T.C. Doyle has a great interview with Microsoft channel chief Phil Sorgen at MSPmentor, where they discuss the opportunity in the cloud ($500 billion by 2020) to how Microsoft will help customers get there (a growing army of trained Cloud Solution Providers).
Historically, the cloud and solutions providers have had a somewhat rocky relationship: SalesForce was the famous runaround, burrowing into end users hearts before bubbling up to the top offices (they've since, of course, established a robust partner ecosystem). And Google's enterprise cloud services have somewhat floundered as its struggled to build out that kind of ecosystem (an area Diane Greene has been working hard to clean up).
Microsoft is hoping for a smoother transition, pushing its partners to keep ahead of the market. To that end, they now have 10,000 members worldwide in the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP).
As Sorgen explained to Doyle, there's three categories of where those partners are at:
A percentage of the community has evolved to the point where more than 50 percent of their business is derived from cloud technology sales. They have full-fledged practices, SaaS extensions and MSP-like services for almost all of what they do. These companies are at a tipping point in terms of growth and innovation acceleration, he says.
Another group of partners sell cloud solutions and are developing cloud competencies. Some have achieved market differentiation among their target audiences. Their pipelines for selling additional cloud solutions are growing and they are holding onto customers eager to migrate at least a portion of their IT operations to the cloud.
Then there is the third bucket, which is comprised of organizations that have not made investments to transition their businesses to the cloud. They have minimal cloud sales and very little in the way of recurring revenue. In many ways, their business operate much as they did five years ago.
Sorgen said that last bucket is operating on borrowed time, and that buying preferences are now rapidly shifting to be more cloud friendly. The whole interview is worth a read, and I'd love to hear how the partners you work with measure up on Sorgen's scale.