On a global level the cloud has gone from concept to reality for thousands of small and medium businesses and enterprises, and it is easy to see why. Cloud based business models have enabled organisations to reduce capital expenses, while increasing productivity and collaboration. Of course there were also challenges that had to be addressed such as concerns about data theft, loss of control of data, governance issues and privacy laws. Having addressed these, organisations around the world have been reaping benefits of the cloud.
In the Middle East however, we are still at a nascent stage with regard to cloud adoption. Generally speaking, decision makers are aware of the benefits that cloud can offer, but for many organisations, questions about implementation and security, as well as concerns about being able to access their applications and data at all times, have been stumbling blocks. Costs are also a concern for those that want to host their own datacentres, and this is especially relevant now as regional markets have cooled in the last few months.
Vendors and their partners in the channel have to keep these market dynamics in mind, along with the concerns potential customers have, if they wish to develop the regional market. But before they approach the market, they have to ensure that they have the talent and skills to not only sell solutions, but to properly deploy and support customers in the long run. It is also important for vendors and partners to engage and educate potential customers, since there are always cases where information is out-of-date or incorrect.
Distributors can invest in their own cloud solution centres to help partners sell solutions. These offerings can include IaaS, DBaaS, SaaS, PaaS, to provide partners with a complete cloud environment. Distributors need to conduct sessions for partners on market awareness to help them understand where opportunities exist.
“Regional market for cloud solutions is still in its infancy and has to be nurtured by vendors, distributors, partners”
“In the Middle East we are still at a nascent stage with regard to cloud adoption”
Within the region, large enterprises in sectors such as banking and finance, oil and gas, government, could benefit from a cloud-based model. Here, it is important to understand that these organisations generate and store volumes of sensitive data. The nature of the data generated, access to this data, its security and where it resides, may deter organisations from adopting a cloud-only based model.
A hybrid cloud might be the ideal way forward but for such organisations the ultimate goal would be to host datacentres within their own premises to ease access and security concerns. It is here that channel partners have the opportunity to sell complementary solutions, while also offering technical services to support the customer.
The next solution for large organisations is to turn towards off-site datacentres and here lack of local facilities comes into focus. These business entities will be unwilling to host their data in facilities that comply with US or European regulations.
Thankfully, in the not too distant future, regional datacentres and hosting services will become a reality, and will help these organisations embrace the cloud. Although there will still be concerns about loss of control of their data, the fact that the datacentre is within the region, abiding by regional laws and security guidelines, will help address these concerns.
The regional market for cloud solutions is still in its infancy, and has to be nurtured by vendors, distributors and their partners. It is also important that they offer tailor-made solutions that demonstrate tangible value to their customers because one thing is for certain, cloud solutions are here to stay.
Mohamed Naim is Regional Sales Manager Gulf at TechAccess.