Change is inevitable as well as constant. And nothing exemplifies this more today than the cloud market. Businesses that once kept their distance from employing cloud-based solutions due to security concerns, control issues or other reasons have accepted the benefits that the cloud brings to their organization and now regularly seek out solutions such as infrastructure, disaster recovery and backup.
A result from this alteration in buying behavior can be seen within the RightScale 2017 State of the Cloud report, which found that Microsoft Azure adoption by SMBs in itself grew from 15 percent in 2016 to 25 percent in 2017.
But this intense growth does not come without its own challenges. Potential SMB buyers may understand the benefits for having fast and secure access to cloud-based systems along with the upside of not having to buy, upgrade or maintain IT equipment. However, they also continue to foresee many paralyzing challenges associated with making the transition to the cloud.
Helping SMB buyers with their questions and making decisions that are best suited for their businesses is a real value-add for channel partners. They can become a trusted advisor to their customers and generate greater profitability by offering cloud services that help their customers select, migrate, activate, manage and update their cloud solutions. Ultimately, this helping hand will drive more cloud adoption and channel seller loyalty.
But as a channel partner, how do you expand your service portfolio to support many of these popular cloud-services? After all, your core focus has been selling products, not providing cloud services.
Here are four opportunities available to a channel partner that focus on supporting their SMB customers across their cloud service lifecycle:
- Help them adopt: The first step in driving cloud services is to ensure the customer is adopting cloud solutions. If your customers are not readily adopting cloud solutions then you are missing out on a wealth of potential revenue. Whether it is migrating email to the cloud or establishing the first workload, offering onboarding and activation services allows you to help customers quickly realize the benefits of the cloud and setting the stage for more profitability for your organization.
- Offer 24/7 support: Small business customers with lean IT resources need to know someone is available to answer their questions at any hour of the day, especially when they’re relying on the cloud to back up their business-critical data. Offering round-the-clock support (either directly or through partnerships) ensures that customers’ issues are resolved quickly.
- Provide administrative services: You can support customers with a virtual IT resource to handle daily administrative tasks, such as adding or removing users and resetting passwords. This helps reduce your customer’s IT workload, helps them focus on core functions, and makes you even more indispensable to the customer.
- Layer in managed services: Managed services will help you gain greater lifetime value and deepen customer engagement. Managed services can also increase the share of your business that comes from recurring revenue, giving you healthier margins and revenue growth over time.
Cloud services have a steep learning curve, not only for SMBs but for channel partner alike. The good news for channel partners is you know your customer’s technology ecosystem as well as anyone. Leverage that knowledge and collaborate with other partners and enablers to make your customers’ cloud journey more effective. With the right service, that SMB user’s anxious leap of faith to the cloud will feel more like a confident step forward with a trusted advisor at their side.
|About the Author|
|David Hauser is Vice President of Cloud Services for PlumChoice, the leading provider of premium technical services for cloud and IoT brands.|