Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Looking for proof that the move to cloud computing is already underway? Just ask IT solution provider Ultramatics. At the beginning of 2010 when the company spoke with its customers to discuss their IT needs, more than a third said they were looking to buy some kind of technology as a service, according to David Torrisi, director of managed and hosted services at the company.

To demonstrate its expertise in cloud computing to its customers, employees at Ultramatics are pursuing IBM IT cloud certifications, formally rolled out by IBM last month. And while the certifications have not translated into more business, they have demonstrated a level of “credibility,” says Torrisi.

“We have been working with many customers… with a lot of their solutions in the SOA integration space and this gives us a level of credibility.” Based in Tampa Bay, Fla, the 100-staff company sells primarily to SMBs, and he says they are “seriously looking at cloud solutions.”

Subscribe to
Channel Insider. Click here for our ultra-quick email newsletter
registration form.

The cloud computing market will reach $160 billion by next year, according to Merrill Lynch, and for IBM and its channel partners the time to get cloud-certified is right now.

IBM announced cloud certifications earlier this year.

MSI Systems Integrators, like Ultramatics, says the certifications demonstrate to customers that the company understands what’s happening in this segment, and differentiate the company from competitors.

As an IBM Premiere Business Partner with 450 staff, half of them engineers or engineering types, being able to show technical expertise is critical, says Phil Sauvageau, MSI’s chief operating officer.

“I think that is really the value customers are looking for.”

The Omaha, Neb.-based solution provider holds more than 1,000 vendor certifications, and since 95 percent of its business is related to IBM, the company believes that keeping in step with IBM is essential.

“The world is changing and I think that the cloud is going to become more and more important to how people compute.” More and more customers have been looking at the IT infrastructure and what role and impact the cloud will have, so MSI started expanding into cloud-related offerings two years ago, he says. It developed a number of services including cloud assessment services.

“We wanted to understand cloud better than anybody else.”  Sauvageau says clients are looking for some level of credibility when talking about cloud… (and) “what we’re trying to do is build up our credibility and why you should talk to us about cloud. Any certification we get is a big thing to us and our customers.”

Joe Iovinelli CEO of  SmartSource, a technical staffing organization, does a lot of work in the channel, and he says the most common request is they want people with certifications first. It’s a lot different in the end-user space where they often don’t even know the certifications exist.

“For consultants, the more certifications, the better. Clients feel more comfortable if they have them.”