One of the first, and most daunting tasks VARs and MSPs face before they can start selling cloud solutions is figuring out where to start. Should you start with hosted Exchange? BDR (backup and disaster recovery)? VoIP? Network security? SaaS? IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)? PaaS (Platform as a Service)?
Once the first question is answered (the most common answer is either email or BDR), there’s another question that’s nearly as daunting as the first: What’s next?
When the realization hits an IT solution provider that it just convinced a customer to forego a $6,000 to $8,000 Capex spend on a new Exchange server project for a $200-per-month hosted Exchange subscription, it can understandably shake the provider’s faith in this new business model.
The situation is made worse when solution providers overlook or forget that just because IT is moving to the cloud, it doesn’t mean all problems go away, too. The reality is that there are new kinds of problems that end users face. A study conducted by the IT Process Institute (ITPI) affirms this point, citing that 76% of companies reported a low to medium level of success with their cloud projects. That’s nearly twice as high as on premise IT projects!
Even though an end user can significantly reduce its Capex costs, if an email spam filter is set too high and traps legitimate emails, or the Microsoft Lync phone system drops calls because the router wasn’t configured properly to allow for real-time data packets, the drawbacks of going to the cloud start to outweigh the savings.
If you sell a cloud solution then move on to the next prospect without offering a managed cloud service, you’re leaving money on the table and doing yourself and your customer a disservice in the process.
Consider the all-too-common scenario of what happens when a customer is unable to access its hosted Exchange or Office 365 email. It has to make several calls to pinpoint whether the issue is with the cloud provider, Internet service provider, technology vendor, or perhaps an internal configuration issue. If you, the trusted business advisor, can sell your customer a remote monitoring and management (RMM) service with your hosted Exchange, BDR, and other cloud services, both you and your customer make out on the deal. They still get to enjoy considerable savings over a Capex spend, and they can continue focusing on their business rather than their IT issues. As for you — you’ve just doubled your monthly recurring revenue and at the same time restored your faith in the power of the cloud.