No one understood the importance of light until Edison invented it. And now, we can’t even imagine our lives without it.
Such is the importance of accepting the change brought forth by the new technologies that are knocking at our doors. This is especially true for cloud that has brought with itself various opportunities for the future growth and it has the potential to completely change the way businesses run. Acceptance is important because you never know, “what you leave now may become the chance for somebody else”.
Change is Difficult; But Not Changing is Fatal
Why sell Cloud?
Being from the IT fraternity, I meet many people from the web hosting industry, managed solution providers, resellers, datacenter industry, telco and other SaaS and subscription based service providers on a frequent basis. One of the most frequently asked questions is “why should we sell cloud?”
For those who understand the opportunity lying in the cloud, the sky is the limit!
And for those, who are still a bit reluctant to enter into this business, consider the following stats from Gartner:
“The worldwide public cloud services market is projected to grow 16.5 percent in 2016 to total $204 billion, up from $175 billion in 2015” according to Gartner, Inc. They further add, “This strong growth continues reflect a shift away from legacy IT services to cloud-based services, due to increased trend of organizations pursuing a digital business strategy.”
Cloud is a booming opportunity and by embracing it, you will be able to stand up to your customers’ expectations. Think, if you do not sell cloud, your competitor would certainly. Result? Reduced customer base and eaten up revenue.
What do you need to sell cloud profitably?
With neck to neck competition like never seen before, you need to be up on your heels when it comes to selling cloud based services. Number of providers are already making use of this opportunity as the profit margins in other service offerings have almost dried up.
What you can do, is to create a “sticky platform” that is able to hold your existing customer base. In no case you can afford your customer to switch to your competitor.
So, what can you do to make a difference in your services?
- Providing value added services can be a good option. By giving applications and platforms that add more value to your cloud solution, you can increase your prospects and build loyal customer base.
- By creating multi tier partner programs to sell cloud. The more you expand your partner ecosystem who can sell your services, the better exposure you get for the future market opportunities.
- And now the most important differentiator – automation. You need a tool or a platform for cloud business processes because being a recurring business, its processes are quite different from other IT businesses, especially billing, inventory, marketing, sales, support and more.
How to change the rules of the game with a good cloud service delivery automation and billing management platform?
With cloud, people have started expecting faster work with less human interventions.
To sell it too, you need a cloud automation and billing management platform that is able to manage all your services with utmost ease and user friendliness. It is important because, with cloud your business will grow. And you can not think of handling each and every customer request via manual means. You will have a number of customers who will be adding and removing services as per their needs and the task of billing them properly may pose a challenge.
A research report on Data Canter Automation in the Age of Cloud, by EMA, says, “Organizations with automated monitoring and management solutions have a 50 percent reduction in the time administrators spend on day-to-day operations.”
So, an efficient subscription business automation software, like hosting automation software is the key to your profitable cloud business.
Requisites and qualities of a good Cloud Service Delivery Automation Platform:
“A Cloud service provisioning platform with delivery automation is the heart of any cloud business. Without it, your cloud business will not survive the competitor’s storm.”
A virtuous cloud automation platform is able to automate your business processes to minimize your “time to market”. Choosing the right automation software is a strategic decision and before coming upon a verdict, do analyze what you need from your cloud service provisioning platform:
- 1. Flexibility to cover all business facets
An automation platform that provides end-to-end service provisioning covering each and every part of your business is a blessing. Like, RackNap, which gives complete cloud business management solution from sales and marketing to business intelligence. Thus, it gives agility to your business, by reducing the application’s provisioning time. Hence from generating leads to handling post sales escalation, you get everything sorted with RackNap, making sales management for cloud services easier.
- 2. Ability to have a complete end-to-end cloud billing management tool in place
Being in the cloud business would mean proactively anticipating user preferences i.e. what application is being used by which user, and which is the most demanded resource. Hence, you should have a billing panel that simplifies visibility of the user information and encapsulates everything on a single dashboard. RackNap’s billing module exactly serves this purpose. You can also easily integrate your existing billing system with RackNap to smartly bill all your existing products along with cloud.
Its strong taxation and finance compliances’ readiness helps you go global in no time.
- 3. Provide vendor neutrality
Vendor neutrality refers to the flexibility to use resources from multiple sources. You can sell cloud services of Microsoft and AWS at the same time, using single automation platform – RackNap. As against vendor specificity, it does not restrict your customers’ choices. Thus, it supports heterogeneous cloud environments. And as the data is available on a single dashboard, data center assets management also becomes easier.
- 4. Ability to cross sell and up sell
The ability to sell varying services to your customers can help you increase the ARPU (average revenue per user). It will be possible only when the user is able to choose different accompanying services in lesser time, from a single place. Selling bundled products can also help, as the user might get attracted towards the value added services along with the main product. RackNap’s smart member panel with ability to show ads depending upon customers’ chosen services greatly helps in this.
- 5. Ready marketplace as per service provider’s industry
RackNap allows you to expand the partner base to sell cloud with a readily available white labelled marketplace that helps you to sell your legacy products and services with ease. Moreover, its healthy partner relationship management system will help you in expanding your partner base. By automating the partner lifecycle, it supports management of multiple partner channels. In fact, your partner can also leverage the benefit of RackNap to manage and sell cloud to his customers.
- 6. Intelligent cloud support, CRM, and helpdesk management platform
The cloud support, CRM, and helpdesk management software should come with the provision of intelligently minimizing the ticket creation by assigning the issue to the right support member. Moreover, it also a smart SLA management, escalation matrix and customer sel-service options that streamline the support and CRM process. RackNap with this in-built support and CRM intelligence helps your support team to focus on the key issue areas only. It also logs the customer feedback during issue resolving process which can be later used for improving your support system.
- 7. Business intelligence
Automation does not end with the faster approach to actions. It should be able to enhance your business intelligence reporting process. That is possible when it analyzes your complete business data and graphically presents the result for better decision making and risk analysis process. The following infographics shows the BI flow in RackNap:
RackNap – sell cloud services with complete automation
The cloud service automation platform – RackNap, is an end to end business management platform from lead generation to delivery with post sales escalation ready support system. It helps you provision your service delivery time from months to minutes. Being built by the experts of the cloud industry, it understands all the requirements of a cloud service provider. It gives you the assurance and the control to manage your cloud service lifecycle on every front from order request to usage, and allows the fulfillment of business policies and goals simultaneously.