Cloud giants court channel in bid to crack mid-market opportunities

Cloud giants such as AWS, Microsoft, Google and IBM have swung their gaze onto the channel as a means to sustain and drive their stellar growth rates; and their interest in the enterprise and mid-market space where competition is fierce will see them prioritise indirect partnerships to extend their reach, claims Canalys.

In Q1 2017 AWS maintained its dominance, holding a stable global market share of 31% on 43% revenue growth. Microsoft grew revenues by 93% and Google was up 74% compared to the same quarter a year ago, while IBM witnessed 38% revenue growth.

The overall worldwide cloud infrastructure services market was up 42% year-on-year to reach $11.4bn, according to Canalys.

"Competition for enterprise customers is intensifying among leading cloud service providers which are investing heavily to secure key national and global accounts," said Canalys Research Analyst Daniel Liu.

"Timing is crucial, as many large accounts are assessing, formulating and executing strategies to move existing workloads and infrastructure to the cloud and develop new types of workloads as part of digital transformation initiatives."

Cloud players are looking to the channel to expand their reach, especially when it comes to mid-market opportunities, says Canalys Senior Analyst Jordan De Leon. "The channel has become integral to winning in the enterprise, with top cloud players focusing on channel expansion plans," he said.

AWS has an established channel programme that is growing and is cited by the company as helping to win key global clients. And Google has revamped its partner programme to reflect the the technology and feature requirements of large enterprise customers.

"Go-to-market strategy, including both customer and channel partner engagement, will ultimately determine vendor success in this segment," stated De Leon.

"Larger enterprises will adopt a multi-cloud strategy to distribute risk. Ultimately, to challenge AWS, vendors will need deep financial resources to continue to participate and advance."