.  Their customers depend on them to assess their IT needs and deliver a multi-faceted solution – which, by the way, could include brokering pay-by-the-drip cloud service with an established Service Provider (SP) partner.

My advice to resellers is to get enabled to help customers build their own on premises private clouds, and to break down the silos and build relationships with established SPs. EMC has a robust SP program with a new entry path for resellers who want to add that capability to their portfolio, as well as a group of solid SP partners who are established on EMC technology. Resellers should also connect with systems integrators to help them meet their customers’ technology needs in building large data centers.

Let’s face it. IT is the most dynamic, fast-changing industry and the changes are having a dramatic impact on our world. This leads to my most critical advice to technology partners: deepen your connection with a vendor who is at the leading edge of these changes – who has not only the vision, but the market strength and financial heft to invest in R&D and stay at the forefront of IT. I’m a bit biased, but I’m proud to say that EMC fills this bill. And we are committed to having partners alongside us every step of the way as we chart the course of the changing IT landscape.

The partner ecosystem is alive and well, and will become even more vibrant as partners better understand how their success – and their customers’ success – depends on tighter connections with the right vendor and with partners in adjacent disciplines. Clouding – or blurring – of the lines between various partners is indeed a good thing.

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