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Cloud a big threat to distributors, new study says

CloudDistribution

If cloud computing is a threat to the broadline distributors such as Ingram Micro and Tech Data; well they sure aren’t showing it.

But a new whitepaper from IT user non-profit association CompTIA found that cloud computing does pose new financial and technology challenges to the distributors.

According to the new CompTIA whitepaper entitled: The Role of IT Distribution in a Cloud World, the impact of cloud computing is being felt in particular by the “middlemen” in the IT product and service channel – the IT distributors.

Carolyn April, director, industry analysis, CompTIA said unlike traditional IT products with clearly defined architectures and feature sets, cloud computing technology is by design more virtual and decentralized in nature. From a distributor’s point of view, this makes the technology more difficult to move through a supply chain or  to ‘pick, pack and ship.’

“As if these transactions weren’t challenging enough, distributors must also contend with the ongoing disintegration of traditional product categories, which adds a layer of uncertainty to technology development,” April added.

In the The Role of IT Distribution in a Cloud World whitepaper, CompTIA details some of the steps distributors have taken to expand their relevance in the cloud market. These moves include acquisitions of companies to strengthen their cloud business lines; and the creation of new logistical capabilities built specifically for cloud resellers and providers.

For example, Ingram Micro acquired SoftCom Inc., a Toronto-based cloud marketplace and global service provider this past September. And, Ingram also has more than 100 cloud solutions and services from 40 different cloud vendors in its Ingram Cloud Marketplace portfolio.

However, the market upheaval caused by cloud computing is likely to result in the need for a new type of provider – one that can aggregate multi-vendor technologies at scale across both physical and virtual boundaries to deliver secure and reliable solutions to meet customers’ business, technology and regulatory needs, the CompTIA whitepaper reported.

CompTIA’s April also noted that for the past 20 years, no one type of company has done that better than the industry’s wholesale distributors. “If they play their cards right, they could position themselves as the nexus of cloud computing,” she added.

The latest CompTIA research on the cloud market finds that channel partners plan to use distributor cloud services in several ways:

  • 57 per cent – technical support for cloud solutions;
  • 35 per cent – aggregation of cloud services;
  • 35 per cent – data centre accessibility and hosting services;
  • 33 per cent – vetting and evaluating cloud service providers or solutions; and
  • 25 per cent – relationship brokering with other providers of cloud solutions.