Cloud builders: Six opportunities when surfing the cloud tsunami

wave crashingIn my second *Surfing the cloud tsunami post, I looked at six challenges for cloud builders. Here I’ll discuss six opportunities for those who embrace a cloud builder business model.

As I explained in my previous post, cloud builders design, build and implement private clouds. They develop skills and services in areas like cloud consulting, architectures, technologies, service management, hybrid cloud, cloud financing and serving providing. They face several challenges, including (1) dealing with a talent shortage, (2) offering OPEX solutions, (3) becoming a cloud provider, (4) resisting vendors, (5) changing the culture, and (6) focusing and partnering—all of which I discussed in detail in my previous post. But cloud builders can turn these challenges into opportunities. Here’s how:

Six opportunities for cloud builders

  1. Providing cloud skills: The cloud talent shortage benefits those cloud builders who have secured a strong position in private cloud and who know how to leverage the cloud certifications and skills of their cloud consultants, architects and pre-sales.
  2. Offering CAPEX and OPEX solutions: Financially solid cloud builders know how to leverage vendors’ pay-as-you-grow programs and financing schemes. They find innovative ways to propose flexible OPEX solutions for private clouds too. 
  3. Managing clouds: When they resist the temptation to turn into a provider of public cloud services, cloud builders leverage complementary cloud services and act as cloud brokers too. They develop annuity streams by managing their customers’ clouds, irrespective of their nature (private, hybrid, community, public) and of their location (on customer’s premises, hosted in a third-party data center or by the cloud builder, provided as a public service).
  4. Aligning with key vendors: Cloud builders who choose to align with key vendors benefit from their need to show progress in their cloud business. By mastering those vendors’ hardware or software technologies, they earn the confidence of customers in need of expertise and benefit from leads and support from vendors’ marketing, pre-sales and sales teams. Nothing new here, but aligning with a specific vendor in new markets or technologies remains an effective and efficient strategy, provided of course that the vendor is a winner.
  5. Igniting a cloud culture: It’s easier for cloud builders to move to cloud than it is for cloud providers or cloud resellers. With private cloud projects, they continue to deliver consulting, integration and implementation, often with hardware and software reselling. By refocusing some of their consultants, architects and pre-sales toward building clouds and by dedicating some cloud savvy sales people to handling the first private cloud projects, they may succeed in igniting a cloud culture within their organization and their customer base. As success depends on executives’ alignment behind a cloud builder strategy, which may prove tricky for incumbent sales directors or managers, they may be wise to dedicate new sales leaders for their cloud business.
  6. Focusing and partnering: Cloud builders who understand the power of partner to partner (P2P) to answer customers’ cloud needs can deliver real business outcomes to customers and build a strong position in their specific field of expertise. They are helped in their P2P quest by mature vendors and value added distributors (VADs), but also by experts who master the art of channels, partnerships and alliances.

As this is of course a highly subjective list, please share your thoughts on the challenges and opportunities facing cloud builders in 2013!

In the same vein, you may also want to read:

*Surfing the cloud tsunami

In the “Surfing the cloud tsunami” articles, I look at the IT ecosystem’s migration to the cloud, with a focus on:

  1. Independent software vendors (ISVs) reinventing their business beyond SaaS
  2. Integrators and CSIs moving to cloud builders
  3. MSPs migrating to industrialized cloud delivery
  4. Value added resellers and distributors becoming cloud resellers, cloud brokers, cloud aggregators
  5. Providers of business services leveraging the cloud to disrupt the IT market
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Loic Simon

About Loic Simon

Loic helps IBM business partners reinvent their business and develop partnerships in the Cloud. He leads "Club Alliances" and "Club Cloud des Partenaires" where ISVs, integrators, MSPs, consultants and other cloud providers share experience and expertise, engage complementary partners and accelerate their cloud business with IBM. Loic blogs and shares on Cloud, with a focus on the evolving Cloud Ecosystem.
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