Among many partners, there is a growing sense of urgency that they must capitalize on the cloud opportunity now: a sense that there is no time to lose.
That’s because key strategic positions are quickly being occupied in the cloud, which will be easier to defend than later take. Future business prosperity, if not survival, rests on not being late to the cloud party.
In short, the cloud window of opportunity is open, but it’s closing fast.
In addition, the sense of urgency that owners feel is coupled with an anxiety around implementing and managing the new business model required for success in the cloud. Get a critical element wrong, and the enterprise could be at risk.
Fortunately, there is a blueprint for cloud success emerging, based on the experience of early movers. Here’s what you’ll need to do to succeed:
Identify your addressable market.
Focus in the cloud is crucial; customers demand integrated, industry-specific solutions, so be sure to focus on the right audience. Leveraging your historical base is important, but for most partners a greater level of concentration will be needed — one that, obviously, will be profitable.
Know your competitors.
Identify what makes you unique. No worthwhile market will remain uncontested for long. To win a solid market share, and keep it, you must be able to differentiate yourself.
Build a compelling offering.
Typically, this will involve multiple elements. Project services will remain important, but to build vital recurring revenue streams, you’ll also need ongoing support offerings, as well as, in many cases, your own intellectual property.
Build strong and effective marketing muscle.
In the digital age, you must be found online to even be considered by a prospect. Not all prospects will buy immediately, of course, so you need to be able to cost-effectively nurture them as well.
Adopt a cloud-specific sales motion.
Today’s buyer is well-informed and wants to be in control. This demands a different approach, different compensation structures, and often different salespeople. And depending on deal size, much or all of the selling will be remote.
Dial in your delivery equation.
Repeatability, predictability, and cost-efficiency are the new watchwords, whether for initial implementations, or ongoing support.
Possess a financial plan that creates shareholder value.
Valuation metrics have changed significantly since the advent of the cloud. Traditional businesses are dropping in value, as those comprised of high-margin recurring revenue streams are rising. In the short term, some income statement degradation is to be expected as you transition your business model. But you must have a clear picture of how you will create shareholder value, for yourself but also for those who may provide the capital you need to fully exploit the cloud opportunity.
Manage the journey.
It’s said that if strategy is king, execution is god. A solid management team with cloud-specific dashboards are always needed to drive the desired results.
There’s no more question about it — the cloud opportunity is here, and the time for focused action is now. To win, following the above blueprint will be required, for sure. But it’s also important to play “the long game” — stay tuned for more on that in my next blog!