25 novembre 2012

IBM Cloud Channel - Reviewing my 2012 predictions!

Now is a good time to look back at previsions and predictions.

Below, I review my 6 plus 6 predictions for IBM's [french] Cloud Channel in 2012.
See my comments in red [quite off the mark!] and in green [seems to have materialized...]

2011 had been the Cloud "Coming Out" year for most major IBM Infrastructure Partners.
Pushed by vendors, customers and competition, most infrastructure integrators, distributors and managed service providers I'm dealing with have formalized their Cloud Strategy and/or have started executing it in 2011.

2012 will still NOT be the year when...
  1. IBM and its partners won't need dedicated Cloud experts anymore, to (a) assist/replace their sales people and their architects and to (b) let those continue to conduct their more traditional business. [so far so "good" for this prediction... too bad!]
  2. Compensation plans will really push the sales teams to favor "as a service" Cloud solutions in their proposals. [at least not yet in IBM and with the Business Partners I'm dealing with!]
  3. Managed Service Providers will massively turn into real "Cloud Infrastructure Providers" [the key here is the word "massively". Definitely, most MSPs want to become "Cloud providers" but the majority are still in Cloud Canada Dry mode.]  
  4. Cloud pure players will force all distributors, regional integrators and resellers to start migrating to a real Cloud business model [competition from "born on the cloud" channel players is still nascent here in France. So, most of the incumbents still feel safe enough, but beware...]
  5. IBM Software will really push its partners to leverage its infrastructure software offerings in an as a service [PaaS, SaaS] mode, beyond promoting the ASL contract. [unfortunately, so far, no big push by IBM Sofware... too bad!]
  6. IBM Global Technology Services' major route to market for Cloud services like SmartCloud Enterprise or SmartCloud Application Services will definitely be the Channel [I realize that all 6 of my "will still not be the year" predictions are right on spot. TOO BAD!]
On the other hand, in 2012,
  1. SaaS preeminence among ISVs will (a) help cloud resellers and integrators bloom and (b) push incumbent actors to include more and more SaaS solutions in their offerings portfolio. [Yeah, I must admit that I was a bit dreaming. So far, no sign of blooming!] 
  2. Major infrastructure integrators will "buy" the Cloud skills they lack to accelerate their business model migration towards Cloud...  while struggling to not cannibalize their existing activities [Not yet... a bit too early for Cloud acquisitions en masse...]
  3. All distributors and VADs will provide (a) foundation products and services for Cloud Builders, (b) IaaS, PaaS and SaaS services for Cloud brokers, playing themselves a growing Cloud aggregator role. Beyond commodity services, some VADs will test the listing of SaaS business solutions, acting as a distribution platform for LOB oriented SaaS ISVs [Looking at Arrow ECS and Techdata's Aggregation Platforms, this prediction is a half full, half empty kind of glass]
  4. All IBM new products and services will have a Cloud dimension [inside SmartCloud Foundation, SmartCloud Services or SmartCloud Solutions]. Servers and storage offerings will be redesigned and rebranded with "Cloud". [More or less, all IBM brands have cloudified most of their new products and services. Look at PureSystems as an example]
  5. The word "Cloud" will gradually replace "Virtualization", "Consolidation", "Hosting"... in the opportunities that are shared - through their common CRM - between IBM and its partners. [This trend has clearly taken off in 2012]
  6. IBM Software will deploy "SmartCloud Solutions" coming in majority from its recent acquisitions. These Social Business, Smarter Commerce, Smarter City, Business Analytics, Big Data... solutions help customers "reinvent business" by putting the cloud "under the hood" of key business applications. Luckily, most of them will be packaged to be leveraged by business integrators. [Too slow to my liking!]
So, in summary, my predictions for IBM's Cloud Channel in 2012 have been quite good, actually.
But, honestly, the "NOT YET" part was quite easy to predict one year ago! TOO BAD! [did I already use these two words?]
Now, I'm clearly a little bit TOO optimistic when it comes to both IBM and the existing Channel's speed of transition to the Cloud!

What is your [re]view of the IT Ecosystem's 2012 evolution towards Cloud? 

Loic Simon
Cloud Channel Development Executive - IBM
+33 6 76 75 40 71