The path to profits with cloud is not about reaching a final destination—it’s about the journey. And while there are milestones along the way, the possibilities seem to go on forever. Solution providers should take advantage and help customers advance their positions by offering more than just a simple, standard cloud road map.
Expand your horizons
When it comes to cloud offerings and the professional services that support them, there’s a world of choices out there for solution providers. But pro services are only as good (and profitable) as the practice they support. Before fleshing out their businesses with value-added services, partners need to understand what end users want: simplicity and transparency. They want something as close to a one-stop shop as possible.
To provide a diverse array of cloud solutions that cover the gamut of end-user organizations, solution providers should leverage aggregators like Ingram Micro and its partners, allowing customers to consolidate cloud suppliers without giving up the benefit of best-of-breed solutions. Only then can solution providers focus on attaching professional services that are manageable, scalable and profitable.
As partners speed ahead in the cloud, they also need to understand the importance and power of those complementary services. Even the most basic cloud offerings can be bundled with professional services—including assessment, migration, configuration, optimization and support—for a more comprehensive customer solution.
The trick is understanding how to strategically pair professional services with cloud offerings. This comes down to knowing why these services matter, assessing the current state of the market and being aware of the available options.
See beyond the technology
Today’s customers want more than one-and-done sales from their solution providers. They want value-added services that help them procure, configure, support, manage and harness everything cloud can provide. Offer them the right services upfront and customers will turn to you as their cloud needs evolve. Ultimately, professional services around the cloud allow solution providers to form stronger relationships with their end users.
For those looking to generate more revenue, increase profitability and enhance market visibility through these services, there’s good news: The professional cloud services market is gaining traction, and it’s not expected to slow down anytime soon.
Speed past the rest
According to Research and Markets, the cloud space is set to grow at a compound annual rate of nearly 18% between 2018 ($18 billion) and 2024 ($49 billion), driven in large part by widespread digital transformation efforts and the increasing deployment of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence.
Without a doubt, solution providers across the board are adding value to their cloud engagements through pre- and post-sales service arrangements.
In fact, 91% are delivering some kind of professional services related to cloud computing, according to the 2018 State of the U.S. Cloud Channel report by The 2112 Group, in conjunction with Ingram Micro Cloud and Microsoft. Additionally, two out of three solution providers bolster their cloud engagements via post-sales consultations as well as data and application migration services. And they’re increasingly paying attention to pre-sales services such as needs assessments (58%) and services around architecture and design (57%).
Yet an untapped potential remains when it comes to more complex, higher-value cloud services. For example, only about one-third (32%) of solution providers offer app integration and customization services, and just 16% deliver application development.
Enjoy the journey to cloud
As organizations’ digital transformation initiatives continue to pick up steam, solution providers will have fresh opportunities to deliver professional services that enhance their customers’ ability to leverage cloud computing more effectively.
The intersection of cloud with on-the-rise technology sets—such as AI, machine learning, analytics and big data—as well as enterprise mobility and social initiatives will spur businesses to seek help from their trusted solution providers in sorting through, deploying, managing, supporting and optimizing complex IT systems consisting of multiple product and service components.
By sharpening their service edge, solution providers stand a greater chance of keeping their customer operations humming along—and keeping their customers in the fold.
How does your cloud business measure up?
Try the 2112 Cloud Altimeter—a cloud assessment tool exclusively for Ingram Micro partners. By answering a few questions about your company and its cloud practice, this tool will generate a comprehensive report on how your company stacks up to others in the same class. To learn more, visit the 2112 Group Cloud Altimeter.