In business, it’s very rarely just about what you know, but also who knows you, that determines success or failure.

At their global analyst summit last week, Parallels’ CEO, Birger Steen, welcomed Cisco and IBM as new global systems integrator partners, joining the likes of Microsoft and Symantec. In fact, Cisco has even taken a small equity stake in the company, meaning they will jointly go to market to deliver cloud services. Parallels and Cisco also agreed to expand joint development, marketing, and industry initiatives. While there was no similar equity investment as part of the IBM deal, both companies will jointly engage with large telcos and service providers to offer an integrated IBM/Parallels solution.

Here are some other key takeaways from the event:

  • Parallels noted that the global SMB cloud services market grew to $45 billion in 2012 and will reach $95 billion by 2015, with a CAGR of 28% (see its SMB Cloud Insights research report). In fact, both Cisco and IBM view Parallels as a gateway to tap the growing SMB need for cloud services (see Tim Harmon’s report Opportunities In The SMB Cloud Services Market).
  • The momentum Parallels is gaining from expanded global SI partnerships is paralleled (pun intended) by its moves to better leverage the growing cloud investments being made by large telcos as they move from simply “getting into the cloud” to actively converting their customers from using on-premises apps to cloud apps. Already, companies like American Movil have started to offer SaaS and IaaS services to their Latin American users using the Parallels marketplace platform, thanks to a Cisco-led deal.
  • In Asia Pacific, Parallels needs to forge new regional partnerships and expand its ecosystem fast, particularly as VMware continues growing its presence and focusing on the Asian SMB market. Parallel also needs to unveil new, relevant customer references in the region. Large public telco endorsements have been sparse: Telstra (Australia), KT (South Korea), and KDDI (Japan). This might be because telcos are still dipping their toes into the cloud services space (see my previous blog post about how telcos are aggressively entering the IaaS market in Asia Pacific), and offering SMB-focused cloud services is relatively new. Parallels’ SMB solutions could help it penetrate this segment.

What It Means

Securing both Cisco and IBM as partners has helped boost Parallels’ credibility as a cloud delivery platform, for both SMBs and larger enterprises. With new product enhancements, like APS 2.0and Parallels Cloud Storage, announced last week, it has also addressed key customer pain points, such as the lack of an application-aware platform, the lack of a single sign-on portal, and the lack of a storage solution for its Virtuzzo container users.

However, as I pointed out, sometimes it is “who knows you” that shapes success or failure, and Parallels should aggressively push the benefits of its newly formed alliances to Asia Pacific soon.