Why is Cloud so Darn Hard for Resellers and Vendors?

Right about now, most “born in the cloud” resellers and vendors are smiling to themselves.  Especially when they look at resellers and vendors who grew up in the client/server era and are finding it so hard to embrace the new business and operating models that cloud demands – In many cases requiring a complete re-design and often starting-up from scratch for success.

It reflects in many ways the same challenges that people born before 1985 faced when dealing with the Internet, and the change is just as dramatic.


With Cloud we are at a new tipping point.

In a prior blog, we wrote about the hybrid cloud pivot and why that’s hard.  Selling true cloud, e.g.  multi-tenant, public cloud SaaS and IaaS offerings, and GETTING GOOD at it, is even harder.

Much has been written about the tactics required, such as compensation models and the challenges of moving from a “project profitability” model (the old way) to a “time to value” model.  But all of this glosses over the key fact that change of this sort is incredibly hard.  In our view success relies on three fundamentals without which vendors and VARs/SIs will fail to properly transition:

  1. Urgency/Awareness

  2. Leadership/Commitment

  3. All-in Mentality/Disruptive Willpower

Let’s unpack each of these.


This is founded on the belief that the organization is a “frog sitting in a warming pot” and that in a very short number of years, “the frog will be dead.”  If this belief does not reside in the heard to the CXO(s) and ultimately the CEO, the business is already or quickly approaching terminal illness.  The only conclusion the C-suite can arrive at in this content is that we have to eat our own children (the old model the scraps of on-prem deals still out there) before a competitor does.  This wakeup call is usually associated with losing deals to a cloud provider with whom the vendor/reseller did not even know they were competing!  The final swan song of this urgency period (along with a lot of sleepless nights)  is the transition into the next stage, picking a leader, making a commitment, funding and building a launch plan.


This contains a lot not the least of which is the investment that is needed to fund the transition.  But funding only happens when Urgency transitions into Commitment.  This is a very difficult pivot because Commitment without Clarity and Confidence in the ‘new way and outcome’ is hard to establish.  It requires learning what it means to be good at cloud.  Fundamentally, the leader has to go to school, hire outside, and really become a student who consumes all the know how he can find to turn his commitment into a rock solid brief that not only must we change but that we can change and become successful.

All-in Mentality/Disruptive Willpower

This final element might be thought to be part of Leadership, but it is unique in that successfully transitioning to cloud is about leaving the past behind.  Vendors and partners will not abandon their on-premise legacy, but the forward moving mojo of the business, from marketing, pre-sales, sales, delivery, customer success management, upselling has to be ALL CLOUD, all-in.  And to do that, you have to be willing to destroy the old business model, operating model, and even opportunities.  You have to be willing to take deals that make less money (at least initially), you have to lead with cloud with new opportunities and not fall back on what you know or where you have your strongest suite, which is on-prem.

As you read through this list, you are probably saying either a) thank god I was born after 1985 or b) HELP!

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