UK Cloud Alliance Launches To Address SMB Needs

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A group of British companies are forming a new alliance to address the cloud needs of UK businesses

A new cloud alliance will officially launch on Tuesday to address the cloud needs of medium-sized businesses in the UK that are struggling to source the revelant cloud skills and products.

Known as the UK Cloud Alliance, the consortium is led by founding member and IT and communications service provider Star, and consists of 17 cloud specialists all based in the UK. The Alliance members have all been screened and audited to help provide medium-sized businesses with the cloud skills they need.

Speaking to eWEEK Europe UK in a separate interview, Star explained that many medium-sized companies are currently struggling to source much needed cloud skills and know how, as they cannot afford the enterprise-class solutions provided by the likes of IBM and Accenture.

UK Cloud Alliance

The UK Cloud Alliance has therefore been designed  to provide medium-sized UK businesses with a collection of different cloud technology choices in a number of different specialist areas such as hardware migration telephony, security, IT support, and virtualisation. Peace of mind is provided by a strict code of conduct for Alliance members, as well as the usual Service Level Agreements and contractual terms.

“Alliance members work together to provide end-to-end services and not to re-sell each other’s products by artificially inflating prices,” said the UK Cloud Alliance.

“Beneath all the hype, cloud computing is very much in demand by a significant and growing proportion of medium-sized UK businesses,” said Ricky Hudson, CEO of Star. “This is about serving up UK technology to UK businesses because they like being served by local organisations that they can get to know, grow with and trust.

“Many of our customers are of a similar size to Star which means we share common cultural values and greatly appreciate the opportunity to work with each other,” he added. “It’s a bit like a Cloud Club, and whilst any customer is welcome to join we find that usually we tend to work with the most innovative businesses that are very forward thinking, especially in their attitude towards technology.”

“The Alliance looks to work in partnership with customers, which is a way of working that doesn’t suit everyone, and we don’t claim the Alliance is the solution to every business problem out there,” said Mark Kirkland, CEO of Glasshouse and UK Cloud Alliance member. “What we do say is that the UK Cloud Alliance is a great way to leverage the benefits of cloud computing from a small and local collective of professional technology specialists.

Mid Tier Gap

“What we do together is combine our skills in order to serve UK businesses better than the technology that serves them today, so they are less restricted by their past technology choices and investment decisions,” Kirkland added.

And it seems that at least one analyst agrees that the mid-tier market is well suited to the arrival of the UK Cloud Alliance.

“With cloud computing accelerating faster in the SME market than with multinational corporations, and with the big vendors continuing to struggle to attract mid-market customers, Star’s Cloud Alliance may well be the right answer for those companies looking for and end-to-end cloud solution from a range of local ‘pre-vetted’ specialist partners,” said UK analyst firm TechMarketView.

The arrival of the UK Cloud Alliance will see it join other cloud groups including the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) UK & Ireland; and IBM’s European Cloud Computing Lab.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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