The transition from becoming a traditional IT consulting firm to a firm providing cloud solutions can be an overwhelming one. If you’re used to providing IT consulting services, integration, and custom application development as a revenue source, adding a cloud practice may feel unnatural at first. However, it can also bring an injection of new directions, ideas, and bottom line benefits for those who do make the transition.
According to research firm IDC and our conversations with various channel partners, the days of the monolithic IT consulting and integration project are numbered. The emergence of the agility of cloud, coupled with shrinking budgets due to economic downturn, means that most organizations do not have the capacity or the time to take on enormous projects like they used to. Therefore, IT business leaders who want to have a seat at the table in 5 to 10 years must embrace the cloud and all that it has to offer, or suffer the consequences that come from remaining stagnant.
For the proactive IT consulting firm ready to move to the cloud, where do you start? In today’s blog post, we’ll answer that question by exploring three ways a consulting firm can evolve into the cloud practice they’ve always wanted to be.
- Become a Cloud Advisor
Cloud may have reached a point of ubiquity in the industry, but for many IT consulting customers, the technology has yet to catch up and many feel overwhelmed by the options available to them. This places solution providers in a unique position where they can not only educate customers, but also explain the cloud opportunities available.
One of the many approaches that solution providers can take, is to explain the near term return on investment and savings benefit of the cloud, while also mapping out a meaningful long term strategy. This not only helps a company modernize their infrastructure but also gives them the ability to adapt to any challenges the future might bring. Additionally, IT consulting firms polled by IDC report that their role in the process has also included validating where cloud fits into a company’s vertical market.
- Focus on Iterative Consulting
The journey to fulfilling the promise of technology begins with a single step. As IDC has found, many IT consulting firms are doing just that by designing their integrations to be more agile and iterative through delivering smaller “modules” of consulting, which then move on to the next logical steps. As a result, customers are empowered to run the project the way they want to and see the immediate benefits. In the end, IT consulting firms can use the iterative consulting process as a stepping stone to introducing cloud solutions as a whole.
- Become Your Customer’s IT Department
The third strategy that IT consulting firms can take to evolve their cloud practice is to become the IT department for their customers. Choosing the “IT-department-as-a-service” route can be more fruitful than specializing in a vertical because it serves as a continuous relationship with the customer and requires far less capital investment. Coupled with lower operating costs, IT consulting firms can take on the managed service provider look and feel without taking on the weight.
Examples of effective IT department tactics can also include help desk support and technology maintenance. In IDC’s discussions with IT consulting firms who have already done this, they discovered that many tactics taken on were gradual and took the form of activities such as business continuity (moving and changing infrastructure) and vendor contract relations. Managed correctly, the end result can be a very beneficial relationship for all involved.
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