… you have thought through ways to protect them.
Consideration: We’re late to this market.
Step: Differentiate yourself! A wide variety of IT services comprise the cloud, so think about which ones you can specialize in to build expertise and stand out among the other companies. Some of the fastest areas of cloud applications include IT areas like managed mobility; big-data storage and analysis; network and systems management; SD-WAN; managed security; data recovery and backup; and help desk. If you can offer cloud services in a few of these areas, especially to SMB and SME customers, you’ll have a serious opportunity for growth.
Additionally, think about the value-adds you can provide that will make you unique. SD-WAN is a particularly good base to build services on. That said, don’t try to be everything to everyone. While a comprehensive services slate is important, to establish trust with your customers and truly be an expert in one area, home in on one vertical market or customer segment that reflects your area of expertise. In other words, go niche with the customer, not the tech stack.
Consideration: Is it hard to be profitable?
Step: Understand that the ideal CSP business plan is based on three tenets: low overhead, limited inventory and decent margins. Some partners struggle with the pay-as-you-go model that accompanies cloud services. Because revenue can be difficult to predict with this method, you will need to examine your current recurring income and think about how to replace it if you move those IT services to the cloud. Specifically, you need to find another way to continue adding value, whether through selling RMM (remote monitoring and management) services, or upgrading to more complex solutions and “as a service” products (infrastructure, software, platforms).
Keep in mind, to be successful and profitable, you’ll want to meet your customers’ needs of a highly automated cloud offering with self-provisioning services and tracking capabilities. Further, automated cloud services can drive down labor costs and enhance profitability. Long term, a secure monthly recurring income from cloud services raises your company’s valuation, a nice benefit if you plan to retire anytime in the next decade or so.
Rhonda Trainor is director of merchandising for ScanSource and a member of the Channel Partners editorial advisory board.