Defining who is responsible for what can smooth the transition and up the satisfaction level.

July 23, 2019

6 Min Read
Cloud Computing

By Javed Sikander


Javed Sikander

By Javed Sikander, NetEnrich

When it comes to cloud transformations, there are a lot of potential pain points for customers. Uncertainty abounds as systems and processes are shifted to the cloud and on-premise infrastructure falls by the wayside. Internal IT teams may not know what their purpose is anymore, endless systems – procurement, HR, accounting – move from an on-premise infrastructure to the cloud, and budgets shift from capex to opex as monthly recurring charges start to appear on the CFO’s desk.

It’s easy to see why customers may find a cloud transformation stressful and filled with uncertainties. This is where you come in as their channel partner. If you can address their uncertainties head on and offer clear answers to the myriad questions they have, you’ll be able to shift their cloud transformation from a significant stress factor to an easy transition that will bring both you and your customers endless efficiencies and optimum performance output.

Customer Uncertainties

The first and obvious uncertainty your customers are going to be facing when it comes to cloud transformation is cost. IT spend is always under the microscope, and when it comes to cloud and the services surrounding it, it can be hard for customers to understand the associated costs.

Concerns include not only the overall cost of the transition, but initial outlay costs and monthly costs once the customer has moved to the cloud. Customers will also be thinking about the capex they’ve already laid out on servers and similar equipment they may no longer be using once they move to the cloud. “Was this a waste of money?” they will wonder.

When it comes to cloud transformations, a total cost analysis is the top uncertainty that CIOs have.

Alongside cost, your customers are likely to want to know how their data and infrastructure will be managed once they’ve taken the plunge and made the cloud investment. Their IT guys, whose lives were likely once pretty miserable trying to service the entire business, might now be wondering whether they’re still required. And many CIOs want to know the answer to that, too.

Customer questions can range from the simple “Is everything taken care of with the cloud?” to the more detailed (and potentially convoluted) “Are my IT guys now just business users who can forget about IT?” Customers will want to know what, if anything, they need to monitor and manage. They will be asking exactly what their cloud vendor does, what you (as their service provider) do specifically, and what, if anything, they need to do to keep their environment up and running.

They will want to know how much of their new cloud environment is taken care of by the cloud vendor and how much they need to do themselves.

Customers also like to understand how their architecture might look once they’ve made the cloud transformation leap. Without being given a clear picture of their new cloud stack, uncertainties start to creep in and they may see their cloud transformation as just moving from a small data center into a larger data center.

This can be compounded by the customer not making full use of the services their new cloud provider offers. While Azure and AWS each offer in the realm of 100 services, unless the customer starts …

… refactoring its architecture and highlighting areas it’s struggling to manage or wants to replace with one of the services their new cloud provider offers, they’re going to be wondering what changes they’re paying for. As such, they will need someone to walk them through their cloud transformation journey so that they can see why they’ve made the investment, both financial and emotional.

Overcoming Uncertainties

To tackle these issues, channel partners need first and foremost to do some self-reflection. If you want to address your clients’ cloud transformation uncertainties, you have to offer more than lip service to being a services provider. You need to offer tangible services that will help your customer overcome concerns. When you move your customer’s environment to the cloud, you need to offer a level of service that means they know they can go to sleep at night and you’ll take care of everything that needs to be taken care of in the cloud.

When thinking about your customers’ cloud transformation uncertainties, it’s also wise to think about how you can run your cloud business as efficiently and effectively as possible. Get this right and your capacity to meet your customers’ concerns head on will be clear. Predictability and scale are the answer here.

  • Predictability: Know at a granular level what your customer expects from your service. For the customer, knowing exactly what they can expect from the service, as well exactly what role you play as a channel partner, what role the cloud vendor plays in terms of delivery, and also what role they play themselves, will offer you both the predictability needed for a successful cloud transformation every time. Have clear SLAs so that customers will feel 100% confident in who is doing what and you can stick to a level of predictability that is robust and efficient.

  • Scale: Channel partners should seek to offer cloud services to a large number of customers to scale the offering. When working with a vendor or master agent, work out a deal that will enable you to offer each customer a service that you’ve been able to scale. You don’t want to go back to the drawing board and start from scratch every time a new customer comes on board. Work with your vendor or master agent and aggregate the demand for the services across your customers to achieve scale and predictability so that you’re not doing cloud one customer at a time.

Cloud transformations can be tough. Work with your customers to manage their uncertainties and offer them the service they need to feel assured and confident in your abilities as their service provider. They’re looking to you for guidance — don’t be afraid to show it.

Javed Sikander is CTO and vice president at NetEnrich. He is a seasoned technology executive with a proven record of developing successful solutions and growing businesses. Prior to NetEnrich, Sikander was a senior director at Microsoft, working on its Azure business, and held various development leadership roles at i2 Technologies, which is now owned by JDA Software. Follow Sikander on Twitter at @NetEnrich or online at LinkedIn.

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