Are You on the Right Cloud
The Right Cloud
From its launch in 2010 Microsoft Office 365 has had phenomenal success, with user numbers passing 4.5 million and annual revenues exceeding $2.5 billion, Microsoft has successfully started transitioning its own business into a recurring revenue platform. Furthermore with MS Exchange numbers worldwide exceeding 301 million as indicated by research group Radicati, there is still huge scope in the market for Microsoft and their channel partners to grow. For the majority of Partners however that are servicing small to mid-market sized accounts, the move from on premise to the Software as a Service model has been challenging and now the goal posts are about to change again and this is why.
- In the rush/need to make Office 365 a profitable business stream some Partners reduced the technical capabilities of their deployment teams. For example some chose to hire University graduates on lower salaries, however they failed to deliver adequate technical training and support to these grads. Furthermore gaps in Project Management have appeared with some Partners leaving entry level technicians with responsibilities beyond their capabilities. In our own experience we have encountered such basic errors as the number of licenses deployed or even required not matching the number of licenses purchased.
- A lack of skills and experience has resulted in many “out the box deployments”. There is inherently nothing wrong with out the box approach to get the end users started, but businesses need more than email, and Office Apps; they need Line of Business applications if they are to be retained as clients. In Office 365 we have Rolls Royce capability, yet configured and deployed poorly, we are delivering the performance and user experience of a Hair Dryer.
What is Cloud 2.0?
Cloud 2.0 is the ability to create Line of Business applications that serve the needs of the business not IT. IT providers should no longer only be talking with IT Managers, they need to be talking with line of business owners to deliver business solutions to business problems. Gartner analyst Tiffany Bova quoted back in 2012 that 41% of IT spend was coming from Line of Business and the trend was upwards. For example Partners not engaging with their customers sales department will lose out to those Partners who can start the conversation and take those businesses through to a successful deployment of MS Dynamics CRM and Partners not engaging with the Business will not be able to talk to the business and help them understand the huge capabilities and benefits of SharePoint.
Smart Partners are using Cloud 2.0 to win high value “Project Work” that aligns IT with the end users Business Vision and delivers tangible business outcomes. The ability to sell Cloud 2.0 has as much to do with Business and Consultative Selling Skills as it does technical skills, and those Partners who don’t invest in these skills may find their Cloud is short lived. Delivering low level Office 365 deployments with minimal configuration and customizations provides competitors with an open door when they are looking to win new accounts and represents a huge opportunity for the partners who do have the business skills to circle back round and up sell Cloud 2.0
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