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Cloud Services Are Now Critical for SMB ICT Channel Partner Portfolios

This has been a successful year for the SMB-focused Cloud Partner (“MSP”) ecosystem with an average cloud service revenues increasing by a healthy 12%, according to AMI’s soon to be published 2013 U.K. Cloud Partner Transformation Overview. Partners are also bullish on cloud service prospects for 2013.

“With the increasing uptake and interest in the cloud services model amongst U.K. SMBs, it is now critical for all channel partners to be able to offer managed services and cloud solutions to their customer base. How they choose to play is fundamental for future survival. Is it with SaaS or infrastructure or managed services? Do they resell or build their own services?”, queries Hugh Gibbs, VP Research & Consulting at AMI EMEA and report author.

There have been a number of other key developments during 2012 in the Cloud Ecosystem. We have seen significant proportions of players now at the “migration” stage of cloud transformation. They are investing strongly in their own SaaS and managed service solutions. AMI estimates that close to 40% of the population is at this stage in its Cloud Transformation Segmentation Model – up from 15% in 2011.

Top cloud solutions have focused on partner customized or own vertical SaaS solutions. There has also been an increased interest in hosted productivity and collaboration suites as well as data storage and back-up services. Other top cloud solutions are desktop virtualization and hosted security services.

Remote Managed ICT Services are the usual entry point for traditional channel partners to begin their journey to the cloud – over 80% offer these types of services. There has been a significant increase in the numbers of partners using 3rd party hosting facilities with dedicated hosting companies and ICT vendors being the preferred suppliers.

Most Channel Partner solution projects now involve integrating important cloud service delivery elements. In addition, cloud consulting and support services continue to contribute the largest proportion of cloud related revenue with the biggest part of this now being implementation and integration.

In 2013 we can expect to see:

  • Continuing growth in partner cloud services revenues well-above industry averages.
  • New partner focus on more advanced business process applications – BI/Analytics, HR & Business Process-as-a-service being amongst the most common new areas.
  • Continuing focuses on security-as-a-service as U.K. SMBs look to the cloud to solve this increasingly complex problem.
  • The emergences of PaaS (Platform-as-a-service) – as Channel Partners look to migrate their customers’ legacy of on-premise solutions.
Top Vendor Targets for Partners in the next 12 months

“Working with the successful cloud partners/MSPs has become a key issue for all ICT vendors, whether they are looking for partners to use their infrastructure or take their new cloud and managed services to market. Local partners still hold the key to the vitally important SMB sector.” added Gibbs, “Understanding the state of cloud readiness of their traditional partner communities and being able to identify and attract successful new cloud service pure-plays needs to be on the agenda of all infrastructure and applications vendors. Those that support their partners re-orient their businesses to the Cloud in the most committed and imaginative ways will reap the benefits in future.”

Related Study

AMI’s soon to be released 2013 U.K. Cloud Partner Transformation Overview is based on in-depth primary research conducted on UK-based Cloud Partners and MSPs. Similar studies are also available from AMI for Germany, U.S., Australia and China. These overviews will answer the following questions:

  • How many cloud partners and MSPs are there?
  • How well developed are Cloud services in the ICT reseller ecosystem, and what are their levels of competence to deliver cloud services in the market?
  • What do the successful ones look like and how do we find them?
  • What are the top cloud services (SaaS, IaaS, Managed Services) that are being offered and how will this evolve in 2013?
  • What are the business and delivery models being used and what opportunity does this offer to vendors?
  • How do MSPs take their services to market and what support are they looking for from vendors?

For more information about this study, AMI-Partners, or our global SMB research, call 212-944-5100, e-mail or visit

About Access Markets International (AMI) Partners, Inc.

AMI-Partners specializes in IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services strategy, venture capital, and actionable market intelligence—with a strong focus on global small and medium businesses (SMBs), extending into large enterprises and home-based businesses. The AMI-Partners mission is to empower clients for success with the highest quality data, business strategy perspectives and go-to-market solutions. Led by Andy Bose, the firm has built a world-class management team with deep experience cutting across IT, telecommunications and business services sectors in established and emerging markets.

AMI has helped shape the go-to-market SMB strategies of more than 150 leading IT, Internet, telecommunications and business services companies. The firm is well known for its IT and Internet adoption-based segmentation of the SMB markets; its annual retainership services based on global SMB tracking surveys in more than 25 countries; and its proprietary database of SMBs and SMB channel partners in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The firm invests significantly in collecting survey-based information from several thousand SMBs annually, and is considered the premier source for global SMB trends and analysis.

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