By Derek Siler, Director, Solution Engineering, Channels Organization, Sungard Availability Services
Across industries, the majority of companies want to take a cloud-first strategy when launching new applications — and the investment in IT is following. Gartner predicts the worldwide public cloud services market will total $246.8 billion in 2017, up 18 percent from 2016. And 74 percent of tech CFOs believe cloud technology will have the most measurable impact on their businesses this year.
But what about customers that have legacy applications that can’t be decommissioned and can’t move to the cloud? They’re operating with a mix of on-premises servers and cloud capabilities. Gartner has dubbed this hybrid environment “Bimodal IT,” and it’s incredibly common. The stable, legacy applications of Mode 1 environments often involve mission-critical operations, are largely housed on-premises and represent capital expenditures (CapEx) for the business. The born-in-the-cloud applications of Mode 2, meanwhile, are much more agile than Mode 1 applications, and they represent operational expenditures (OpEx).
While businesses are moving toward cloud-native Mode 2 applications for speed and agility, the shift naturally results in a redirection of spending from CapEx to OpEx. But if you don’t understand the role of both modes and how they play together in your customers’ digital journeys, you could be saddling your clients with the wrong solutions while hurting your own business by leaving money on the table.
The problem is, we need to dig deeper into what customers need, not just what we want to sell.
Everyone has biases in how they approach a sale. Master agents, for example, are all about selling network services into Mode 2 opportunities, while value-added resellers (VARs) typically focus on selling storage, server and virtualization systems to support Mode 1 applications. Each plays to its own strengths, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this penchant for one side of IT over another means that neither master agents nor VARs are capturing the full opportunity a prospective client presents. Customers’ systems can be much more complex than they let on, and if you’re asking leading questions to favor your bias, you may not get the full story.
You can dig deeper in every conversation, however, by asking a few key questions. As you’re learning background on a customer’s environment, slip in this: “How much have you been able to migrate to the cloud?” The average organization will tell you about 20-30 percent.
Then, follow up with the million-dollar question: “What’s preventing you from moving all your applications to the cloud?”
Maybe the barrier is security, or the organization doesn’t want to be in a multi-tenant environment, or the applications can’t be virtualized. Regardless, the right partner can help them tackle these objections and move their IT into …