October 31, 2011
By Renee Bergeron 2
cloud partnersWe’ve all seen the ads. Match.com can be a great place to meet that special someone – maybe even your spouse or partner. But what the ads don’t disclose is all the time, effort and misses that led up to that “perfect match.” On the personal level, it’s all worth it, but in the business world, who has the time, energy or money to throw at relationships that just aren’t going to pan out?! My point is this – when it comes to selecting a business partner, especially for high-profile, game-changing technologies like cloud, a few clicks of the mouse aren’t going to cut it.
MSPs and service providers need to look for a partner who will play a much deeper role than surface introductions to vendors and other VAR partners. Trial and error can be costly and if you don’t play it smart and team with a distributor and vendor partners that understand your business goals, it can cost you more than just dinner and a movie.
When you look for help growing your cloud strategy, here are a few pointers that MSPs have found useful when it comes to selecting the right cloud partner:
1. A true cloud aggregator adds critical value and understands cloud services.
It’s imperative to partner with a cloud aggregator that knows the marketplace inside and out. A cloud aggregator helps you understand the difference between the many options for cloud solutions, and provides a plethora of vendor partners from which to choose. The idea is that you don’t have to develop that marketplace expertise in house – at least not right away. Instead, you have a professional, insightful partner that guides you to see the bigger picture with only your business’ best interest in mind. Another piece of advice: Don’t limit your playing field – come to the table with an open mind about partnership and finding a smart way to develop or expand your cloud services.
2. Finding the right partner is an intricate process.
While there are hundreds of IaaS providers in the North American market, only a few are right for what your customer is trying to achieve. By dealing with a vendor agnostic cloud and IaaS expert that offers you access to a wide range of alternatives, you can be sure you have the right solution and a flexible offering. Without a comprehensive portfolio of cloud services, a cloud aggregator is really just an agent for a single vendor and cannot give you independent recommendations.
3. Selecting a partner to support your end customer’s ongoing business is a big deal.
You need to be sure that your chosen cloud partner can deliver, scale and continue to bring forward innovative solutions to meet the future needs of your customer. That’s why you need partners that have been vetted and go through an intensive due diligence process. It really comes down to working with a partner that utilizes a standard process to evaluate partners before they make recommendations.
Picking the right business partner to help you navigate the cloud landscape and build out your cloud portfolio is no small decision. Compare and contrast. Ask around. See who your peers are working to make them successful and stop dating those vendors and distributors that really don’t get your business and are simply using cloud services as a buzz term versus a business model.
renee bergeron VP managed services and Cloud Computing Ingram MicroRenee Bergeron is VP of managed services and cloud computing at Ingram Micro, overseeing such efforts as Ingram Micro Cloud. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual sponsorship program. Read all of Bergeron’s guest blogs here.
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