Consultants ramp up vertical cloud development

Changing customer needs have prompted partners such as TCS, PwC and EY to pursue industry-specific strategies around cloud computing; other IT channel news.

Consulting firms and systems integrators are pushing on with vertical cloud development, aligning with technology partners and acquiring companies to strengthen their market position.

Vertical clouds, also called industry clouds, offer features attuned to specific industry sectors or subsectors. Service providers view such clouds as way to help clients transform their businesses. The nascent field offers the potential to address specific customer needs that a traditional horizonal cloud would fall short of doing on its own.

Recent vertical cloud activity includes last week's partnership between Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), an IT services provider based in Mumbai, India, and Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services. As a partner for Microsoft's financial cloud, TCS said it provides industry knowledge and a pool of Microsoft-certified consultants. TCS also contributes cloud-based offerings such as its TCS BaNCS, a SaaS product line for retail, corporate and private banks, insurers and other financial firms. TCS BaNCS is available on the Azure Marketplace.

PwC (also known as PricewaterhouseCoopers), meanwhile, has acquired Applications Consulting Training Solutions (ACTS), a cloud engineering services company in Jacksonville, Fla. That transaction, disclosed last month, brings ACTS' financial services cloud skills to PwC, which focuses on industry-specific offerings as part of its cloud services. ACTS is a Microsoft Azure partner.

Vertical cloud push

Developments at TCS and PwC point to a growing vertical cloud movement among consultancies and other service providers. Accenture, Deloitte Consulting and EY also pursue industry clouds. Popular verticals include healthcare and financial services, in which IBM offers an industry cloud.

Customers' changing needs spur the current interest in industry clouds.

They expect a business outcome focused in an industry context.
Matt HobbsMicrosoft practice leader, PwC U.S.

"They expect a business outcome focused in an industry context," said Matt Hobbs, Microsoft practice leader for PwC U.S.

In previous years, corporate leaders wanted a cloud strategy, but standalone cloud migrations didn't generate the anticipated business return, he said. Now, the trend is toward closer alignment between an organization's industry-specific goals and cloud adoption. Top executives seek a digital business model in which the cloud plays a role, he added.

Alicia Johnson, consulting principal for technology transformation at EY, also noted the customer's need for more than cloud migration. "When companies move their work functions and workflows to an industry cloud, it requires more than just a lift and shift," she said. Industry cloud adoption calls for customers to rethink their operating models, she noted.

Industry cloud offerings aren't attractive for every business, noted Parthiv Shah, global head of cloud strategy and transformation at TCS. But for some businesses, an emphasis on configurable industry and cross-industry cloud offerings can improve their "digital re-imagination and corresponding business value," he said.

More developments ahead

EY is working on industry cloud offerings in the healthcare, power utilities and retail sectors. Retailers, for example, look to industry clouds as a means for optimizing inventory management, Johnson noted.

The consulting firm's industry cloud technology partners include Microsoft. EY and Microsoft last year agreed to collaborate on using cloud technologies to reinvent back-office operations in regulated industries. EY also collaborates with SAP on industry cloud offerings. Such alliances have become increasingly common as partners co-innovate to build vertical clouds.

Hobbs, meanwhile, said PwC will continue to look at acquisition candidates to bolster its cloud business.

Gartner pegs public cloud market at nearly $500B

The global public cloud services market will hit $494.7 billion in 2022, with IaaS and desktop as a service (DaaS) leading the way, according to Gartner.

IaaS will experience the highest year-over-year growth rate at 30.6%, according to the market research company. DaaS followed IaaS, with 26.6% growth. The arrival of hybrid work has sparked a move to DaaS, Gartner noted. The company forecast spending on PaaS, the third-fastest-growing cloud sector, to expand 26.1%.

End-user spending on public cloud services, across all sectors, will increase 20.4% in 2022, according to Gartner's projections.

Ingram Micro Cloud partners with Microsoft

Ingram Micro Cloud is working with Microsoft to improve user experience and offer an expanded catalog of Microsoft services on the Microsoft New Commerce Experience platform.

Ingram Micro Cloud helps cloud service providers transition to the per-seat, per-month or yearly licensing models for Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform and Windows 365 on the platform. Along with webinar training sessions, resources and monthly channel talks, partners can get support from Ingram Micro Cloud's Microsoft-dedicated champions in extended office hours.

The distributor has also partnered with ITagree, an IT services provider based in Auckland, New Zealand, to help partners with legal agreements for the New Commerce Experience.

One Identity expands partner program

One Identity, a unified identity security platform based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., expanded its multi-tiered Partner Circle Program for system integrators, value-added resellers, and global and technology alliances.

The provider has added training to the program to support customers' cloud needs, new identity and access management offerings, and recognition through partner of the year awards. The program also gives partners news and learning opportunities through features such as News on Demand and One Identity Partner Pulse.

The enhancements come with reports that One Identity added 600 new partners in financial year 2022, with more than 450 partners coming from the company's OneLogin acquisition.

Partner roster updates

  • Datadobi, an IT provider based in Leuven, Belgium, and Climb Channel Solutions, a distributor with headquarters in Eatontown, N.J., are ramping up their partnership to offer solutions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Climb channel partners can offer Datadobi's unstructured data management solutions, such as StorageMAP, across on-premises, remote and cloud environments.
  • Mendix, a Siemens business and low-code company in Boston, inked a partnership with global systems integrator Atos. The agreement lets Atos sell Mendix low-code platform in regions where Atos has a joint business collaboration with Siemens. Those regions include the Asia-Pacific region; Central, Northern and Southern Europe; and the Americas.
  • D&H Distributing will offer its resellers Neat's line of video collaboration devices. Neat's products integrate with Microsoft Teams and Zoom, according to the Harrisburg, Pa., distributor.
  • Radware, a cybersecurity company in Mahwah, N.J., inked a reseller agreement with Entelar, a distributor based in New Zealand. Entelar will expand its portfolio to include Radware's application and network security offerings.

Other news

  • Accenture Ventures, the venture capital arm of Accenture, invested in Strivr, a virtual reality training solutions provider based in Santa Clara, Calif. Employers using Strivr's VR technology can derive data insights from the technology to inform their skill development efforts. The strategic move comes with more than one billion workers predicted to need reskilling by 2030, according to The World Economic Forum. Strivr also joins Project Spotlight, Accenture Ventures' investment program that connects emerging software startups with Global 2000 firms.
  • ConnectWise, an MSP software company in Tampa, Fla., rolled out an incident response offering that gives service providers 24-hour access to cybersecurity analysts. The incident response service is available to the company's partners and MSPs that aren't partnering with ConnectWise.
  • Grid Dynamics Holdings, a digital transformation services company in San Ramon, Calif., launched a price optimization starter kit for Google's Vertex AI machine learning platform. The starter kit uses Vertex AI's ML and AutoML technology to help retailers and other businesses improve margins, sell-through rates and inventory turnover, according to Grid Dynamics.
  • Telos Corp., a cybersecurity solutions provider based in Ashburn, Va., unveiled its Telos Advanced Cyber Analytics offering, which provides automated threat intelligence and attribution of malicious activity.

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