Cloud continues to be top of the IT agenda this year and with channel companies – from managed service providers to resellers to agents – increasingly recognising the huge opportunities that exist in the cloud services sector, it is important to match your capabilities with a cloud service provider that can help you maximise these opportunities.
According to Dante Orsini, SVP Channel & Business Development for global cloud services provider iland, channel organisations have very diverse requirements and desired levels of investment when embarking on a cloud services strategy.
“For some, it is about earning recurring commissions with minimal involvement in the end-to-end sales and support process. Conversely, resellers often want to retain billing relationships but have assistance with the sales and support process from the cloud provider. Managed Service Providers (MSPs) often want to be responsible for the end customer relationship, which includes billing, account management and support, and profit from adding their own managed services offerings around the cloud service.
Therefore, it is important for channel organisations to partner with a cloud provider that can support their desired strategy and help them deliver the security, scalability and cost-effective cloud services that their customers demand.”
Orsini recommend channel firms should consider the following when selecting partner CSP.
Tenure in the industry
How long has the cloud provider been in the industry? What is their level of expertise? With cloud computing now being more than a decade old, cloud providers that have been around for that long have gained priceless experience that they can help you pass onto your customers.
Breadth of offerings
What can the cloud service provider offer that will truly enhance your product portfolio? The demand for cloud-based backup and DR solutions is huge and growing quickly and many channel organisations can benefit from partnering with CSPs who are leaders in this space. For Managed Service Providers, an important consideration is whether the CSP enables you to monitor and manage all of your customers’ cloud services including Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and cloud backup?
Depending on your customer base and growth ambitions, you may need to team up with a cloud provider that has a national – even a global – footprint. More and more companies – both large and small – are prioritising data sovereignty across borders when making cloud buying decisions and it’s important to partner with a cloud provider that can support this with a global data centre footprint. Ensure that the cloud provider can both host the workloads of your customers and provide backup and DR facilities in the necessary locations.
Performance and scalability
Essential for any channel organisation to achieve and maintain success are the service levels you’re able to deliver to your customers. Your cloud service provider must have in place clear service level agreements that will support you to acquire customers and keep them happy. It is also advisable to examine past performance and uptime.
Security and compliance
No matter who your target market is, cloud security and compliance considerations will be at the top of their priorities list. It is essential to have a partner who can help you meet your compliance requirements as well as your customers. To help channel partners respond to an environment of increased risk from cyber-attacks, ransomware and other threats, the cloud provider should natively integrate advanced security features into its cloud platform. Of course, the cloud service provider should also be fully certified and compliant with industry regulations and be able to help you prove that to your customers.
Determine if your cloud service provider is agile enough to meet your needs, and to efficiently have your customers up and running with the cloud services with pricing structures that suit diverse needs.
Different cloud providers place different value and investment levels in their channel. Does the cloud provider have experience with channel partners, and, if so, do they have good relationships with their channel partners? And, importantly, the provider should not compete with their channel partners in professional or managed services. This will protect your revenue opportunities.
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