It never fails that when I attend an industry trade show, I run across a VAR or MSP that confesses to me that the cloud is eating away at their profit margins, and they’re not sure how they’re going to stay in business if things continue the way they are. If that’s how you feel, I have two important messages for you: First, all the latest research suggests that the pace with which end users are adopting cloud solutions and services is increasing at an every quickening pace.
The second message I have for you is this: The growing acceptance and adoption of cloud computing does not mean the channel is going way. It just means that for channel companies to continue to thrive, they’re going to have to adapt to change. For IT solutions providers that have already gone down the path of becoming managed services providers, this won’t be too big of a stretch for you — you’re already getting accustomed to change as the new norm.
To help you make that change, here are three common areas many of your SMB customers are struggling with that you should keep in mind as you engage them on the topic of the cloud and continue down the path toward making peace with this new way of doing business:
- Your customers don’t understand the differences between public and private cloud. According to Citrix’ research, 80% of Fortune 500 companies are using unmanaged cloud storage for their corporate data. For your SMB customers, you can only imagine how much higher that percentage is. Not only does this create the threat of customers losing their valuable intellectual property, it could also put them at risk of not complying with industry mandates/regulations.
- Cloud backup and cloud recovery are worlds apart. As you’re well aware, having data stored securely off-site is only half the equation. If it takes several days to perform a data restore from the cloud because of inadequate bandwidth and time spent building new servers, the cost of downtime could translate to hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue for your customer. Discussing RTO (recovery time objective) is another area small businesses overlook when they move to the cloud without the help of a VAR/MSP.
- Software problems are inevitable. This can occur even if the customer’s applications are running in a top-notch cloud data center. Sometimes an operating system update can cause problems with certain business applications, which is outside the cloud provider’s area of responsibility. SMBs that use VARs/MSPs to remotely monitor and manage their apps can often have their application problems fixed before they even realize there is a problem.
If you have fears about the cloud eating into your profit margins, hopefully this gives you some new ideas to help convince your clients about the importance of partnering with your company — whether they’re considering the cloud or not. By helping clients realize the potential pitfalls they could run into without your help, the cloud + you should make perfect mathematical (and business) sense.