Parallels is a vendor of hosting and cloud services enablement and cross-platform solutions for service providers. Established 14 years ago, Parallels offers a well-regarded software platform for its large service provider ecosystem and prides itself on its industry knowledge through Parallels Cloud University and consulting.

The company's annual Parallels Summit recently took place in New Orleans, ushering in the Mardi Gras season. No beads were thrown, but attendees were treated to a number of key messages. Here are some of the ones that stuck with me:

  1. Cloud is growing at a feverish pace. Until now, the SMBs have contributed to the cloud adoption. Going forward, larger organizations will adopt the cloud, further fueling the cloud adoption.
  2. Parallels CEO Birger Steen: “Main Street is adopting cloud.”
  3. Acronis CEO (and former Parallels CEO) Seguei Beloussov: “There is no cloud anymore; everything IT is cloud and cloud is everything.”
  4. Beloussov said in the past the purpose of IT was to save money, but in the future IT will make money for the enterprise.
  5. Steen said cloud services consumption will reach $125 billion by 2016.
  6. That includes 42 percent CAGR for communication and collaboration.
  7. The average number of hosted services a company was using in 2009 was one; that average increased to five services in 2014 and is projected to grow to nine services in 2017.
  8. Today, 49 percent SMBs buy their applications directly from the application providers. Successful managed service providers (MSPs) will bundle these various applications to make it easier for SMBs to purchase and consume. This will make the MSP offerings more sticky and lower customer turnover.
  9. MSPs no longer can count on loyalty from their customer base. When they offer bundles, they have to be integrated; otherwise, even their most loyal customers will not buy from them.
  10. Steen: “Businesses don’t buy their apps from SaaS marketplaces."
  11. Parallels announced key strategic partnerships with Flexiant, IBM SoftLayer, Hostway, OpenStack and Microsoft Azure.
  12. Parallels announced the Parallels Cloud University for marketing and technical programs.
  13. Beloussov outlined the key future trends: Big Data, Internet of things, 3D printing, robots, wearables and the cloud. These trends present opportunities for MSPs to offer the following services: Data Management as a service; IT as a service; platform as a service; and communications as a service.
  14. Beloussov expressed the need for organized, professional partner programs, such as Microsoft’s partner program, for example.
  15. @ParallelsSummit Nicholas Carr talked about security, reliability, loss of control and organizational resistance as the key impediments to the cloud.

Ashar Baig is president and principal analyst and consultant at Analyst Connection, an analyst firm focused on cloud computing, IT products and services and managed service providers. He has more than 18 years of high-tech industry experience. Baig also is founder and manager of the LinkedIn Cloud Backup group.