Year 2010 has been defining in many ways for the IT industry. The year witnessed major shifts in the IT landscape, driven by considerable changes in customer behavior and new concepts such as cloud computing and unified computing taking center-stage.
At the heart of this shift is undoubtedly the concept of cloud computing. Hailed as the most disruptive concept after the Internet, it is beginning to have a profound impact on IT consumption models—which in turn is forcing IT companies to realign their future strategies and ready their internal organizations and partner ecosystems.
Analysts are predicting that as the concept of cloud computing matures, it will result in the shakeout of the entire IT ecosystem. Many believe that cloud computing will drive the creation of new ecosystem, which probably a few years down the line may not look anything like the present IT ecosystem.
To stay relevant, the IT channel will need to move toward a service-led model. While resellers will need to become trusted advisors to their customers, assist them in moving their applications to the cloud and provide legacy system integration, distributors will need to look beyond their traditional role of pick, pack and ship operations to become knowledge leaders for the channel, and deliver strategic services in the process.
Over the past year, I have started seeing glimpses of the strategic shift in the IT ecosystem. Reorganization of Cisco around a new business model and the subsequent realignment of its partner ecosystem is a pointer toward this. The Microsoft of 2010 too looks significantly different from that in 2009. Similar is the case with other companies like HP, Dell, IBM and EMC.
If you thought that the impact of clouding computing is being exaggerated, just consider what IBM recently announced. The Big Blue expects that by 2015, cloud computing would erase as much as $9 billion worth of its current hardware, software and services revenues. Of course, IBM plans to offset this loss by raking in $12 billion in cloud computing business by that time.
Imagine the impact this would have on IBM’s server and storage partners, and for that matter on the entire channel selling hardware and software solutions. Hence, ignoring the impact of cloud computing will be futile for the IT channel.
As we bid goodbye to 2010 and enter a New Year, all I can wish is that we all learn from the past, review the present and get ready for the future.