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In
the high-growth cloud services market, every advantage helps, and five key
channel partner competencies help make them indispensable and highly profitable,
a report from IT research firm Access Markets International (AMI) Partners
shows. Channel partners with one or more of the five competencies—business
analytics, unified communication and collaboration, business process
management, mobility, and infrastructure alignment—are expected to capture the
lion’s share of this growth opportunity over the next two years.

The
company’s "U.S. SMB Partner Competencies Assessment" turns the
spotlight on these partners that have proactively invested in developing their
skill sets, knowledge and expertise around these five competencies. Among the
72,000 partners in the United States that focus on the small to medium-size
business (SMB) segment, only 20 percent are currently proficient in two or more
of the high-value competencies.

The
AMI report noted high-value competency (HVC) partners tend to work with SMBs in
high-value industries, including financial services and health care. The
breadth of product offerings, coupled with vertical specialization, allows
these partners to cater to a more sophisticated SMB clientele, helping them
drive operational efficiencies, enhance productivity and reduce IT complexity.

"High-value
competency partners drive three times the market opportunity compared to other
SMB partners, and the margins they derive from these key solutions are about 25
percent higher than other partners,” said Avinash Arun, director of SMB
channels at AMI-Partners. Arun said a critical distinguishing factor of HVC
partners is their commitment to the cloud. HVC partners are also three times as
likely to already be experiencing success in the cloud, from a business and financial
perspective.

Some
of the key solutions offered by HVC partners include business intelligence,
CRM, unified communications, virtualization, infrastructure as a service and
mobility applications. In addition to profiling HVC partner segments, the AMI
report also provides a comparison of leading vendors’ relationships with HVC
partners.

"Their
success in the cloud is critical to the sustainability and growth of the
partner ecosystem," said Arun, "and to vendors who are betting
heavily on this transformation."

The
report focuses on five key partner competencies driving growth and creating
high value for vendors. The report profiles partners with these competencies to
help vendors benchmark, identify and target partners based on solutions focus
and capabilities.