Future proof your business: How to become a complete cloud solutions provider

Cloud services are rewriting the rules of business, improving the way people collaborate and revolutionising the way we work. For most businesses, this is making the world a lot easier, but for IT service providers, cloud services are making the landscape more complex.

[easy-tweet tweet=”To maximise profitability and future proof your business, the key to success is on building the value add” hashtags=”Cloud”]

The proliferation of cloud technology means traditional providers must adapt their offering from transactional services to an integrated solution, delivering services traditionally outside of their core capabilities. The benefits of switching to the cloud are vast. For instance, the latest research from Microsoft and IDC revealed that the cloud is key to growth. Microsoft’s cloud-focused partners are growing at double the rate of non-cloud resellers, and enjoy one and a half times more gross profit. Resellers, service providers and ISVs should take advantage of the long term business opportunity and recurring revenue streams presented by becoming a complete cloud solution provider.

However, as cloud adoption has risen, so has customer expectation. The customer lifecycle is now more important than ever, meaning providers must deliver a seamless customer experience through the entire journey. For IT providers to maximise profitability and future proof their business, the key to success is on building the value add. The good news is the door is now open for partners hoping to make the most of this opportunity.

To guide your business through this challenging landscape, Michael Frisby, Managing Director of Vuzion and Cobweb Solutions, shares his three top tips to ensure your switch to a cloud first model is a success.

Build a rich portfolio of services

Delivering a tailored solution which meets your individual customer needs is key. Partner with a cloud aggregator who offers a marketplace of relevant and compatible services. This will enable you to implement and combine new capabilities within your own IT services offering in order to expand the revenue and profit opportunities for your business as a whole.

It’s important to consider how your offering fits together. Think about whether new cloud services will work to enhance your business and brand with new and existing customers, or if they will appeal to a certain demographic.

Consider Billing-as-a-Service

Partnering with a provider who offers Billing-as-a-Service capabilities is vital for success, particularly for small businesses which may not have the resources or expertise to take this on in-house. 

Not only will this boost your own services offering, but using a provider who offers automated customer invoicing, payment collection and credit control minimises the overheads and complexities associated with consumption based billing.

What’s more, this will free up your time to concentrate on delivering better customer service and growing your business – especially if you partner with a provider who offers a 24/7 support service.

Why is this necessary? Cloud services require immediate, accurate monitoring and billing. They must support several monetisation strategies, such as upgrading from trials to subscription and bundling services. Differing services will require differing pricing, ranging from recurring monthly fees to usage-based fees. Usage needs to be tracked and reporting must be available on demand. For a traditional business, this is a significant change to accounting, customer care and delivery processes.

Benefit from a smart ecosystem of partners

For businesses that are new to selling cloud services, teaming up with a provider who can connect you with an ecosystem of partners with whom you can collaborate and learn from is invaluable. Working together with other partners can help you to more easily create and deliver an integrated range of business solutions to best meet your customers’ requirements.

No one business or vendor can necessarily offer everything, and that’s where a partnership of complimentary services can provide access to the skills and business offerings that customers need – wrapped in the package delivered by your business through the cloud.

Remember, marketing is vital for business success

Cloud technology has changed the dynamic between traditional IT resellers and cloud providers. As a result, providers are expanding the services they offer to include customer lifecycle management, lead generation, training and sales support. This is great news, particularly for smaller resellers who may not have the resources available to make this investment!

When making the switch to the cloud, look for a provider who offers support when it comes to marketing automation, CRM integration and market insight integration. This will boost your customer lifetime value. Partnering with a provider who offers go-to-market support to win and retain customers and create up and cross sell opportunities will ensure your business is geared to succeed in the cloud.

[easy-tweet tweet=”The #cloud has altered the relationship between vendors, businesses and traditional IT service providers”]

In short, the rise of the cloud has irreversibly altered the relationship between cloud providers, businesses and traditional IT service providers. To stay competitive, cloud providers must adapt their partner models to deliver greater value and business success for both parties, and resellers must harness the digital era and bring cloud tools into their remit! By so doing, providers and resellers will reap the rewards, as will the everyday businesses to whom their services benefit.

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