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AMI report: Competencies will help SMBs with cloud services

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before: Vendors want VARs to focus on specialization.

Whether it’s IBM seeking specialized partners or Autodesk honing in on partner specialties, this isn’t a new trend. But Access Markets International (AMI) recently  surveyed 650 SMB VARs, and it would appear that vendor desire for specialized competencies will be a factor in the cloud computing services market.

Based on the types of solutions partners offer, growth areas, margins and skill sets, AMI came up with five high-value competencies (HVCs) that VARs can be judged on: Business analytics (BA), unified communication and collaboration, business process management, mobility and infrastructure alignment. These competencies are then rated. So  for a partner  to get a BA competency, they have to offer a substantial amount of on-premises and cloud BA solutions (about 25-30% total, according to AMI).

AMI queried each respondent for 35 minutes on their experience with the competencies and maintains that because these competencies provide higher growth and margins, they will help partners have cloud success.

Of the 650 respondents, 45-50% had at least one competency and 15-20% had two or more. Avinash Arun, director of channels at AMI, said that these numbers are a continuation of a changing landscape and a sign of the all-in-one partner’s demise.

“Once partners have isolated competencies, offering cloud services becomes easier,” Arun said. “One-third of respondents with at least one competency offer some form of Software as a Service (SaaS) whereas only one-tenth of partners without competencies provide SaaS.”

Arun said that 15-20% of SMB VARs are presently getting revenue from the cloud, but over 25% with one of these competencies are getting cloud revenue.

Competencies have always been important to vendors, not customers, and some SMB VARs have said that their work in the field should take precedent over competencies. But as cloud services become more prominent, VARs who didn’t value specific competencies before may need to need to adjust on the fly.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Pat Ouellette, Associate Editor, at , or follow us on twitter.

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