Recently I attended Cisco Live, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, and presented a keynote presentation at the Telarus Partner Summit. The title of my presentation was “Becoming a Cloud Broker.”
I was surprised to learn there was a similar class at all three events.
The Telarus Partner Summit hosts a more traditional carrier and bandwidth agent representative who are attending a master agency’s partner show. Cisco Live was filled with technology companies, and Cisco partners. The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference was filled with their best partners selling servers, windows, licenses, and now Azure and Office 365. While the audiences varied, the attendees were all looking for ways to best serve their customers while differentiating themselves in a competitive market.
It is a telling sign that the largest technology companies in the world get the idea that a sub-group of technologists is emerging to help companies navigate the cloud computing world. This group has to have more broad expertise than narrow specialties, but more important, they need a group of relationships that can control and focus the outcome for the users of these cloud solutions.
In all three presentations one of the first criteria mentioned was a cloud broker must own the billing relationship. Most people “selling” cloud services are making money by the commissions provided by the suppliers. This level of involvement with the customer limits the relationship and is probably not a robust enough payment to truly own the outcome. In other words, a cloud broker typically doesn’t make enough to stick their neck out when things go wrong. What the industry is starting to understand is companies will pay for an outcome that is desirable and not having to navigate a new vendor world is valuable to many enterprises.
Own the Outcome
The success of a cloud broker depends on owning the business outcome of the solutions rather than just the performance of the solutions themselves. A perfectly running cloud-based app that has zero adoption is worth less than a poorly performing app that people actually use. The ability to not only understand but own the business outcome is crucial for a cloud broker to be successful.
The race to zero and the competition from the big players in cloud—Microsoft, AWS, and Google—are creating an environment where the cost is low so there is a significant amount of dollars available to take those consistently reducing infrastructure components, surround them with other value and charge a premium for those solutions.
The Cloud Broker Evolves
The role of the cloud broker is still evolving. Those who position themselves correctly will be trusted to negotiate the contracts and own an ever deepening role in the IT departments of the enterprise.
In 2015 this is certainly true.This statement will evolve to “Every company is a cloud company.”
The enterprise is marching towards the cloud and interconnectivity at a rapidly evolving pace. The role of the cloud broker will often be a partnership, and it may even become an internal IT position as this becomes more and more mission critical.
The Mobile Workforce
We are moving from a personal-computer-based technology model to a device and mobility computing model. I am typing this blog on a Microsoft Surface tablet in a customer’s conference room on their guest WiFi. This is becoming the computing model norm. I no longer have to be at a desk to be effective. At least half my time is spent at my desk, but by adding back hours that historically would have been spent with a customer or at home or even in line at the grocery store, there is a big shift in how we work.. This blog is going to be transmitted over the cloud to a shared drive where my marketing team will edit it in real-time. This is the new standard and the solutions that make this possible are varied.
Having a trusted resource to provide these solutions is crucial. Cisco, Microsoft, Telarus and others are seeing the same trends and agree this is important. Are you ready to transform and become a cloud broker? Whether you are a value-added-reseller looking to add carrier services or an agent looking to build your business and own the outcome, the VXSuite partner program enables business model transformation. Contact us today to see the VXSuite toolset.