5 Tips For MSPs: What Cloud Services Are In Demand By SMBs
By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor
With all the buzz about cloud rolling over into 2011, it seems one of the biggest questions out there is where and how to sell cloud solutions to the SMB market, a common target for MSPs. Experts at OS33, a cloud-based IT-as-a-Service platform for MSPs, offer these 5 tips to help MSPs demonstrate the value of cloud-based IT offerings to SMBs.
Emphasize the Cost Savings of a Move to the Cloud: SMB customers won't buy your cloud-based IT offerings unless you can clearly demonstrate both immediate and ongoing cost savings. While a move to the cloud is generally expected to bring significant cost savings, the real challenge is to demonstrate the specific savings to the customer. Providing a detailed quote that clearly demonstrates the savings in hardware, management and operations costs realized by moving IT assets to the cloud is critical.
Offer SMBs a Solution That Features an Integrated Platform: Merely promising to help control recurring IT costs alone won't close a sale. Even less tech-savvy SMB customers are becoming aware that scattered cloud-based assets have somewhat limited benefits. A cloud offering based on products from multiple vendors simply won't work. End users need a solution that brings all of their IT resources, such as infrastructure, applications, management and delivery together, accessed and supported on the same platform.
Simplify Things for the End User with a Single Interface: The cloud is not a major competitive plus unless everything is centralized and organized through a simple-to-use and easy-to-access interface. To get all of the benefits inherent to cloud computing, SMBs need an interface that provides them with unified access to all of their IT assets -- applications, data and service -- on one screen, on any connected device, anywhere.
Ensure that Application Performance and SLAs Will Be Met: Business customers of all sizes are demanding nothing less than enterprise-level performance and availability for their applications running in the cloud. From what we have seen, most end users are willing to give up any and all benefits associated with cloud computing if their LOB applications do not meet their SLA or performance expectations.
Provide Exceptional Service and Support at All Times: The sale doesn't end when an SMB signs a contract. What's also in demand is great support. And this means support with immediate response time. A lack of adequate support results in a major loss of productivity and some very unhappy end users. It's critical for your MSP practice to support any cloud-based service that you offer as if it's your own product. Too many deployments fail due to lack of prompt, knowledgeable support.
"SMBs range from having their most technology-literate employee overseeing their computing needs to having a full-blown IT department," says Jacob Kazakevich, OS33 president. "But regardless of size, all organizations are looking to leverage the economic benefits, simplicity, and accessibility of cloud-based IT. MSPs who understand what cloud services are in demand by SMBs and can tailor their offerings to satisfy these demands will ultimately be the most successful."