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Brian is one of the titans of the technology services arena with more than 25 years experience in the field, 10 of which were served as Senior Director of Andersen Consulting's (now Accenture's) global Software Intelligence unit.

10 responses to “The Cloud, ERP and the Channel Partners”

  1. Wayne Schulz

    Interesting post on Cloud Computing. I’m not sure that it’s telling us anything we don’t already know (or haven’t said). Overall I think most VARS will be way too optimistic on how much/fast/success they’ll have with building out niche add-ons for specific industries. VARS will also vastly underestimate the competition in this area (AKA – if the VAR can build a niche product that has more than a handful of buyers don’t think some body shop overseas won’t jump in if there’s money to be made).

    Perhaps the greatest revenue opportunity might be for an App store type of business similar to what Apple/Android have where small purchases can be made.

    Unfortunately the people in the best position to make money on this are the publishers themselves.

    I don’t know that there is going to be a huge upcoming market for pure VARS to implement cloud ERP. I still think cloud ERP will have to be an accessory to whatever service VARS offer and not the only service (which is the case with most on-premise ERP).

    Some SaaS players are trying the “you’ll make a margin forever pitch” — which I think is laughable. At some point SaaS providers are going to hit a brick wall of earnings and they’ll be forced to cut margins to VARS just like on-premise publishers. Of course the news of the margin cut will be delivered in some email that announces changes to “our MUTUAL customers”…

    Rinse. Wash. Repeat.

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  3. Si Chen

    This is a great article. Thanks for the detailed and thorough analysis.

    I think you are pointing out the natural evolution of service providers’ businesses. As business software moves to the cloud, it has become more standardized, less regional, and less maintenance intensive. The partners who focused on installation and maintenance in local markets will eventually disappear. The ones who focus on business level solutions will find more potential customers and be much more successful in the cloud.

  4. Barbara Wilbur

    I believe the cloud does change our typical VAR model. I think building a vertical will be one way a VAR can survive and even thrive but I think Wayne makes a good point. The creating of the app itself can be easily farmed out and will probably become similar to Google Labs where they can float their idea first. Because of that, I think the other area a partner can continue to add value is in the expertise within the vertical. A VAR may not write the app but they are the expert on water testing companies or long term care facilities. That means partners will need to know the industry, the software (probably more than one) the way they use CRM and the regulations of the industry, if there are any. Then they can bundle a pack of services, videos, classes, whatever, geared around that industry. I also think it may be a broader vertical. Instead of “water testing companies” it becomes ” on-site service companies in the commercial market”.

    Doing more in less time means less personalization for customers. This is really not a new idea (think McDonalds) but it does create two levels of services. (Think Ruth Chris Steak House instead of McD’s). Some customers will continue to use the Ruth Chris’s and some want the McD’s. Both options will be more common when typically they only had the option of the steakhouse!.

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  7. Brett beaubouef

    Thank you for the insight. I am excited about Cloud ERP, yet I like to take a balanced approach. Just as ERP was deemed the panacea for all business automation pains, Cloud ERP is positioned as a revolutionary approach to deploying an ERP solution. Cloud ERP provides a solution that is flexible, adaptable, scalable, efficient, and affordable. Customers can enjoy painless upgrades, rapid deployment, and easy customization along with availability “anywhere at anytime”! Practically speaking, Cloud ERP is just another deployment option available to customers. The activities required for an “on premise” ERP implementation are also required for Cloud ERP. The scope and responsibility for the implementation activities may be different but most assuredly they are still required. The following article will provide more insight on the impacts that Cloud ERP will have on the entire ERP lifecycle.

    http://gbeaubouef.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/cloud-erp/

  8. Frank Ross

    Isn’t it better to have a subscription to a SaaS software solution provider? Many cloud based software solutions are priced the same as SaaS products. However, in SaaS it is more productive and convenient as you will have your own unique system. I am telling all this from my experience, using cloud and switching to SaaS. There were problems with the cloud apps integration and we chose Workforcetrack , SaaS provider, and it is much better than our cloud services on Azura.

  9. Nicole

    Thanks for the detailed insight about ERP-Solution. Cloud ERP-Solution is the best software provider for any kind of businesses. We`ve been using Cloud ERP for 4 years now.

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