Stefan-Utzinger_3_14BF4EFD.jpgWe all know that cloud computing is key to the future growth of businesses. If you don’t know this, I suggest you wake up and smell the cloud. That’s right. Smell the cloud. Whether you’re one who embraces it or defies it, the hype remains the same—the ever-so-prevailing cloud is here to stay, and we must adapt accordingly.
So now that we know everybody’s talking about the cloud, what’s in it for you?
Gauging Demand
It’s clear that the cloud presents a whole new set of offerings for partners, but to achieve success with it, one must look beyond plentiful offerings. And when I say “beyond”, I mean beyond the fancy, tech-savvy websites, full-page magazine ads, and ooh-la-la margin proposals. In order to be successful with the cloud, partners must pay attention to more than just license sales and try focusing on offering full-fledged managed services to their customers (if they don’t do so already).
Instead of simply selling licenses, service providers should look at all cloud service offerings on the market and determine the customer demand for the service as well as its intended user(s). The larger the customer demand and intended user base, the larger the success of the service will be. As obvious as that sounds, it needs to be reiterated and pounded in your cloud-filled brain.
Backup and Recovery
One area in particular that is showing significant growth is online backup services. Why, you ask? The answer is simple. Managed backup-and-recovery as a service is one area of cloud computing that people want and need. Even more important, the intended users range from home users all the way up to large enterprises. In addition, due to rapid data growth, rising bandwidths, and quickly evolving technology, users and businesses alike are discovering that service providers are much better equipped to handle their data protection and availability needs.
A business currently managing their own backup and recovery processes can save considerable money in hardware costs, software costs, and IT overhead by outsourcing this service to a qualified service provider using a cloud-based platform. As an added benefit, doing so allows them to focus on what the service provides (business continuity) without worrying about the infrastructure and resources needed to provide it.
Where to Begin
Offering backup as a service (including online backup, storage as a service, and managed backup services) is recommended to get started in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business, but not every business model for data backup and protection services has the potential for success. The challenge often lies in the transition from license sales to the provision of managed services.
The entry scenario is unique for each reseller/solution provider, depending on the type of customers it serves and the business fields it focuses on. In the area of data backup services, there are four major business cases for providing cloud services:
  1. Online backup for end consumers’ desktops/laptops
  2. Online backup for business customers’ desktops/laptops/servers
  3. Local and online backup as a service for business customers
  4. Managed backup services
In each context above, the road to success for the reseller is just as variable as the scenario itself. Partners should begin by identifying a cloud business model and considering the following:
  • Company history/current business model
  • Existing customer relationships
  • Data center quality
  • Available resources (staff/finances)
  • Corporate strategy (staying focused)
Defining a Business Model
Frequently, service providers concentrate on selecting the right software and hardware, while neglecting their individual—and, ideally—distinctive profile. Because of this, the technology is often chosen before the business model is defined—even though the latter is an equally decisive factor in success and should dictate the choice of one’s hardware and software. Business customers, for example, require a different kind of technical infrastructure than one suited for private users. Thus, a business model must be laid out.
Defining the business model is only the first step to success in the cloud, however. It must be followed by concrete planning and implementation. Pricing, target group, and licenses all must be taken into consideration as well, but to survive in the market, it is not enough for providers to simply offer an IT service. They must develop and pursue their own plans for success by offering cloud services that are in demand. The magic formula is in the differentiation that emerges from clearly defined target groups and the provider’s existing specialties. Now work that magic, and shout with me, “Abracadabra!”
For more information on the definition of business models, please request NovaStor’s white paper “Cloud Backup: Getting Started – How to Create a Successful Business Model with Managed Backup Services”.  ​