Channel Maven Consulting


What does Cloud Computing mean to the Channel?

by Heather K. Margolis on April 15, 2009

I wrote a post ‘Is Saas Channel an Oximoron’ a couple of months ago but having just come from the Babson Alumni Technology Council’s breakfast on cloud computing I wanted to revisit it from a different perspective.

There are huge opportunities in cloud computing, HUGE. Right now any developer with some business sense and a good idea could put together an application on and let ‘er rip! Salesforce’s partnerships with Facebook and Google make that even easier.

What does this mean for the channel? Are solution providers going to become the new vendors? Is there going to be a flood of applications that crowd the space making prospects numb to their value propositions.

One thing I know for sure is that vendors and solution providers alike need to be more in tuned to the options out there and the way advances can and will effect their business.

Do you have experience building applications for the cloud? What are the pros and cons?


  1. D.Y. says:

    Good topic – While cloud computing is a movement i support and view as allowing quick horsepower scaling and ease of use, there can be limitations to what cloud-only appliations can provide. Typically the best applications offer a little bit of both: iTunes is a good example, an excellent and easy way to use a desktop application that is supported with cloud-based services and information (Genius, content, etc)

    I've got more thoughts on this but I think for somee a cloud only solution is sufficient, but for others (either due to required horsepower, functionality, connectivity or other concerns) a cloud+thin client/desktop app is the required solution.

    Note that SF and twitter have also announced a combines service/app.

    Apologies if I did not answer your original question! : >

    Full dislcaimer: I'm using Amazon S3 for all my stuff – I keep nothing locally except my iTunes and iPhoto libraries b/c of their size (on a drobo). I backup to the cloud (w/ backblaze) and do most of my work in the cloud with google docs, squarespace, blogger etc.

  2. Josh Gibbs says:

    I think you are right. The cloud will open up a lot of channel opportunities. But with all the apps being built, channel managers will have to sift through all the clutter for the best one(s).

    I think the main thing is keeping it simple. You don’t want to decentralize everything so much that partners are overwhelmed. No matter how easy it may seem for the enterprise, channel partners are the ones in the trenches. Enterprises must do everything they can to make things simple for partners to stay on top of their competitors, especially when it comes to marketing.

    That’s what we ( do. We make channel partners better marketers of enterprise’s products. We do this by sticking all marketing assets and content in the cloud and pushing it out for partners. It works out because partners do have to go through hundreds of pages on a partner portal just to update content that is already outdated. It’s all do automagically for them.

  3. charla says:

    There are opportunities waiting for channel partners to wrap services around cloud computing. In addition, there is very low overhead for channel partners because they are not receiving goods in hand– its all a virtual transaction.

    Many channel partners are looking to act as “agents” in finding opportunities in the cloud space or in SaaS to get a percentage of the business. The would be ideal if they do not feel comfortable signing up as a full partner or selling the solution.

    In addition, if a channel partner signs up to become certified or authorized for “X” company, then as contracts renew (if applicable) channel partners get the reoccurring revenue stream.

    It definitely can be a win-win for vendor and channel partner. But, let’s note that partner enablement will always be key to make the ecosystem work.

    Charla Bunton-Johnson

  4. [...] Go here to see the original:  What does Cloud Computing mean to the Channel? [...]

  5. [...] topic in IT effecting the channel I didn’t have to think twice…the Cloud.  I wrote ‘What Does Cloud Computing mean for the Channel’ a couple of months ago talking about the ability for just about anyone to write an application in [...]

  6. [...] the hottest topic in IT impacting the channel I didn’t have to think twice…the Cloud.  I wrote ‘What Does Cloud Computing mean for the Channel?’ a couple of months ago — talking about the ability for just about anyone to write an [...]

  7. A very interesting topic for discussion Heather. I am looking at the channel implications for cloud computing myself at the moment. I’m trying to segment the cloud computing market and I’d like to include the channel models that exist. I’m also interested to understand what channel really means in cloud computing terms.

    The cloud computing market is in such a state of flux at the moment that I don’t think channel means much. The fact that as with most early markets, cloud “sales” are actually being “bought” by vendors with a longer term game in mind. Add to that the fact that many “channels” are being created for “marketing” purposes at the moment so both parties can claim to be doing something interesting in the cloud space, and I think we’re looking at a market that isn’t quite “real” as yet.

    I think I saw in one of your other posts on the topic that you asked if a SaaS Channel was an oxymoron, I think you’re right to ask the question. What compelling value does a cloud computing channel partner add to the consumer of the service/product? In some parts of the cloud market the channel relationship/remuneration structure is more akin to an introduction/introductory fee model.

    I can certainly see a model of sorts for applications that are build using cloud infrastructure services (such as Amazon’s) or using Platform Services (such as and then made available to the consumer. I can also see a genuine channel model for Cloud Software vendors who sell “real” software products to Cloud Service Providers who then make some service or other available to the consumer. But right now I don’t see a real model for a conduit of Cloud Services outside of the introduction/introductory fee model I mentioned above.

    As a channel specialist, have you seen more concrete proof since you wrote your Blog?


    Danny Goodall
    Lustratus REPAMA Marketing Analysis and Consulting

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