The market for cloud computing services is still in its early stages and holds great opportunities for customers and solution providers alike, a top cloud company executive said here Monday during CompTIA ChannelCon 2017, the IT industry’s premier annual event.

‘We’ve seen it go from a hypothesis to an overwhelming reality,” said Daniel Saks, president and co-CEO of AppDirect, a leading cloud service commerce company. “Over 70 percent of businesses use at least one cloud service. I think it’s still the beginning. There are opportunities for businesses to use 10 or 20 or 30 cloud services.”

Saks’ remarks were made in a one-on-one interview with CompTIA President and CEO Todd Thibodeaux in the lead-off session of the ChannelCon Vendor Summit.

Early customer concerns about the security have been overcome as cloud providers demonstrated how much better and secure the cloud is, Saks said.

Saks encouraged channel partners to experiment with their cloud business.

“There are many different sales strategies that drive SaaS,” he said. “The key is you have to be willing to experiment in many different ways. If you can adopt multiple go to market strategies and test the data, you can invest where you are getting the best return. The differentiator lies in the value of the services that you provide.”

The cloud theme continued in a panel discussion on the rise of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) market, featuring executives from SAP and Salesforce. Their advice for channel partners is to look beyond each cloud engagement as a one-off project and to investigate ways to create their own intellectual property that can be sold as a package to many customers.

CompTIA Communities Come Together

Monday’s ChannelCon programming also featured business meetings of several CompTIA member communities.

A joint meeting of the Cloud and IT Security communities featured a discussion on the business implications of 5G wireless networks, which promise faster connectivity and data access and lower energy use and longer battery live for mobile devices.

“All of this has been consumer driven, but what’s it going to do to our industry?” asked Dan Wensley, president of IT security innovator Passportal, Inc.

“It’s going to have a very significant impact on the conversations with your customers, who will be overwhelmed by the number of apps they’ll have access to,” Wensley continued. “It will affect your current service delivery method and the expectations for responsiveness from your customers.”