John Zanni, Vice President of Service Provider Marketing and Alliances at Parallels, spoke at the 6th TCA Channel Chief Summit in Orlando. Zanni presented on studies that Parallels has conducted globally about the SMB space and cloud services. That data is extensive.
Parallels sells through a wide range of partners - LEC, ISV, VAR, MSP, Cable, VAD (see diagram). It provides an easy way for SMB clients to by cloud services through the APS system, which through API's provides for deployment and activation form some 300+ cloud service providers, including TCA's own Alteva.
One thing that Zanni said was that Integration would be a factor in cloud service sales. That will be a problem for carriers. VZ bought Terremark for this. EarthLink has acquired a couple of MSP's for this. NTT grabbed Centerstance to add to its customer solutions portfolio.
The TalkingCloud 100 is filled with Google Apps Integrators. For the cloud to work for the business, there will be integration, deployment and on-boarding help needed. This is becoming a sector by itself.
Evolve IP just snagged IPiphany, a managed IT provider in Chicago.
In the end it will all be about the UX - the user experience. That is the battle to win.