The economy is improving and the IT refresh cycle has released some pent-up demand, but a number of IT decision makers and executives are still hesitant to make large capital expenditures — and for good reason.
Technology is moving quickly and what they invest in today could be outdated and irrelevant tomorrow. It’s a tough spot to be in for most, but for an MSP (managed services provider) this “tech-tastrophe” is a great starting point — especially those who understand and can articulate the business value of cloud-based technologies and solutions.
But before you jump in and cold call, or start a conversation with an existing client about cloud services, here are a few best practices to follow to help ensure your success:
- Don’t Take An All Or Nothing Approach. Many businesses still see value in on-premises solutions. Rather than force a cloud solution, you’re likely better off working with your customer to determine if a hybrid approach (using both on- and off-premises solutions) is a good first step. This can also serve to educate your customer on the value of the cloud and make it easier to integrate more cloud solutions into the mix in the future.
- Partner Wise And Ask Qs. When it comes to selecting cloud providers, there are a few things you should be looking for beyond security and reliability. Ask providers about their disaster recovery plans. Power outages, natural disasters, and malicious employees can threaten your customer’s important data. Learn how your cloud providers will respond in the event of loss and ask what guarantees they make to protect data. While providing you assurance in your provider, this information can also be used to help educate potential customers on the safety of their data. Don’t wait for a loss to occur before asking how your providers will respond.
- Understand The Regulations And Compliance Requirements. Many industries are dealing with security-, privacy-, and compliance-related issues concerning customer data. If your customers must meet security requirements, it’s important for you to have a thorough understanding of what those requirements are, if there are any upcoming deadlines for new requirements, and how requirements are expected to change. Additionally, with an ever-changing security landscape, it’s important to pick cloud providers that meet the unique data security needs of your customers today, and in the future. Also, be sure you’re not on the hook for the customer’s compliance as there is only so much you can control from your end.
- Clearly Articulate The Business Value. Ensure your sales team is touting the value of the cloud. It’s one thing for your team to be able to talk technology, but customers care more about having their business problems solved as effectively as possible and within budget. If cloud is the best solution, then make sure your team can do the math and show them — versus tell them — about the business gains.
Finally, the most important way to ensure your success in the cloud is to use the technology within your own organization. Be your own best customer. That will demonstrate by example the benefits of cloud computing to your customers, and give you and your team personal experience with this game-changing technology.
The New Year will be a big win for cloud services and solutions. And those channel partners who take the time to learn the business and instigate the conversation around the business value of cloud will see opportunity unfold again and again.
Ted Schuman is CEO of PlanetOne Communications (www.planetone.net), a partner for identifying and delivering connectivity solutions to small and midsize businesses and enterprises. With more than two decades of experience in the telecom industry, Schuman has established successful alliances among PlanetOne and more than 185 global services providers. Headquartered in Scottsdale, AZ., PlanetOne has been celebrated by Inc. magazine as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies for four years running.
Published with Business Solutions
PlanetOne is the IT channel and telecom industry’s preferred business partner for identifying and delivering cloud-based and connectivity solutions to small and midsize businesses and enterprises. Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., the industry pioneer is celebrated by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies and regarded as a top-performing partner for hundreds of telecom agents and channel partners nationwide. The award-winning PlanetOne Partner Program has been recognized as one of the Top 50 Channel Programs in the industry for the past five consecutive years by Channel Partners and recently named to CRN’s 2014 Connectivity Partner Guide. To reach PlanetOne call (877) 487.8353 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Suzanne Collier, WhiteFox Marketing for PlanetOne