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How to Sell Application and 'as-a-Service' Clouds

What does a solution provider do once its customers have caught up with innovations like cloud and SD-WAN?

James Anderson

August 30, 2017

3 Min Read
Cloud Apps

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James Anderson

**Editor’s Note: Register now for Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 25-28, in Austin, Texas.**

What does a solution provider do once its customers have caught up with innovations like cloud and SD-WAN?

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Jo Peterson

Five experts will sit on a concurrent-education panel to tackle “Selling Application and “as-a-Service” Clouds: Make Money Moving up the Stack” at Channel Partners Evolution, Sept. 25-28, in Austin, Texas.

Jo Peterson of Clarify360, Tina Gravel of Cyxtera, Jasmina Muller of CenturyLink, Chris Peters of 8×8 and Carmen Sorice of Sungard Availability Services comprise the panel.

Peterson spoke to Channel Partners on behalf of the panel to give a preview of subject matter.

The transcript has been edited for clarity.

Channel Partners: Who is your target audience, and what kind of obstacles do they face?

Jo Peterson: Organizations are rushing to the cloud. Customers are looking at their options around many previously hardware-based or on-premises-based solutions that are now available in an as-a-service model. The five fastest growing categories in the as-a-service space are ERP, CRM, security as a service, big data as a service and collaboration/UCaaS.

Customer are looking at a number of drivers as they evaluate their choices. Many of the drivers lend themselves to a cloud-based solution with an operating expense component. The three top considerations are cost, rapid deployment, flexibility and scalability. Overall, the total cost of ownership for a cloud-based solution can be 50-60 percent less than for traditional solutions over a 10-year period.

Cloud-based solutions offer a basic configuration with a limited range of options that are designed to meet the requirements of most businesses — an approach that can significantly reduce cost.

Vendors have been developing new ways for companies to acquire additional software and software as a service and functionality on a subscription basis. This makes cloud-based systems even more appropriate for companies that are quickly evolving to meet a changing competitive environment. Security as a service, big data as a service and collobaration/UCaaS are being adopted by organizations of all sizes and all verticals.

CP: Could you list a few enterprise application-based cloud services that partners might consider adding?

JP: The target audience for cloud-based ERP often has the following characteristics:

  • SMB customers that feel they are not getting the most out of their current project management or accounting software.

  • Companies that take on more and different types of businesses that need to be monitored now, not in the aftermath.

  • SMB customers with 10-250 PCs that have internal IT staff or partner-delivered IT capabilities.

  • Midsize, project-driven organizations.

  • Business with the following application needs: core financial management (general ledger, accounts payable and accounts receivable (GLAPAR); project management; distribution; and customer relationship management (CRM).

Cloud ERP is especially popular for two-tier ERP deployments, in which companies run a primary ERP system on-premises with …

…one or more additional ERP systems in the cloud. Most core (e.g. financial) ERP systems are on-premise, while the second tier (such as sales and inventory management) may be either on premise or cloud.

CP: What do you hope the audience will take away from your panel?

JP: This session will provide guidance on the current market landscape for the five most adopted products. The panel will discuss the corporate drivers that are moving organizations to pursue as a service options. During the session, we’ll identify prime selling opportunities such as upgrade cycle and greenfield environments. Additionally, session participants will learn the key benefits that as-a-service-model products can bring to their clients. Many of these application-as-a-service products, along with marketing and engineering resources ,are available today from existing, trusted vendors like 8×8, CenturyLink, Cyxtera/Cryptzone and Sungard [AS].

During the session we’ll provide ideas to that spur participants’ thinking about which clients could benefit from these solutions as well as how to monetize the vendor resources currently at their disposal.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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