Monday, November 06th 2017 by Kirill Bensonoff
Although analysts can’t agree on exactly what “the cloud” is or is not, there’s no question that it’s growing. IDC forecasts 24% growth to $122 billion in 2017 while Gartner expects it to reach a quarter trillion dollars in 2017 on 18% growth this year.

While the number you pick might change your pitch deck, the bottom line is that one half of IT outsourcing deals will include cloud adoption strategies, which is all good news for MSPs. And despite the immense size of the cloud opportunity, 55% of MSPs still didn’t have a cloud offering a year ago, meaning there’s plenty of territory to stake your claim.

Who’s leading the way in cloud services platforms?

Amazon might still be the 800-pound gorilla when it comes to cloud services platforms, but there’s plenty of growth to go around. Microsoft’s Azure platform remains locked in as the clear No. 2 player and is outpacing Amazon’s growth rate (61.1% for Microsoft vs. AWS’s 45.9% in 2016), although AWS is starting from a much larger number. Meanwhile, Google has cemented its position as No. 3 and literally doubled its cloud business in 2016, although it is still in the early days of building out a mature channel ecosystem.

While those may be familiar names in the IT world, some prominent tech titans are conspicuously absent from the top cloud rankings. Notably, Oracle is nowhere to be seen – its cloud offering is dubbed by Gartner a “bare-bones ‘minimum viable product’” – and IBM’s next-generation cloud vision still doesn’t have a public release date.

At the same time, there’s a new kid on the block that’s rocketing up the charts – Chinese e-commerce titan Alibaba – although its offering is still considered a watered-down version of its suite outside of China and it’s basically a “me too” player when it comes to new features and innovation.

As an MSP, you probably shouldn’t put all of your eggs in one basket, even if that basket is called AWS and has a 44% market share. Just like having to support Linux and Windows in the “old days,” MSPs need to handle cloud deployments in multiple environments to satisfy customer demand and support third-party apps that may not have taken a cross-platform approach.

This need to manage services across different environments makes simple and efficient management tools essential to any MSP with designs on scaling its business. Utilities that abstract the intricacies of specific cloud platforms and provide consistency are key to keeping staff trained and clients satisfied.

Which apps are moving to the cloud first?

Wondering which cloud apps are going to continue driving this growth? Advertising is expected to retain its title as the top area of cloud investment, growing from $90 million in 2016 to more than $150 million in 2020. While cloud-based business process services are currently the second-biggest cloud market by revenue, that area is expected to slow down its growth and be surpassed by application services and system infrastructure services by 2020.

On the security side of the house, Gartner says cloud-based identity proofing apps and tools are a hot topic along with securing cloud-based applications and platforms. Plus, cloud brokerage services are predicted to grow into a $160 billion market.

In the human capital management space, Workday, Ultimate Software, Oracle, and SAP are leading the pack in the cloud. It’s still early days in this market, as many companies choose to keep these solutions on premise, but 30% of the market is expected to be cloud-based by 2020.

And don’t forget about Office 365. The desktop productivity software from Microsoft has jumped into the cloud and isn’t looking back. Many of the features enterprise users value are now available only online, and it’s clear that Microsoft is pushing its user base to the cloud with this product and licensing model. Helping clients migrate to Office 365 is a great starting point for MSPs to grow their cloud offering and make their customers more comfortable with the technology.
Request a Demo