On the whole, solution providers have embraced the cloud, but there are still some reservations. One thing for sure is that digital transformation is happening in the mainstream, and the cloud is the direction everyone is headed. Yet, there’s a divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-mores.’
Channelnomics, in collaboration with Ingram Micro Cloud, has surveyed more than 1,100 U.S.-based IT solution providers to examine how they run their businesses. In its fourth and latest State of the U.S. Cloud Channel study, Channelnomics found that many partners may not be doing enough to bolster their cloud practices to really accelerate.
In the latest survey, 94% of partners said they focus on the cloud to some degree. The cloud represents at least one-quarter of revenue for about 25% of respondents, trending upwards from 2018. And 80% of surveyed solution providers plan to build their cloud portfolios in the coming year.
Despite partners’ lofty cloud goals, a large portion of them have done little strategic planning. Among respondents, 80% conceded that they don’t set specific cloud sales goals, and six out of ten said they don’t have a specific cloud business plan.
Because their cloud practices are built on the recurring-revenue model, partners need to generate a stable, predictable revenue stream to thrive. That means winning new customers at a steady clip and, perhaps more important, retaining them over time. According to the results of the State of the U.S. Cloud Channel study, 70% of partners are increasing their cloud customer base by less than 6% each month. Working with Ingram Micro Cloud can help partners establish those business plans, implement a well-executed go-to-market strategy, and build a robust team of professionals and SMEs to provide support along the way.
Since 2017, solution providers’ customer churn performance has remained essentially static. Partners continue to draw more cloud customers than they churn away, but by a narrow margin – losing two each month for every three acquired. Renewal cycles and limited customer contact may be largely to blame for partners’ less-than-stellar retention rates. Almost one-half (46%) still rely on annual contracts, while one-third offer cloud services on a month-to-month basis or with no contract or commitment whatsoever. Meanwhile, 34% of respondents communicate with clients only as needed, indicating a lack of investment in customer success.
Even in the best of times, reinvestment in a business is key. This has been Ingram Micro Cloud’s mission from the start: to reinvest in partners by giving them enablement programs, tools, training, and complete support to ensure success on every level. Our multi-pronged approach consists of providing partners with a roadmap for focusing on strategic practice areas and enhancing the customer experience – all with the goal of compounding their growth.
Solution providers want to succeed in the highly competitive cloud market, but they still have a fair amount of work ahead of them. Ultimately, those who invest in their cloud practices by drawing their attention to strategic growth areas and customer experience will reap the biggest rewards. Focusing on the customer experience, investing time in building strong partnerships with distributors like Ingram Micro Cloud to leverage robust tools and programs, and driving more opportunities through the cross-selling of collaboration, infrastructure, and security solutions will make all the difference in the cloud.
Ingram Micro Cloud is dedicated to providing partners with enablement across the board to help improve their customer retention, as well as educational and certification paths to ensure they’re staying on top of the latest and greatest in cloud technology.
To gain access to this study, simply complete a short form to instantly download your free copy of the 2021 State of the U.S. Cloud Channel report. Learn more about how to accelerate your cloud growth, and take advantage of what the full study has brought to light. We look forward to helping you along the way.