So you’ve decided you’re ready to make the cloud part of your offerings to your customers.
But what’s your next step to make sure you ready for this new phase of your IT business?
Once you’ve come to that all-important decision, it’s time to really do a self-assessment, says Chaitra Vedullapalli, cloud architect and CMO of Meylah.
“I usually tell people, ‘Start with the self-assessment to know where you are to help you decide where you want to be in the cloud business,” says Vedullapalli. “It’s very important to know where you are in terms of cloud readiness before you decide what needs to be done so you can go out and get the help you need.”
Among the things you should determine are how you’re going to integrate cloud services into your other offerings? The business model has already been discussed. You’ve already taken into consideration the ways in which the new business can make you money. Now what are the steps you need to take to offer these services?
Here are some further things to consider:
6 Areas that Distinguish Cloud Readiness
According to Vedullapalli, six distinct areas encompass the various aspects of cloud readiness:
- Business Model. The cloud-ready business model is the foundation and a vital key to building a cloud practice. Therefore, establishing a clear business direction and strategic game plan is necessary to achieve the revenue growth.
- Cloud Technology. Choosing a reliable and profitable cloud technology stack will help IT companies successfully transitions customer solutions to the cloud.
- Talent Readiness. Identifying the right people to lead the cloud transformation initiative is critical. The cloud requires a different skill set than traditional IT, Vedullapalli said.
- Product Management and Delivery. Cloud solutions call for constant care and feeding. If you are building a cloud product then establishing a cloud product management team and delivery team will ease the transformation. If you are stitching cloud products from multiple vendors to create a solution, then you need to have establish vendor relationships and product competency to support the customer needs on a regular basis.
- Sales and Marketing. Acquiring customers demands that companies think differently about sales and marketing and focus on marketplaces, partnerships, proof of concept as an irresistible offer and use of digital media campaigns.
- Customer Support. Cloud solutions require a new way of supporting customers. They focus on onboarding, addressing billing and provisioning questions, and working proactively with the product development team to address the customer challenges.
Differences Between Traditional IT and the Cloud
The shift from traditional, on-premise infrastructure to cloud-based solutions is seismic, bringing dramatic changes that touch each of the core areas mentioned above.
For example, licensing is no longer based on annual renewals but on pay-as-you-go subscriptions that provide recurring revenue. Software releases used to only take place bi-annually. Now, they occur quarterly or even monthly. In the old days, the time to adoption could take six months to a year. Now, it requires just hours or even minutes. With all the changes, it’s no wonder that IT providers have difficulty keeping up!
7 Steps to Becoming a Cloud Ready Business
Without a doubt, the invention of the cloud has disrupted the traditional IT business model and practice. And while IT companies know why they need to become cloud ready, what they don’t know is how.
That’s where Vedullapalli’s company, Meylah, can help. Meylah offers providers a 7-step roadmap to becoming a cloud-ready business. Companies that have adopted these steps have seen success in helping existing customers and attracting new ones.
According to Stana Steen, Founder of High Standards, a cloud ready company that has implemented the seven step roadmap “Cloud coaching is just what I needed to push my Microsoft Cloud business forward. I have been selling some Office 365 but the cloud coaching has enabled me to truly define the Microsoft offerings to be able to present them in a way to clients where they are not overwhelmed and they can really see the value in the products. You added accountability, which has forced me to focus on what I needed to do to move forward instead of letting my other responsibility push this planning to the back burner. My clients and future clients will benefit from my coaching as when I am well informed and understand our business model they receive better information, faster adoption, and better service.”
The steps are as follows:
- Determine Your Profitability. Conduct profitability planning to identify business models for building or scaling a cloud practice.
- Assess Your Readiness. Next, assess your readiness to understand the areas where you should invest resources and budget. Microsoft and Meylah has partnered to provide a readiness assessment tool, to make the process easier and quicker for IT companies.
- Decide on Your Business Model and Strategy. Develop a business strategy and change plan for building or scaling your cloud practice. Vedullapalli recommends that you work with a company who can help you focus on building a cloud business model and identify the first 100 day action plan.
- Identify and Select Your Cloud Solutions. Establish product management functions for developing a cloud practice. Vedullapalli recommends that you sell a cloud stack from companies such as Microsoft, Google or VMWare plus a partner solution, which could include migration, business intelligence, ongoing maintenance, integration or customer training and support. “You are selling a comprehensive business solution that stitches a variety of products and services together, not just the cloud stack,” she said. “The more services you offer, the ‘stickier’ you become to your customers. Stitching software is the new game.”
- Build Cloud Solution Configurations. Identify, package and build cloud-based product integrations, applications and managed services.
- Create a Go to Market Plan. Develop go to market channels for promoting and distributing cloud applications and services. These could include marketplaces and via partners.
- Develop a Customer Support Plan. Establish a 24X7/365 customer support function to manage provisioning, billing, invoicing and activations.
“Going through the process of profitability planning, determining your readiness, building a business model, identifying the customer segment you want to reach and the products you will sell, will give you clear picture of how to make yours a cloud-ready business,” Vedullapalli said. “Follow through with building out a go-to-market strategy and customer service plan and your chances of success will improve greatly.”
To learn more about how to becoming a cloud-ready business, take the FREE Microsoft cloud readiness assessment at iamreadycloud. Those who take the assessment will also receive a free report detailing the cloud-ready journey.
Cloud Photo via Shutterstock
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