"The reality is that until customers are emotionally ready to give it a go, and in a committed and caring partnership with their vendor that they trust, it's not something that they want to do... just yet. What they do want right now is a way to dip their toe in the water. They want the flexibility of a UCaaS model, without the restriction around it needing to be completely Cloud-based. How to consume, financially, seems to be more of interest than that of architecture."
IBM director Business Partner Organisation, Phil Cameron, said Cloud is actually about more than Cloud itself, its about a mix of several technologies at once, which makes the task difficult for some resellers.
"Few organisations have the expertise to actually find the right mix of infrastructure, service and software to resolve the real-world challenges of the digital economy -- Big Data, BYOD and application deployment. There is now a greater need for IT partners to provide technology consulting services to their customers," he said.
The BYOD question
BYOD, in particular, draws a lot of focus here, with Sellers adding it seems to be piggybacking off Cloud adoption. "Mobility has definitely gained a lot of its traction because of the Cloud. It effectively means that users are organising their own 'virtual server' where ever they are -- you can now take the office with you," he said.
However, Distribution Central's Frew thinks BYOD is mostly a fad. "Issues around BYOD have been a bit of a beat up. Most businesses with highly sensitive information issue their own phones. If you don't use that phone, you don't get access. So it's not a big deal," he said. While ARN's guest experts were unified in their belief that Cloud has defined 2013, the list of big flops for the year is long and varied.
Overall, the economy remains a sticking point, with most of the pundits agreeing that market conditions overall remain sluggish. The political mess surrounding the election also produced business uncertainty during the lead in.
Henderson said the post-election 'bounce' had been a disappointment, with many in the channel not seeing the boost predicted. However, Frew disagreed. "It's caused a boom for us, the Liberals getting in. We've seen a good quarter so far. It's added that level of business certainty that we weren't seeing earlier in the year."
The industry has also seen a lot of consolidation and acquisition, a trend Henderson thinks will continue into 2014. "A good example was NTT coming in and buying local business. This is only the beginning and this trend will continue into 2014.
"We will see more and more smaller partners merging, and more activity from international partners. This movement will change the industry's distribution model," he said.
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