Cloud computing, once acclaimed by the IT industry as the next big thing, has not proven to be an economic boost for the channel, as was previously suggested by a number of industry luminaries.

This is the view of Andy Robb, CTO at Duxbury Networking, a long-time sceptic of the benefits of cloud computing from the channel’s perspective.

“Within the channel, there has always been be a direct link between the services it has offered and the end user – often via an on-premises server. Now, with new cloud-based platforms, such as Infrastructure as a Service [IaaS], Platform as a Service [PaaS] and many others, this link is broken and so is the value chain.”

Robb says the channel has to revise its thinking if it is to gain value from the current cloud computing surge. However, it should not see the cloud as a threat, in terms of selling less “tin” (physical equipment), but as an opportunity to market new-generation services-orientated offerings to customers looking to optimise their cloud experiences.

“When a customer has a cloud platform in place, the role of the channel should be to help the organisation achieve its business goals within the cloud context. This could entail selling software designed to enhance or augment existing cloud services.

“There is still space for the channel in this scenario, but in terms of offering ‘the cloud’ as a channel product….. I don’t think it works,” says Robb. “At Duxbury Networking we have successfully shifted our cloud-related focus to a more services-linked model in a move which has been unequivocally supported by our channel partners.”