The Move from Availability to Productivity
The impact the cloud will have on channel MSPs and those who have not adopted the MSP model is a common topic today. Some believe the cloud spells the end of the road for up to 60 percent of SMB channel partners, while others think the number is much lower. Regardless of different predictions or projections, most agree that cloud adoption will require channel partners to evolve their business model in order to grow their business.
Here is what worries me. Many times in the past people “cried wolf.” they predicted that changes in technology or the marketplace meant “the end of the Channel.” Channel partners however, listened attentively but went about their business. After all, in the last 20 years there’s been no shortage of challenges deemed to be “Channel killers” (most no longer exist today). All this adds up to business as usual (which always includes its fair share of change) and the potential to get to the party late, loss of market share or to miss the proverbial boat.
What makes the cloud different than all the things that came before it? There are plenty of opinions out there, here are mine:
- The cloud is not new. We have been adopting it for a long time in a variety of different ways. The technology powering “cloud” is by and large dependable, easy to understand and easy to access.
- There is unprecedented and spectacular (read: Vegas-like) marketing spend by some of the largest companies in the world, all trying to “own the cloud.” Under current market conditions SMB end-users faced with these flashing lights and sounds bypass MSPs when making purchasing decisions for cloud-based services.
- While it seems elementary, the cloud is simply a delivery method for software and services from an end-user perspective. Generally speaking, acquisition of cloud technology is fast and optimized for ease of use.
Truth be told, most MSPs are technically ready to layer cloud services into their offerings today, and many are doing it. After all, deploying public cloud solutions is by design not very difficult.
So what is the point? Simply this – While you are building out your cloud deliverables, don’t forget to build your cloud story at the same time! The cloud is definitely real. If you don’t change your messaging about the value you bring via the cloud, someone else will come along with a cloud message that resonates with your customers. Be proactive so you don’t find yourself playing catch-up, saying “We do that too! Why didn’t you call me?” to your customer who signed a PO last week with a competitor.
Productivity over Availability
So, how do you tell a better story? Replace the word availability with the word productivity. Well, it’s not quite that easy, but it is a good rule of thumb. Here are two value propositions – the MSP version and the CSP version:
- MSP Positioning – we have an inclusive program that allows us to proactively manage your network (desktops, data protection, servers and infrastructure) and provide you with high availability and a predictable monthly cost for services.
- We provide these services on a monthly basis remotely, saving you the cost of site visits.
- We will provide monthly reporting on our activities to keep you in the loop on what we are doing.
- CSP Positioning – we provide an environment that securely and consistently provides your employees the opportunity to work, access data and collaborate anywhere.
- We provide a host of cloud-based tools to improve productivity across your organization.
- We provide back end management of the entire spectrum of technology tools (from hardware to cloud applications)
- We provide CIO services including consultative quarterly reviews, continual updates on business tools and how they can positively impact revenue / costs, and budgetary reports.
These propositions might seem somewhat simplistic, but it is hard to miss the difference in perceived value between the MSP message and the CSP message. At the end of the day large organizations are making every possible effort to tell your customers that they can deliver the cloud. Make certain that your customers know that you can deliver it too, and integrate it into their business intelligently. With the right message and the right deliverable, chances are very good that you will win.
Ted Roller is vice president of Channel Development at LogMeIn. This guest blog is part of MSPmentor's Platinum Sponsorship Program.