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Fujitsu predicts shift in channel dynamics

Resellers will need to adapt their strategies as cloud computing model takes off

Fujitsu predicts shift in channel dynamics
Mark Wilson predicts that the expectations of systems integrators will change as new delivery models for cloud computing begin to emerge.

System integrators and corporate resellers will be required to rethink their offerings as more Middle East enterprises begin to adopt cloud computing, according to the head of Fujitsu Technology Solutions' business in the region.

The topic of web-based services has so far left the industry divided, with some parties expressing fears that the channel could be sidelined if it leads to vendors pursuing direct delivery sales models.

Mark Wilson, senior VP for MEA and India at Fujitsu, believes the "all embracing" nature of cloud computing is set to create opportunities for the channel to offer specialised skills and professionals services expertise that together are necessary to deliver an end-to-end solution.

He says solution providers need to accept their role will change in the future, although it won't alter their significance in the market.  

"Does it mean that vendors are not going to see channel partners as strategic? Far from it. I think there will just be a different expectation, especially from the corporate- and systems integrator-type markets," he said.

IDC research suggests the value of the global cloud computing space could be worth as much as US$42 billion within the next two years, although much of that figure is likely to come from markets such as the US.

One question that cloud computing throws up for the channel is around the area of customer ownership.

Wilson admits that enterprise customers generally want a "singular point of reference" - usually the vendor - to unite all of the strategic relationships and building blocks that comprise a cloud computing solution, but denied this meant the door would be slammed on the channel.

"Partners play an important role in any organisational strategy, especially for us in the emerging markets - I can't stress that enough," he said. "What you will probably find is a different type of system integrator being developed as we go forward in the market place and we will look for different things from system integrators. I think you will see a lot more partners moving up the value chain and those who don't will unfortunately become more marginalised because commoditisation just leads to a corrosion of margin."

Wilson added that the buzz around cloud computing reached its highest level last year, but said it "could still be a while" before regional businesses became comfortable with the idea of having their data hosted remotely.

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