Cloud Alliance Responds To CIF Criticism

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The Cloud Industry Forum has misunderstood the Cloud Alliance, it claims, following heavy criticism

The UK Cloud Alliance has dismissed stinging criticism by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF), claiming that the organisation has misunderstood the purpose of the new venture.

The Cloud Alliance (CA) was launched yesterday as a vendor partnership between companies offering-cloud related services for SMEs, delivered via Star’s one-stop-shop cloud platform.

But the CIF, which aims to build standards for the cloud industry, seems to have taken exception to the alliance’s formation and responded by branding it a cynical and potentially misleading commercial enterprise.

However, Grant Tanner, (pictured) Business Development Director at Star responded by saying he was disappointed by the reaction of the CIF.

“I actually think that they should be quite welcoming for what we’re trying to do here. We’re not trying to make a standards committee. We’re trying to get value for customers on things that they want to procure and they want to procure differently to the way they have in the past,” he said.

He also said that the CA had been quite forthcoming about its commercial intentions already.

“In no way is this a disruptive alliance. What it is, is a commercial alliance aimed at giving customers a different way of sourcing and procuring cloud products and services.”

Angry response

It was in an announcement this morning that the CIF Chairman Andy Burton heavily criticised the CA.

“Apparently a rigorous process was implemented (by Star themselves we assume) to whittle down literally ‘thousands’ of would-be cloud providers,” said Burton.

“Unsurprisingly, the only firms making the cut were firms that don’t compete with Star, and many who they have historically worked with on opportunities.”

He continued: “The fact that their basis of operation is quoted as  ‘Members of the UK Cloud Alliance don’t compete outwardly with Star or any other member’, basically means there is absolutely no independence or transparency whatsoever (unless of course transparency is limited to a set of integrated proposals from a pre-conceived supply chain not open to competition).”

Friends across the Channel

Burton also hit out at the Cloud Alliance’s inferences regarding the future of the IT Channel.

“The fact that Star also seems to infer that the IT Channel, that has supported the UK SMB market for many years through its expert and trusted relationships, has no more value is also wholly incorrect.”

Tanner said: “The value added reseller (VAR) and legacy channels are moving to cloud service so perhaps an alliance for them that is focusing on cloud services may be quite good for them.

“It’s not there to compete against VARs, it’s there to enable VARs but our experience is that many of the VARs do not want to move to that model just yet.”

Things were bound to be volatile between the two organisations. Prior to launch, Star CEO Ricky Hudson had dismissed the CIF as a “talking shop” and the CIF’s Burton is also the CEO of Fasthosts, a competitor to Star in the provision of cloud services.

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