Cloud Series, Part I
Cloud Maturation Spells Opportunity for the IT Channel
By George Mellor, KloudReadiness, and Theresa Caragol, Achieve Unite
The fact that cloud is entering a stage of early majority creates a tremendous opportunity for partners to earn "trusted advisor" status with their customers and, in doing so, drive new pipeline opportunities. Partners who take advantage of the opportunities this market shift creates will position themselves well moving forward; conversely, those who don't, stand to leave significant revenue on the table. Which will you be?
Over the course of this six-blog Cloud Series, George Mellor, Founder & CEO of KloudReadiness, and Theresa Caragol, Founder, Achieve Unite, will provide expert guidance on:
We hope you join us on this journey and drop us a comment from time to time with your thoughts on the series and your real-life experiences partnering in the channel.
- Making the shift from technology to business outcomes so you're better aligned with your customers' strategic objectives
- Identifying the business factors that can help you accelerate your cloud practice
- The 4 steps to discovering and qualifying cloud opportunities
- Best practices for closing cloud business
- Knowing who to partner with, when to build it yourself and when to acquire technology or talent.
--Heidi Biggar, Director, Global Partner Enablement and Recruitment, Sungard AS
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According to Roger's innovation adoption curve, cloud is currently in early majority stage, and this has significant implications for the industry in general and the channel in particular.
In fact, the opportunities are so great for the IT channel that 2018 has been coined "The Year of the Partner" as companies look to channel partners to help them drive cloud strategies to support their digitization and business transformation initiatives.
As the cloud market matures, it presents opportunities for organizations to accelerate initiatives, expedite processes and save money. But only if organizations take the time to do their homework and make cloud decisions based on a thorough understanding of their application and enterprise needs.
As the cloud enters early majority status, end users are showing a tendency toward refinement of cloud concepts. Rather than moving everything to the cloud, they are rebalancing the focus around assessing applications optimized for cloud systems, and those that are better on-premise, based on desired business outcomes. However, they often require assistance with this process because they either lack the resources/know-how to deploy cloud services or need to spend their time on activities that can drive the bottom-line.
This presents a clear opportunity for partners to:
- Help customers identify which applications to move to the cloud and which to leave on-premise and how to optimize workloads across appropriate cloud solutions (e.g., hosted private cloud, public cloud, etc.). In fact, according to CompTIA, 46% of companies moving from one public cloud to another said that the secondary move required more effort than the initial project. This is an opportunity for a partner to develop a practice around cloud migration to guide this process. Solution Providers will play a huge role in helping customers navigate the cloud landscape and vet the best cloud platforms to support their goals (Source: "Trends in Cloud Computing," CompTIA).
- Provide the proper resources and skillsets to help customers deal with the digital divide that's being created by the skilled labor shortage. By 2020, employment in all technology occupations is expected to increase by 22%. Customers will need to retool their workflow and workforce to do more with less. Here again, this gap represents a significant opportunity for Solution Providers to help customers implement more streamlined workflows, offload resource-intensive tasks and recommend solutions that make their environments more efficient and effective.
- Automate and streamline mundane processes via agile approaches and new orchestration tools. The complexity and cost of solving business problems with technology and process improvements is a significant challenge that requires business and technical expertise to implement a holistic, integrated solution.
As we discussed in our Collaborative Selling
series, partners who probe to understand their customers' overall business objectives, develop vertical expertise, serve as a strategic business partner and have a stake in the success of the client's business position themselves to become the trusted advisor and win more business.
Once the business impact is understood and trust is established, the Solution Provider can address the technology/IT challenges that can inhibit customer business goals. This will include things like knowing which applications to run where (not all clouds are created equal), how to migrate applications to the cloud and how best to protect and secure applications and their data. Here again, this is an opportunity for Solution Providers to offload these tasks from customers, freeing them to focus on revenue-generating activities.
Read our next blog to learn more about the shift from technology to business outcomes and how to help your customers realized the ROI they seek.