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Cloud computing is making IT so inexpensive and accessible that soon, there won’t be any real profit margins unless an IT solution is delivered as part of a new application or significantly transforms an existing business process.

That’s the wake-up call Eduardo Kassner, chief technology and innovation officer for the One Commercial Partner program at Microsoft delivered this week at the Ingram Micro ONE 2018 conference.

On the plus side, Kassner also told conference attendees that solution providers that can deliver those types of business consulting engagement usually wind up managing those solutions.

“We’re going from a relationship sale to an innovation sale,” says Kassner. “It’s a consulting play that almost always winds up with a managed service.”  

Most of those opportunities will be driven by line of business (LOB) executives rather than internal IT organizations, adds Kassner. In fact, Kassner cited industry analyst predictions that suggest that 60 percent of all computing will be on a public cloud by 2020.

Kassner notes there are also significant opportunities to provide solutions that analyze and secure all the data in the cloud. Less than 20 percent of the data stored in the cloud is secure and less than one percent of it has been analyzed, says Kassner. In fact, Kassner notes that Microsoft partners that have embraced advanced solutions delivered via the cloud are growing 300 percent faster than those that have not.

The cloud and AI

In general, Kassner says organizations are now moving workloads to the cloud at an unprecedented rate. However, there are also limitations to cloud computing that need to be overcome. It’s expected that by 2020, 50 zettabytes of data could be stored in the cloud. The trouble with this, is that amount of data exceeds the total amount of capacity available in all the data centers that make up the cloud. Without some way to reduce the cost of those data centers by employing, for example, solar power, the ability to drive emerging artificial intelligence (AI) applications that require massive amounts of data might be curtailed, says Kassner.

In the meantime, Kassner says solution providers don’t need to hire data scientists to drive innovative applications. A digital transformation project can be easily driven using chatbots and application programming interfaces that invoke AI services that are available as a cloud service. Kassner shared a prediction with conference attendees that forecasts a total of $1.2 trillion in wealth will move to organizations that are able to take advantage of AI services to first disrupt their industries at the expense of existing competitors.

At the same time, Kassner says solution providers need to think responsibly about the AI engagements they agree to participate in. There no doubt AI can be dangerous, which requires solution providers to adopt a code of ethics when it comes to building these solutions.

It may take a little while longer for AI services delivered via the cloud to transform the world. But, as far as the IT channel is concerned, that transformation is already well underway.

Photo:  zffoto / Shutterstock.

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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