There's been a lot of talk about over the past year on how cloud computing may make the channel irrelevant.
This is simply not the case.
The channel represents a vital piece of the IT value chain, represented by everyone from the 1-man local IT guru to the world's largest systems integrators. These channel partners have built up the technical skills and domain expertise to advise companies large and small which results in trusted customer relationships, that sometimes span decades.
The activity of delivering custom technology solutions does not fundamentally change with cloud computing. What does change is how these solutions get delivered and cloud computing is forcing the channel to elevate the value they deliver to end customers. No longer can channel partners guarantee a tidy profit by reselling IT hardware and client-server operating systems. The challenge is for the channel to evolve with the changing economics that cloud computing brings to the IT industry. Channel partners that aren't able to shift their business model and up-level the value they deliver will likely lose revenue streams to the cloud that may have been coming from hardware and traditional software sales.
So what's been holding back the channel partner community from participating the cloud?
When it comes to cloud computing platforms, there hasn't been a vendor that's given the reseller channel a clear path to profitability in the cloud; most cloud platforms are priced for the end user/developer and don't allow the channel to share in revenue generation. Until now.
With the newly announced Force.com VAR (value-added reseller) Program, the channel now has a way to generate recurring revenues in the cloud. By allowing partners to markup our Force.com licenses based on the value of the custom apps they deliver to end customers and also own the renewal process, salesforce.com is unlocking the market opporunity of cloud computing for the channel. We're already seening enthusiastic response from the partner community – in fact, there were 14 partners signed up to be VARs when we launched this past week.
There's never been a better time to bring the cloud to your customers (and it doesn't hurt to make some money doing it either!) – better yet, we'll equip you with all the tools to build and sell cloud computing solutions, plus it's free to join our ecosystem….so get started today!