Tackling complexity is main opportunity for cloud resellers, as sustainability rises up the agenda

United Kingdom

Over a third of customers would not work with a channel organization if it had a poor ESG strategy, new research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) has revealed. According to the study of 250 IT decision makers, sustainability is a higher priority than last year, when just 25% of respondents cited it as important, but it has yet to gain parity with other priorities such as cost and security. Over half (56%) of end-customers said that security was their top priority for managing forthcoming IT projects, and 54% admitted that they had put projects on hold this year because of the current economic situation.

“It’s good to see sustainability rising up the corporate agenda, despite the difficult times,” commented David Devine, Partner Programme Manager, OVHcloud. “As well as preserving our joint future, a thorough ESG strategy is both a genuine way for channel partners to reduce their own spend and move into a more advisory role with their customers. By embracing a more sustainable supply chain, the channel can also win more deals and give customers greater visibility of the carbon footprint of their technology vendors, fulfilling their need to measure scope 3 emissions.”

According to the study, 90% of customers understand that cloud is as secure or more secure than on-premises, and a similar percentage (87%) said that cloud had already saved them money. An overwhelming percentage (96%) believed that existing cloud projects had delivered against expectations, proving that cloud is an established and mature technology today.

“A lot of customers have migrated certain applications to the cloud already: database, CRM and customer-facing apps are usually the first choices, but other parts of the business can be more difficult,” continued Devine. “To be truly successful, channel partners must show an in-depth understanding of customer needs and offer them a choice of solutions for supporting these needs. The right cloud for the right workload is crucial, for example, and that means having a broad range of providers in a partner’s portfolio, not to mention a commitment to open standards to make hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure easier to manage in the long-term.”

The report also shed light on the specific challenges that resellers can help to overcome. Just over a third (34%) of customers admitted that they lacked the skills to move forwards with cloud projects, and almost two thirds (65%) said that migration to cloud was often more complex than they expected.

“This is a clear opportunity for the channel to step in and add value,” concluded Devine. “Helping customers to overcome both the skills gap and the complexity of the move to cloud can make you much more ‘sticky’ as a solutions provider, and help you work your way up the ladder to becoming a trusted advisor. That said, although sustainability isn’t yet on a par with security or cost in terms of procurement priorities, savvy channel partners should have one eye on the horizon and start to get their sustainability approach in order if they’re to reap the rewards in future.”