2 More Ways to Boost Your Office 365 Sales Revenue
In my last article, “2 Ways to Boost Your Office 365 Sales Revenue,” I talked about how Microsoft’s move to the cloud doesn’t have to be a win, at your company’s expense. Savvy MSPs are overcoming declining revenue from hardware and traditional software licensing by finding ways to add value to Office 365 sales. Last time, I suggested migrating your business from Microsoft’s Advisor sales model to the much more profitable CSP (Cloud Service Provider) model. Having strategic BDR (backup and disaster recovery) discussions is another key to preventing those margins from eroding.
While the first two tips were a good start to help MSPs optimize their Office 365 revenue streams, there are two more tips I’d like to propose to drive your profit margins even higher.
Tip #3: Add Data Protection to Every Office 365 Sale
MSPs used to have to spend hours convincing customers and prospects that backing up data off-site could be done in a secure manner. Today, MSPs are more likely to run into the opposite problem, with prospects assuming that if they are using a cloud service from a reputable provider like Amazon, Google or Microsoft, they don’t need to worry about security. Help your customers avoid this dangerous thinking by keeping the following facts and Office 365 talking points in mind:
- Office 365 offers business productivity in the cloud but lacks automated backup and recovery. Additionally, Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business provide limited retention of emails and files. For example, if administrators do not recover users’ deleted items folders within the number of days specified through their licensing agreement, that data is lost forever.
- User error can cause permanent data loss. Microsoft allows administrators to put an “In-Place Hold” on a user’s mailbox before an account is deleted, but if the hold is not placed prior to deletion, its contents will no longer be preserved or discoverable. With data protection built into every Office 365 sale, customers will always have a second copy.
- Email is one of the largest sources of security threats. Cybercriminals have moved well beyond the hokey “dethroned prince of Nigeria” phishing schemes of the past. Today’s scams use recognizable business names and often appear to come from legitimate sources. Eventually one of your customer’s employees is going to take the bait and click a malicious link or attachment. Office 365’s email client, Outlook, will stop some of those attacks, but most MSPs will attest that many threats, including CryptoLocker, still make it through their spam filter.
In addition to an enterprise-grade BDR solution, mentioned previously, your clients need an email security service with advanced threat detection capabilities that fills in the email security, data archiving, business continuity and compliance requirements that are missing from Office 365. These services add value for your clients, and in the case of security and archiving, are required for certain vertical markets such as healthcare and finance.
Tip #4: Most Office 365 Sales Need Cloud Migration Services
The phrase “going to the cloud” implies an event similar to driving a car from point A to point B. But, the fact that some cloud services can be setup in a matter of just a few minutes doesn’t mean that the customer is instantly able to make the switch to a new cloud service. A study conducted by the IT Process Institute (ITPI) sheds some light on this matter, uncovering the fact that 76 percent of companies report a low to medium level of success with their cloud projects–nearly twice the failure rate of general IT projects. It wasn’t a security breach or power outage that led to this frustration; it was a lack of planning.
Even something as basic as email can become a colossal failure if proper planning isn’t performed. Following are a few questions MSPs should ask their clients prior to an Office 365 switchover:
- How will the existing Microsoft Office data be moved (for example, via the Internet, shipping an external drive or some other way)?
- When should the data be transferred, and should it be done all at once or in phases? If it’s the latter, in what order should the data be migrated?
- How long should the two IT environments operate in parallel before going live with the cloud service?
Depending on a variety of factors–such as the number of employees, amount of data and industry regulations–data migration projects can take months of planning to ensure everything goes smoothly. Getting involved in this process early on and providing consulting and migration services is a great way to ease your customers’ frustrations and uncover additional incremental revenue opportunities along the way.
Neal Bradbury is Senior Director of Business Development for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, a provider of backup and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners.