There's been a fair amount of buzz about cloud computing being the enemy of the channel. But Leonard Chung isn't buying it. He says there's actually a lot of opportunity for solution providers in the cloud space. They just need to work with the right vendors.
There's been a fair amount of buzz about cloud computing being the enemy of the channel. But Leonard Chung isn't buying it. He says there's actually a lot of opportunity for solution providers in the cloud space. They just need to work with the right vendors.Chung is putting his money where his mouth is. Syncplicity, the San Francisco-based company of which he's CEO, just launched a reseller program that provides partners with sales and marketing tools, product training and documentation, discounts, front-line telephone support, and online consoles that allow channel players to place new orders, manage customer accounts, and remotely administer Syncplicity for customers.
Syncplicity Business Edition delivers file management solutions in the cloud, offering instant synchronization, backup, file sharing, and collaboration in a single integrated solution. Features include realtime backup with full file versioning, Google Apps integration with single sign-on, policy-controlled multi-user sharing and collaboration, and a remote help desk.
"With our program, VARs can be as involved as they want to be with their accounts," Chung says. "They can provide a full gamut of services, such as evaluation, setup, and maintenance, or they can just resell the product and walk away."
Many cloud vendors merely throw resellers a bone by way of referral programs, Chung says. Usually, these deals involve a nominal one-time payout and no recurring revenue whatsoever. The solution provider actually gets cut out of the ongoing relationship with the customer. Under the Syncplicity Reseller Program, VARs can create trials, manage conversions, and self-serve. "They can control their own destinies," Chung says.
Market analysts expect cloud computing to grow more than 40% this year, and Gartner predicts that 20% of all companies will own no IT assets by 2012. We'll all be working in the stratosphere, and IT solution providers, VARs, and MSPs have begun evolving their businesses to capitalize on this trend. Their role in the "brave new world" will be to help customers migrate to cloud computing and SaaS solutions.
Right now, the sweet spot for Syncplicity VARs is companies with 20 to 500 employees, but Chung expects that to scale up over time as bigger companies get a better handle on their sales cycles and learning and deployment curves.
Meanwhile, Chung's message to partners is loud and clear: Embrace the cloud and opportunity will come!
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