Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) partners are facing mounting pressure to re-evaluate their business models as hyperscale cloud providers enter the market.
Here are five things they need to know to successfully navigate today’s changing market:
1. Hyperscale means efficiencies and lower pricing.
As Microsoft, Amazon, Google and IBM emerge with fully formed cloud offerings of their own and enter the playing field with more and cheaper offerings, SPLA partners are facing new business pressures.
2. Rapidly changing technology, changing margins and information overload pose new challenges.
Pain points associated with upgrades and migrations—from resources to cost—are no longer the major inhibitors for small hosters. New technology releases, such as new versions of core Microsoft applications like Exchange and new major releases from Redmond, are posing major concerns as SPLA partners are managing more concurrent versions and working harder to keep up with new ones.
Offerings like Exchange Online and SharePoint Online in Office 365 have reset the retail value of those services, sometimes to half of what they were prior to the hyperscale cloud explosion. Meanwhile, customer expectations regarding uptime, financially backed SLAs and security are higher than ever before, so SPLA partners aiming to meet those expectations must spend more on infrastructure and support per hosted user.
3. Partners must act.
Maintaining the status quo is no longer an option; SPLA partners should choose how they will adapt their business model to this new market.
4. It’s time to analyze & determine what’s next.
SPLA Partners have to map their course of action, but, before doing so, they need to ask themselves several questions. Do I have enough direct business to afford the service? Am I able to offer a true premium product and market it so that someone can see us through all the noise? Can I get my message to market? Can someone do what I’m doing better, more efficiently and more cheaply, and allow me to concentrate on running the business?
5. Consider the options.
There are various options to choose from:
- Upgrade to the current form of Hosted Exchange. With this, Partners can also offer bundled or more value-added services (i.e., premium price, service and 24/7 support).
- Become a CSP. If not already in Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, there’s never been a better time to get started.
- Partner with a two-tier provider. If lack of infrastructure prohibits partners from joining the CSP program, they can still capitalize on the program’s many benefits through the indirect channel. The indirect channel are partners participating in CSP that have the reach and depth to produce tens of thousands—even hundreds of thousands—of seats.
- Stop selling email and become more specialized. Shift core business focus to where customers need your service the most as opposed to a commodity service provider.
To find how AppRiver can help the SPLA community, please visit https://www.appriver.com/partners/email-hosting-with-appriver/.