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2013 cloud ecosystem predictions: Six surfers and failures in the cloud tsunami

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A few weeks ago, I reviewed my “2012 predictions for IBM’s Cloud Channel.”

Going into 2013, I want to share my thoughts on who in the French cloud ecosystem is likely to struggle or to flourish in an ever growing cloud tsunami.

So, here are my six plus six predictions for the year to come!

Six failures:  2013 will NOT be a walk in the park for traditional IT channels

  1. VARs: Many Value Added Resellers still hesitate to fully embrace the cloud. They will start feeling the heat of competition from pure-play SaaS integrators and cloud brokers. Deals lost to cloud services will start skyrocketing.
  2. VADs: Value Added Distributors advertise their new cloud services aggregation platforms. But channel adoption is likely to take off more slowly than planned. Vendors need first to seamlessly integrate their cloud services with ArrowSphere, StreamOne and other aggregation platforms. Besides, VADs slow transformation to cloud has not yet positioned them as credible cloud services distributors.
  3. ISVs: Traditional Independent Software Vendors are overwhelmed with alternatives when it comes to leveraging cloud. They face too many options to cloud-enable applications or develop cloud native solutions. They must also decide how and how fast to integrate mobility, big data, and social… Not easy!
  4. MSPs: Managed Service Providers have a hard time finding their position in the cloud: Should they aim to compete in a commoditizing IaaS/PaaS market with the likes of Amazon, MS Azure, Google, IBM SmartCloud, or with the newly born subsidized CloudWatt and Numergy? Some will succeed in carving high added value vertical or community niches, but many who still offer Cloud Canada Dry will struggle to stay afloat in the cloud tsunami. As for Telcos, I have no clear vision on their ability to win or loose as cloud providers in 2013.
  5. Large established IT Vendors: Big technology and/or service providers ran for the cloud gold for a couple of years now. But they still have to adapt their KPIs, processes and reporting to the changing rules of the cloud game. Add the difficulty to ramp up skills and culture and you see why cloud’s acceleration is not a walk in the park for large incumbent vendors either.
  6. Cloud builders: Infrastructure integrators have now plans to sell, design, implement and operate private and hybrid cloud infrastructures. But they struggle to attract, develop and retain cloud talents and battle to differentiate and be positioned as cloud experts. In addition, many of them don’t find it easy to innovate with opex (you pay as you grow/use) instead of capex (buy your cloud infrastructure) propositions.

Six surfers: 2013 will allow key players to shine in the cloud

  1. BPaaS providers: Content and data providers, business service providers, BPOs (business process outsourcers) leverage PaaS and SaaS solutions to provide BPaaS (Business Process as a Service). Some cloud analysts name them vertical channels because they attend to the needs of specific industry verticals or business functions. They are attractive channel and solution partners for cloud services vendors who have not cracked the code to get their traditional VARs and IT integrators on the cloud bandwagon. For sure, some even turn their vertical consulting/data/business practice into software that to be delivered “as a service” on the cloud!
  2. B2B AppStores: This prediction is a bit early here in France, but we will spot possible winners in the scope of B2B (Business to Business) cloud services aggregation, brokerage, marketplaces, vertical communities or appstores. Many actors want to play, beyond the usual suspects like VADs, Telcos, B2B retailers and large vendors. Let’s keep an eye on this throughout 2013!
  3. Born on the cloud ISVs: SaaS startups begin invading the French market. They force the adepts of SaaS Canada Dry to adapt quickly, treat SaaS seriously, acquire some of those cloud natives or die. Both well funded and bootstrapped startups benefit from the IaaS/PaaS wars to leverage true pay as you grow cloud platforms for their SaaS applications. By generating leads through inbound/social marketing, they will challenge established vendors even more.
  4. Business minded IT Departments: More CIOs morph their IT shops into cloud brokers to closely align with LOBs (Lines of Business). They provision and integrate IaaS/PaaS/SaaS/XaaS resources through a selected (compliance, security, integration) and negotiated (service level agreements, reversibility.) catalog of cloud services which encompass private, managed, hosted and public cloud services. With the same approach, forward looking VARs of the trusted advisor breed play this CIO role for small and medium businesses (SMB).
  5. Customers as cloud providers: Led by those business savvy CIOs and trusted advisors, innovative companies rethink their IT and reinvent their business to provide cloud services to their own customers and/or other stakeholders. The line between IT and non IT providers blurs.
  6. Cloud experts: Skills shortage in technical and sales areas benefits those who took the early cloud train. Cloud consultants, architects, developers, implementers, pre-sales, business developers, rainmakers, even marketers will be chased and lured by cloud providers of all types. What an interesting time to be a cloud SME (subject matter expert).

What are YOUR predictions for the cloud ecosystem in 2013?

I wish you a happy new year; feet on the ground, head above the cloud!

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