We live in a flexible economy where business demands are higher than ever before. Our customers are no longer looking for expensive, three to five year IT investments. They want IT to be fast and agile. The modern business will not wait a couple of weeks for IT to deliver some servers for a campaign. While Cloud computing is an almost ancient IT solution, these changes to our customers mindset over the last couple of years has caused the Cloud to become a real business opportunity. Business will easily swipe their credit card and deploy Azure servers within minutes to help them meet their business goals. So, if you still think that solution selling to the IT department is the way to go, your customers will probably think you are old fashioned.
 
Born-in-the-cloud Microsoft partners have realized this potential, and many of these recent startups have been successful. But what if you were there before the cloud? What if you are the traditional IT Infrastructure supplier? How will you make a profitable business in the new cloud based economy? This was the case for those of us at ICT Spirit. We’ve committed to transitioning to the Cloud, and we are already finding success and learning a lot as we are making the change.
 
A different way of thinking
So, how can you make a transition to a profitable cloud business? Just adding Office365, Windows Intune or even Azure to your portfolio won’t do it. At ICT Spirit we have made the successful transition in the last couple of years and gained hundreds of percentages of growth in both public cloud and the hosting business. Here is how we did it:
  • Start talking to the CEO instead of the CIO, the demand for cloud solutions is business driven
  • Think like your customer does; services instead of solutions
  • Find the right staff, both in sales and services
  • Invest in your services department, especially your helpdesk
  • Avoid talking to your customers about technology
  • No more solutions, but subscriptions
What really helps
These are just some helpful tips, but there is more. Finding the right staff and changing the mindset of existing sales and technical professionals is not easy. For sales, it helps when you reward subscriptions sold, but you also need to assure your technical staff that they are not the turkey just before Thanksgiving. A proper cloud solution needs a lot of technique and management in the background, and those technicians who are customer focused will easily make the transition to helping your customers on the phone and remotely.
 
The voice of the customer
Above all, I think the most important thing ICT Spirit learned during the transition, which is still going on, is listening to the voice of the customer. They just want IT services, whenever they need it, in the amount they need it, and they want affordable monthly rates. As a Microsoft Partner, you have the knowledge and the ability to meet those needs.
 
Finally, speak and learn from other Microsoft partners in your network and the cloud specialists at your local Microsoft subsidiary. Have a vision, make a plan and stick to it.
 
Want to know more about the journey to a profitable cloud based business as a Microsoft partner? Please contact me, and I will help you.
 
Peter van Uden
Manager Marketing and Communications
ICT Spirit BV