Interesting video from Microsoft Showcase showing Allison Watson from Microsoft explaining the opportunity of the cloud for Microsoft Partners
There has been much deliberation within the partner channel on the recent announcements from Steve Ballmer that Microsoft is ‘all in’ when it comes to the cloud. What does this really mean for a Microsoft partner? Well, the answer is slightly different depending upon your business model. If you create bespoke solutions then cloud services are an added string to your bow, if you are a Value Added Reseller then your cheese has just been moved.
It is a fairly common notion that if you do not wish to work in an industry of change then IT is not the place for you! With any technological advancement there are winners and losers. Perhaps the difference in the inevitable shift to cloud is that the majority have a choice.
There are lots of well documented and frankly, obvious, negative arguments for leading with a cloud based message. If your business flourishes on providing consultancy around the provision of on premise IT infrastructure then the argument is really clear. Compare the services revenue for a Partner deploying a one hundred user BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) solution versus that of a Partner providing an Exchange and SharePoint environment for the same one hundred user organization delivered on premise, and the margins are vastly different. The same can be said for Google mail versus Lotus Notes, Salesforce.com versus Pegasus. If we focus on these comparisons there is not much of an argument and we are clearly missing the point.
The Cloud is bigger than BPOS, it’s bigger than Salesforce.com, it’s bigger than Microsoft and Google combined.
In a recent debate on whether a partner organization should lead with the cloud; someone put the following argument across, (the numbers are questionable but the point is clear) “… If you asked your most competent sales guy to sit on the phone, 15 hours a day selling BPOS and by some miracle managed to get him to sell 1000 seats of BPOS a day (that’s one thousand people deployed) at about £6.50 a seat, you would likely make around a 6% markup; that’s about £390 a month…”
Let’s look at that another way; forgetting BPOS, Gmail, Amazon, etc. Let’s take another sales guy, not you’re most competent but Joe Average and ask him to sit on the telephone for 5 hours a day and call up customers with cloud related messages…
“…would you like to improve your Company’s carbon footprint?”
“…would you like to reduce business travel?”
“…would you like to reduce your capital expenditure on IT systems?”
“…would you like to improve the communication channels within your organisation?”
“…would you like to make your desk less or fringe workers more productive and collaborative?”
“…would you like to reduce your overall IT spend and improve the productivity tools available to your workforce?”
We lead with the cloud, let’s see if we can move some of the customers workers to cloud based applications, let’s give them email, an instant messaging client and a way to store and collaborate on documents from anywhere with a negligible setup cost and a monthly fee, all without the concerns of security and maintenance. Let’s try and enhance experiences and functionality by integrating cloud based services into existing environments and let’s help customers to transform their current business to one that is ready for the Internet Generation and uses IT as a utility based enabler.
Chances are our sales guy won’t sell any more BPOS seats, but he will open a lot of doors and get time with new and existing customers to discuss their IT needs. He will have a greater range of services and flexibility in price and deployment options to ensure he sells ‘something’ to more customers. If the cloud isn’t right for those customers, guess who is sat at the table when they dismiss that option and look at on premise solutions? Lead with the cloud, sell more on premise solutions.
Another opportunity is to wrap additional services around the cloud offerings: Partners could provide migration services or maintenance contacts and even procurement services, all increasing the monthly revenue income and the overall worth of their business.
If Partners were to lead with a cloud based strategy I believe it would allow them to have more empathetic conversations with customers, have more options for more customers – increasing their reach, have the ability to compete in new markets and most importantly increase services based revenue on migration projects to the cloud, on premise deployments and create an annuity based revenue stream for their business. Due to political reasons, not every customer will want a completely cloud based infrastructure; Partners have a unique opportunity in being able to offer the best of both worlds and strengthen their position with customers even further.
Just stumbled upon this article on CRN, pretty interesting view on how the cloud will impact services based organisations and in particular the opportunity for company’s that already offer managed services to rebrand as cloud enablers!
This is really shaping up to be some year, It’s hard to keep up with all the releases happening this year. Bing is going from strength to strength as we add more and more functionality and slowly start to pull share from our competitors. If Windows Phone 7 Series isn’t exciting enough we announced the release of the first socially orientated device called Kin.
Last Friday saw the wave 14 products released to manufacturing (Microsoft Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, Visio 2010, and Project 2010 ) and Exchange 2010 is already moving faster than Theo Walcott in a toy store.
Today Microsoft released Windows Intune in to beta. Intune provides cloud based PC management including anti-virus, patch updating and more. There is currently a limited trial for 1000 customers so move faster than Theo.
You have to check out the trailer for this new movie by James Nguyen. it could be the worst movie ever made but its quickly turning into a phenomenon! Apparently cost just 10k to make, you’d never guess! very funny, take a peek at the trailer…
Birdemic: Shock And Terror Official Theatrical Trailer from Severin Films on Vimeo.