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Vox Channeli: WaaS (Not WaaS)

According to our latest reader survey, demand for Workspace-as-a-Service offerings is fairly strong, but interest among channel pros in meeting that demand is less so. By Rich Freeman

Is the market for Workspace-as-a-Service solutions a hot one? Yes, no, and maybe, depending on who’s doing the talking.

Leading vendors are certainly excited about WaaS. Citrix showcased its strategy for that space at its Synergy conference in May, and VMware did much the same thing at its VMworld show in August.

“We believe there is an incredible opportunity to push identity-driven secure digital workspaces for the delivery of any app on any device, especially as businesses shift to Windows 10 and increasingly offer cloud-based productivity suites such as Office 365 to employees,” said Sanjay Poonen, VMware’s executive vice president and general manager for end-user computing and head of global marketing and communications, in a press release.

More recently, in an interview with ChannelPro, Seth Bostock gave WaaS partial credit for the 70 percent sales growth recorded this year by IndependenceIT Inc., the Allentown, Pa.-based company he serves as CEO.

“From our perspective, we believe it’s become a mainstream way now to deliver applications and data to end users,” Bostock said. “We see an immense amount of traction.”

There’s analyst data to support that enthusiasm too: Global WaaS revenues will climb at a 12.1 percent CAGR through 2022 to $18.3 billion, according to Transparency Market Research.

On the flip side, though, at least one vendor with big bets on WaaS is now expanding beyond that technology partly due to weak short-term demand for workspace services.

“The adoption for workspaces in the cloud hasn’t pushed forward as quickly as we had anticipated, and we’ve gotten a lot of requests for other types of solutions,” says Michael Fraser, CEO and chief architect of Mountlake Terrace, Wash.-based Infinite Ops Inc.

So who’s got it right? We decided to give channel pros a chance to chime in by including a few questions on the topic in our latest reader survey. We started by inquiring about the situation today:

Vox Channeli: WaaS (Not WaaS)
44 percent of you, it seems, are seeing either a lot of demand or some for WaaS right now, which is not bad for such a young solution. There’s a difference, though, between seeing demand and satisfying it, so we followed up to see how many readers sell hosted workspaces now or plan to eventually. The question yielded a somewhat murkier response:

Vox Channeli: WaaS (Not WaaS)
While 16 percent of respondents to our poll either don’t know what WaaS is or don’t intend to offer it, an equal number do plan to enter the workspaces market and 20 percent are already there. On the other hand, fully 48 percent of survey participants are kind of iffy on the whole cloud workspaces deal.

And maybe that last figure is the unifying thread that reconciles all of this seemingly contradictory data. Given how much interest there is already in the technology, WaaS warriors like Bostock are entirely justified to be optimistic about the future. Given how many channel pros are still pondering whether to add workspaces to their service offerings, however, a little short-term skepticism about the market is perfectly justifiable as well.

About the Author

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Senior News Editor