I get this pretty much every day. On Thursday I did a presentation at MSPU and I got a lot of people asking me about how to formulate a cloud strategy.
Being the pimp that I am, I told them I’d not just answer their question but all the ones they weren’t asking. “It’s not what you know, it’s what you don’t know.” Basically, I got a bunch of people to proof read a part of my book for free. 🙂
So here it is in a nutshell, the core of pimping the cloud and pretty much anything in any kind of a business:
All businesses have internal competition. Accounts receivable vs. Accounts payable. Payroll vs. Human Resources. The case for internal competition is that it efficiently allocates corporate resources (ie, cash, people) to make sure the company grows efficiently and responsibly. Without it, companies can burn out their cash or starve their innovation – both leading to doom.
Business growth in IT is similarly structured. You have to recruit and entice a new client base with one hand, while you smack some of it away with the other. Without a steady stream of new business, you cannot find remarkably profitable accounts consistently. Sure, you can spend a lot on marketing and referrals and get lucky every now and then, but long term success is founded on a long term strategy of cultivating your client base and serving their expanding business technology need as they grow.
If your response to the above is: “Well, yeah, no shit Vlad.” you’re on the right track. But I can tell you that at least 90% of the people I speak to don’t get it.
Most IT Solution Providers consider the cloud from what I like to call the blacksmith angle. Blacksmith is someone that looks backwards at previous success patterns and thinks that current and future innovation is a fad. Instead of chasing the fad, they focus on past success patterns. The truth is, success is somewhere in the middle.
As I told several executives that I’m pitching a solution to recently:
“You’re going to have a tougher and tougher time finding people that are going to go from managing their business with Excel & Notepad and dedicate themselves to automating business processes that don’t even exist.”
The same applies to the IT Solution Provider crowd. You’re going to have a tougher and tougher time trying to find a company that needs to build out a computer network, or a new server – if they even had IT in the first place. They are out there – but how much money will you spend to find them?
Is the case for a server or a network gone? Absolutely not. Have customers started putting their workstations on eBay in favor of working on their Internet enabled TV? Absolutely not.
But choosing not to build out a lead generation system based on a profitable and proven technology is insane. It’s dead easy to grow horizontally, especially when you have the right staff or the right partners.
The cloud is an opportunity to quickly and cost effectively build up a huge client base without building a huge support department or staff. It is a complement to a long term strategy of delivering professional services to customers that have chosen you as their platform. Microsoft and Google get this. They are cannibalizing themselves because they know that the platform is the marginalized good and what you help your clients accomplish with it is where the money really lies.
Seriously. How often do you get shot down in a business proposal over dollars and cents? And how often do people not even blink at the cost even if you’re the most expensive solution on the table?
Would you like to know why?
When you don’t understand or don’t appreciate something, you will only qualify and consider it at the factor you do understand: the economic one – how much is this going to cost me and which one is the cheapest? But as the business grows and technology needs pile up, it’s more cost effective to have the best solution because the cheapest one will require hidden costs or unravel a string productivity losses.
There. Now you know everything you need to know about the cloud, infrastructure, failed and winning business strategy. If you’d like to know more, sign up for one of our webcasts.
To be honest, it’s not really about what solution you pick (although I’m really, really, really biased) it’s important that you have and implement a lead generation and a prospect grooming / qualifying process in your marketplace.