Hunter Richards has a nice article on the challenges facing value-added resellers with the ongoing move to the cloud. He makes some excellent points about what parts of the VAR business are going away and which are expanding, giving five moves VARs can make to gain a foothold in the new cloud computing market:
- Develop competancy in PaaS poducts
- Make the cloud's efficiency work for you
- Offer technology-enabled services
- Promote the cloud to your existing customer base
One of the things I like about Hunter's thinking is that he's not focusing, as many do, on the IaaS plays. There's little money there after the Amazons and Rackspaces sop up everything they can with their huge economies of scale. He also recognizes that SaaS plays are "consumerizing" enterprise software purchases. There's not going to be very many ways to insert yourself between the enterprise and a consumer-style SaaS product.
Hunter points to the "mama-bear" strategy of landing right in between those two and concentrating on PaaS offerings. This will challenge VARs and ask them to change because there will be more programming on platforms that others provide. Becoming experts on those platforms and solving problems for customers using them will be the play VARs use to move past this transition.
We've seen this with Kynetx. We have several partners who are using Kynetx' PaaS offering to create rich, compelling applications for their customers. I think it's a viable model.