Guiding your customers through a subscription model for cloud services – Part 2

By Ian Purdell-Lewis, Managing Director CCaaS Canada, Avaya

Ian Purdell-Lewis, Managing Director CCaaS Canada, Avaya

More and more businesses today understand the importance of being ‘always-on’ to deliver services quickly and easily with cloud. Over 60% of enterprises say they are interested in moving to a subscription model for cloud software in 2021, but it’s important that these companies actually migrate to the cloud. The goal isn’t to leave business applications and processes in internally owned databases and servers – merely paying for them on a subscription basis – but to bring them to the cloud with the provider handling ongoing management, maintenance, and system updates. Channel partners should have a strategy for helping their customers move more of their business functions to the cloud. Here’s what to keep in mind…

There’s no right or wrong answer when finding your customers’ best fit

Finding a customer’s best fit will require you to look tactically at their cloud approach alongside them, choosing the ideal solution on a case-by-case basis. What’s most important is that you partner with a service vendor that offers an extremely flexible cloud platform available for any size of business. Options are the name of the game. Here’s a breakdown of the basics:

  1. Public cloud: fastest to scale, most consistent in features, quality, and consistency, and least flexible in terms of customization. Public cloud is also very scalable, enabling users to easily go from a small number of users to large globally. 
  2. Private cloud: offers high security, cannot typically scale to very small deployments and is highly customizable with extensive support for third-party integration (particularly helpful for organizations in large, regulated industries like government and financial services).  
  3. Hybrid cloud: looks at dividing a solution into some elements that are on-premise, some that are public, and some that are private. A hybrid model is great to manage the risk of migration l and solution testing (if you face challenges, simply pull back). There can also be a period of time in which the transition occurs (more on this below). Hybrid cloud can be an end-goal for organizations that are content to leave some of their business on-prem and some in a private and/or public environment.  

Certain providers will enable you to create a custom, blended cloud environment for your customers

Contrary to popular belief, not all users have to be on the same cloud model regardless of application or platform. Every application inherently requires a different cloud model; not all were meant to be on the same cloud, if at all. This is the beauty of the multi-cloud, which allows organizations to seamlessly blend their user base depending on specific needs, circumstances, and goals – regardless of business model, budget, or IT environment. This could mean having facilities and departments that typically operate during normal business hours leveraging public cloud services while more mission-critical ones run on private cloud for maximum, security, and platform control. Avaya Sales Engineer, Steve Forcum, explains more in this blog, including the benefits of a blended cloud approach specifically for migrating real-time applications like communications and collaboration. 

You should be able to accommodate different paces in transitioning to cloud

Every business is moving to the cloud, just at their own pace. With a hybrid model, this can span multiple years (ex: transitioning 20% of your business environment to the cloud every year). This can be one piece of technology at a time or one piece of the business (i.e. one line of business or geography at a time). The end state of this transition may look like 50% of your business in a hybrid cloud environment at the end of five years. Or, the incremental transitions may continue with adjustments as needed. On the other end of the spectrum, there are companies that go to the cloud in a big bang. Just like there’s no right or wrong answer when finding a customer’s best fit, there’s no right or wrong way to make the transition to the cloud. As a channel partner, it all depends on the nuances of your specific client. Just remember that not all volume needs to be contained in one place, nor does the move to cloud need to be at a certain pace. 

Your migration strategy is only as good as your cloud provider 

The move to cloud is a journey rather than a jump. Look for a vendor who acts as a compass for that journey, providing you with a bounty of different cloud models to create a streamlined, all-accessible service offering. Remember that your strategy is only as good as the vendor you partner with. 

Organizations need to go beyond simply taking what used to be an end-user license agreement and paying for it as part of a subscription model. Partners need to carefully examine the vendor marketplace to get out there and give their customers what they need. In Part 3 of this series, I’ll be bringing the conversation full circle by demonstrating what your customers will be able to do by harnessing the full power of the cloud with their move to subscription.

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