Cloud vendors’ services partners are likely to play an increasingly critical role in the successful implementation of hybrid solutions and, more broadly, hybrid cloud environments for end customers in the coming year, according to analyst firm, Technology Business Research (TBR).
According to TBR cloud and software practices practice manager, Allan Krans, this expected increased reliance on partners is largely due to the anticipation that hybrid cloud and hybrid IT management tools will take on greater importance in 2018.
“Although cloud has simplified much of the technical complexity of traditional IT for customers, hybrid implementations return it,” Krans said in a paper prepared for TBR’s 2018 Predictions series.
“Management headaches related to cloud implementations have been growing as the scale and scope of solutions expands, and integration across clouds and on-premises environments undoubtedly magnifies these challenges.
“So, while the desire for solutions that can be portable, fully integrated and flexibly delivered has never been higher, the management of workloads being implemented into sprawling hybrid environments will remain the bottleneck for how much additional hybrid adoption will occur in 2018,” he said.
According to Krans, in addition to driving innovation at the tools and platforms level, hybrid infrastructure will also increase demand for services engagements.
This is where opportunities for partners arise, Krans suggests.
“The skills needed to deploy and manage hybrid solutions, from technology and complexity perspectives, are distinct issues that customers need to address as part of their hybrid implementations,” he said.
“Customers not only have to grapple with how to manage and control cloud solutions within their organisations, but they also have to manage cloud solutions at scale and during integration with other IT assets.
“For these reasons, cloud vendors, and more importantly, their services partners, will play a critical role in the successful implementations of hybrid solutions and broader hybrid environments for their joint end customers,” he said.
In addition to a surging demand for hybrid cloud services from partners next year, Krans flagged a number of other trends that are likely to hit the IT landscape in 2018.
Among his predictions is that the changing profile of the end cloud buyer will impact the types of services delivery methods and vendors selected for cloud engagements.
Specifically, much larger and more diverse sets of decision makers will be required to facilitate cloud business value versus just the technical or financial benefit, Krans suggested. This, in turn is likely to see integration across functions, delivery methods and stakeholders determine cloud success in 2018.
“Like all market trend changes, the one that will play out is grounded and driven by the customers who commit real dollars into products and services being offered in the market,” Krans said.
“The shift toward a business focus for cloud investments will be illustrated by changes in who is involved in decisions, the process for making decisions and the objectives for the ultimate solutions.
“Essentially, expect changes in nearly every dynamic within cloud buying in 2018,” he said.
Meanwhile, Krans also forecasts further consolidation in the cloud vendor landscape next year, albeit as the cloud market itself sees more fragmented areas.
According to the analyst, this dual dynamic will be driven by a shift from cloud delivery itself to management and applications that add value.
It is likely to result in fewer vendors delivering core cloud services, while more will add vertical functional or management skills on top of solutions offered by leading cloud providers.
“There will be interesting developments in areas of cloud that have more room for differentiation, cloud applications, and professional services for cloud and hybrid environments,” Krans said.
“As platform vendors such as Google look to make cloud services available in environments outside traditionally hosted offerings and other platform leaders win market share on stark functionality differences, we expect to see applications vendors embrace a multi-platform partner approach, like Apttus has done with Salesforce and Microsoft,” he said.