Be prepared to restructure your company and your processes
Dot Net’s transition has required a complete restructuring of their company to support the new business focus. They restructured their sales team and added a technical sales function as they have learned that the sale in the corporate accounts and enterprise space requires deep technical expertise during the sales process.
Dan commented that “Infrastructure sales are very technical. Technical sellers are doing most of the work to land the customers.” The structure and process that these sellers take is also important. “You are dealing with mission critical applications and you have to be more structured in what you do. We took learnings from our agile heritage, for example breaking things into manageable chunks. We don’t try to boil the ocean.”
In support of the addition of managed services to their practices, Dot Net has implemented a new policy to include their managed services in all of their proposals and has reinvented their incentive system to provide stronger rewards for managed services attach for their sales team.
It takes investment
Dot Net’s latest phase of their transition is the addition of Managed Services to their practice. “Managed services is a whole new world for us. We had to make some huge investments to get it going.” According to Dan this involved hiring and setting up a dedicated team to service their managed services customers. He indicated that he has seen a lot of partners try to use their implementation team to also run their managed services and this can lead to trouble if your implementation team is in the field with customers and then is also trying to support any issues that might arise in the managed service practice. In addition to hiring incremental resources, Dot Net has also made big investments in systems and tools to support their managed services practices including Parature and System Center tooling system. They are particularly excited about how the new Operations Management Suite can fit in to this lineup too.
Sometimes buying is better than building
While Dot Net chose to build their infrastructure and managed services businesses from the ground up, they opted to make an acquisition to speed up their Office 365 practice. “The market was so hot and was moving so fast, that we just couldn’t wait for organic growth on the 365 side.” Dot Net acquired boutique Office 365 specialists Aims Online in early 2014. “Aims had a great reputation in the market, great case studies, and great people. This acquisition saved 6-12 months of organic growth and was one of the best decisions we have made in our journey to the Cloud.”
You must take a long term view
Dan commented that it took 6-12 months of hard work to get their infrastructure business up and running and 8 months to get their managed services off the ground. Building a business in the cloud requires perseverance and focus and you need to be committed to making investments that may take months and even years to pay off.