The modern business now stands at a crossroads of technology choices. On one side is the status quo, using on premise technology contained within the traditional model. On the other side is the promise of Cloud, a future that promises lower cost, greater business agility, and increased collaboration.
For VARs who look to Cloud as the future of their industry, the coming days are bright. With IDC predicting Cloud spending to get to $200 billion by 2018, the opportunities to help companies transition will be plenty. However, while the transitions are imminent, the path is a different story. For those looking to take the path into Cloud, there are a lot of questions to ask.
In today’s blog post, we’ll guide you along the path towards what you should consider when you decide to guide your customers along the path that leads them to the Cloud.
Destination #1: Identifying Pain Points
The first step to helping your customers discover their Cloud needs is whether it’s demanded by their organization. Do their calculations indicate that they’ll be saving money? Will they be reducing headcount and increasing agility? Or are they thinking about the transition because the CIO has latched onto the concept? Many businesses now use Cloud technologies as part of their technology strategy and had to define purpose first before moving forward.
Destination #2: Pick Your Cloud Flavor
Once they’ve decided that they want to move forward with Cloud, it’s time to choose what type. In this stage, it’s important for them to identify what matters to your organization based on their applications and business case. Some ideas of criteria to get started include performance versus price, geographic location with respect to data centers, additional services needed (like virtual machines and databases), and applicable tools like infrastructure and deployment management tools. Each company will have a different set of interests in this part of the process.
Destination #3: Choose Your Support
Once your customer has moved to the Cloud, they will have to choose how their technology will be supported. Before they migrate to any service, it’s important that they review vendor service level agreements (SLA), ticket processing, and escalation processes. This could easily determine how quickly their problems are solved once they’ve purchased the product. To note, Cloud SLAs usually cover availability as opposed to performance so get clear on availability of credit during a disruption and if there are any caps. For organizations that are used to having an onsite operations team, this part of the steps is also a good time to look at transition and support flow.
Destination #4: Choose Your Applications
The next step is to decide what applications your customer wants to deploy in their Cloud instances. It’s important to note here that not all applications they use will belong in the Cloud. When considering what will work and what won’t, look to these questions:
- Is this application built to handle failure?
- Can this application be scaled up or down by adding or removing instances versus adding resources?
- Can this application be decomposed into independently managed services which can be scaled?
- Can this application be deployed through automation?
Also important in this step is seeing whether your customer may need to explore new applications or upgrade from existing applications to match compatibility and security with the operating system their organization uses.
Destination #5: Choose Your Employees
The technologies your customer may deploy in their new Cloud instances may disrupt their organizational needs right down to their employees who may have yet to acquire the skills demanded to run the new Cloud strategy. At this point, it will now be up to your customer to provide the resources and incentives for internal teams to learn applications, tools, architectures, and more. Encourage your customer to further assist their employees as well by providing them sandbox environments where they can learn, fail fast, and bring forward new ideas too.