Brett Harris, EMC (BH): Everybody is trying to etch out their little place, or big place, in some instances. The more traditional system integration or reseller organisations, they're pretty much, in most instances, developing some sort of strategy beyond virtualisation around Cloud, whether it's private or some sort of enterprise class public Cloud. Every part of the industry is fine-tuning strategy, and it's not just limited to the resellers and telcos. It's also the distributors. They're realising that their traditional customer is changing, so if they still want to be part of the action, they need to change their model as well.
Cam Wayland, Channel Dynamics (CW): Everybody knows we're leading the world in terms of the trends of virtualisation. The trend now is about solution selling and going back to basics -- and it's the transition period that has the greatest challenge for every organisation. How resellers and customers move from the CAPEX to OPEX is the trick. The smarter resellers are thinking more about the business outcome that they can help their customers achieve, rather than just saying 'You need Cloud or virtualisation and it goes from CAPEX to OPEX'. It means you can do more with less in terms of less operating costs. You can do things that, potentially, you hadn't thought possible thanks to virtualisation. Things like backup and DR and BC as a service is now possible now that the customer is virtualised. The smarter resellers are starting to invest in areas where they can differentiate, and being the trusted advisors, where they become a valuable business resource for their customer.
The customer then engages them in conversation, and asks 'Where should we go to achieve this business result?' And that's a challenge for the sales people. It's a different conversation from being a technology-driven conversation to being a business-led conversation.
Richard Higgins, Cisco Systems (RH): There is the partner piece. There is the customer piece. There is a linkage between the two obviously. We get a lot of people through the door, who have virtualised without any real thought of business process or mapping that virtualisation to process without a high-level of orchestration in place. A lot of our customers are in a bit of a tangled mess. When we look at the adoption of things like public Cloud, I can see that the adoption and interest rate in public Cloud has actually dropped around 15 to 20 points year-over-year. That tells us that a lot of customers are more interested in building out a private-type solution, with the capability of a public Cloud, but not really adopting the full public hybrid mentality straightaway. There is also a trend towards selective outsourcing, and having things like software as a service, and taking away the pain points around DR.
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