Ever since the cloud has appeared and rapidly expanded, many have warned that it would rain on the parade of several ICT channel players, even threatening to wash some of them away entirely. Those said to be 

especially at risk of extinction due to the advent of the cloud and the subsequent expanding software as a service (SaaS) market are traditional software and hardware resellers.

Lutz Blaeser, MD of Intact Security, says that although the future for resellers is undeniably changing, the outlook might not be quite as cloudy as everyone had predicted it would be. In fact, he says he believes their
future is far from over.

“I believe that there will always be a need for the traditional IT value-added resellers (VARs) and reseller channel partners.

“Companies will always need to buy their enterprise software from specialist partners, not only to show them the various options available to them and help them to make the best selection possible to suit their
business’s particular goals and needs, but also to get their assistance with the installation of the product – which can often be rather complex – deploying the new systems, training their personnel on how to use it, as
well as to provide them with ongoing support and continuous upgrades,” Blaeser explains.

“After all, the term ‘reseller and/or integrator’ has traditionally always been used to describe businesses that were involved in the resale of hardware and boxed software and also grouped those sales with some
installation and maintenance services offerings.”

Earlier this year, an IDC study revealed that SaaS is expected to grow six times faster than the traditional software and licenses market, with forecasts estimating that it will reach over $40 billion in revenue by 2014, as
more businesses continue to shift from traditional IT to cloud and SaaS.

SAP AG, one of the largest developers of business-management software, reported its first software-sales decline in more than three years. Even its software licenses, which are always a good indicator of future
income for a company, fell about 3% to $1,3-billion.

Blaeser says that the solution is for traditional software vendors to develop and add more cloud-centric applications and solutions to their portfolios.

“VARs can’t ignore the reality that an increasing amount of critical business processes are being transferred to the cloud.

“The fear is that they would lose their existing client base to cloud computing providers, but VARs and channel partners have a huge advantage over cloud providers, because they have already built up a solid, ongoing
relationship with end-users and SMBs and have won their trust by providing them with continual after-sale support.

“They can still use this trusted relationship to establish themselves as white label cloud partners and introduce cloud computing to their clientele.

“By becoming a cloud reseller by way of a white label cloud partnership, the VAR will get the full technical support from the cloud provider to ensure that the customer’s cloud migration process happens seamlessly
and painlessly,” Blaeser concludes.