Choosing the right cloud solutions for your customer proposition is critical to the future success of your ICT channel business. But with so many options in the marketplace, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters.
10th March 2020
by Chris Bain
Channel Sales Director
On-premise solutions often require a high initial capital investment as well as high recurring support costs to manage, maintain and upgrade the technology. Investing in cloud solutions will ensure predictable costs that are all-inclusive and cost-effective, making them attractive to your customers and giving you a predictable revenue stream.
You work hard to build relationships and trust with customers, to the extent that your brand, and the complete solution wrap you offer, become synonymous with your value and quality. Having unconnected components, separate service levels, and delivery mechanisms will dilute your offering. The cloud solutions you select should be part of the proposition and solutions eco-system that you build, and how customers see your unique product.
To slot easily into your broader portfolio, cloud technologies should require minimal administrative overhead from you and your customers, whilst offering complete flexibility and scalability. With an on-premise solution, clients must continue to make large capital investments on new hardware as they grow. They are also left with extra hardware if they downsize. With a cloud-based solution new offices and users can be set up through a self-administered client portal or by calling customer service. It is easy to scale up and down based on your customer needs.
Every one of your customers will want to manage their digital transformation in a different way. You need to have the ability to take on their legacy on-premise estates, offer a hybrid cloud option where needed for application and expertise drawdown, and provide a fully managed cloud solution for customers ready to divest non-core responsibilities. A true cloud partner will enable you to offer this complete customer journey, with a customisable solution for each instance.
Your customers need to see the value from your proposition, not a conduit to a vendor. How you differentiate your proposition will dictate what level of integration you want from a cloud provider – from application links to share data as part of a full UPaaS deployment, through you having a role in delivering a cloud deployment, to Marketing and messaging alignment through white-label propositions.
Conversations with customers should start with what they need, not what the limitations of a cloud service offer. Some pure cloud providers compromise their functional proposition deliberately to drive easy scalability of basic features, restricting what customers can achieve. Your customers should see your cloud story as complimenting, not compromising, and the cloud partner you choose should enable you to shape solutions to customers, not customers to a solution.
‘Cutting-edge’ can mean high- risk. Look beyond the veneer of fancy websites, exhibition stands, and bravado and demand proof and testimony. Will your supplier guarantee service uptime and provide proof of this for previous years? Can the supplier migrate customer estates with no loss of functionality, and repurpose existing technology, expertise, and familiarity? Can your supplier integrate with essential customer applications to avoid further costs?
Look at the financial security of potential suppliers. As an integral part of your customer proposition, their stability, independence, and experience will have a direct bearing on your business plan for years to come. Demand a supplier with a strong balance sheet, diversified income, independent outlook, and technology expertise in complementary areas.
Your customers will see advantages in the flexibility of cloud models adapting to their own business planning and finances. As the key link in the supply chain, you should be able to offer flexibility and scalability of both customer consumption and commercial models, with predictable revenues and gain share as customer needs evolve. Make sure your cloud partner puts you at the front of customer transactions, and that you benefit from the growth you help them achieve.
The right technical solution, at the right price point, with the right flexibility is essential for customer adoption. You also need to know that the model rewards you at point of sale and continuously into the future. Your cloud strategy for your customers’ needs to be a proven earning opportunity, opportunity and sit centrally to your own business planning.
If you’re keen to find the right cloud solution for your business, get in touch with the Partner Services team today to learn more.