10 Cloud Partner TypesEntry posted Jun 9 by Darren Bibby , tagged Cloud Computing117 ViewsTitle:10 Cloud Partner TypesEntry:While IDC has an overall partnering taxonomy, a list of Cloud-oriented partner types is needed to help segment and...


10 Cloud Partner Types

Entry posted Jun 9 by Darren Bibby , tagged Cloud Computing
10 Cloud Partner Types

While IDC has an overall partnering taxonomy, a list of Cloud-oriented partner types is needed to help segment and describe the different roles that solution providers are playing in the market today.  Our Software Channels research team has been thinking about this list for several months now and it's time to share it more broadly.  I'd love to hear any comments you have either here or at dbibby - idc - com. 

There are 10 partner types:  7 based on cloud applications and 3 based on cloud infrastructure.  We realize that "Partner Type" is probably not the perfect way to describe this list, as many solution providers will take on more than one of these items.  Perhaps Cloud Activity Taxonomy might be more helpful. 


Here they are:

Application-Focused Partner Types:

Partner Type



Cloud Application Provider / SaaS Provider

Maps back to ISV

Complementary Independent Software Vendor (ISV) that provides its application or functionality as a service.

Financial Force ( partner), Fresh TL (IBM LotusLive partner)

IT-Focused Cloud Application Consultant

Maps back to Systems Integrator

Solution provider that consults with customers on the IT aspects of cloud applications.  This could involve setting up or configuring infrastructure software applications or integrating cloud applications with each other or with on-premise systems.

Appirio (, Google partner),   

Business Domain Focused Cloud Application Consultant

 Maps back to Systems Integrator

Solution provider with specific domain expertise (e.g. horizontal such as HR, or vertical such as insurance) that consults with customers on how to best use their cloud application. This partner often consults on business process. 

DemandGen (Eloqua partner)

Cloud Training and Education Provider

Maps back to Service Provider: Training and education

Solution provider with specific expertise that trains customers and other partners on how to use cloud applications. 

Bluewolf ( partner) 

Cloud Application Agent / Reseller

Maps back to Value-Added Reseller

A traditional type of reseller partner that resells or refers public cloud applications.

Strategic SaaS (Microsoft Office 365 partner) SADA Systems (Google Docs partner)

Business Services Provider Agent

Non-traditional partner type

A non-traditional partner that refers a cloud application to its customers as an add-on to its normal operations.  This company provides non-technical, business services.  The cloud application being referred usually has close ties to the company's primary business services offerings.  This partner's key value is its close relationship with its customers, usually based on a specific topic or domain.  This is usually a referral relationship and not a resale relationship. 

A travel agency that refers expense management applications, An accounting firm that refers accounting applications

Cloud Business Process Outsourcer

Maps back to Business Process service providers

A company that leverages cloud applications to provide a business outcome.  The outsourcer often "white-labels" one or more cloud applications so that its customers only see one brand throughout their service experience.  The

Company usually charges a total fee per month for its service (often per user).  This is sometimes referred to as Software within a Service.  This is still a "partner" to a software provider since the Cloud BPO is a channel to selling further seats or usage of the core Cloud application.


Infrastructure-Focused Partner Types

Partner Type



Cloud Builder / Integrator

Maps back to Systems Integrator

IT-focused solution provider that helps to build private cloud infrastructures and / or integrate them with public / private cloud applications. 

Perficient (partnered with IBM)

Cloud Infrastructure Provider / Hoster

Maps back to Service Provider

Company that offers infrastructure (ie. data center) and charges customers and partners for access to it on a per month or per computing power / time basis.  This category ranges from large hosting providers that have their own data centers to smaller managed service providers that partner for their data center capacity. 

Rackspace, Savvis

Cloud Technology Provider

Maps back to Product-Oriented partner (ISV, IHV)

Solution provider that provides technology offerings (e.g hardware, software, services) to help customers and other partners with cloud projects. This could involve development tools, management, billing, metering and monitoring services. 

Akamai, Oracle

Let us know what you think, especially if you have more examples of each of these partner types to share. 

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