Juggernaut Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure and Google are certainly gaining tremendous traction and flexing big muscle in the current Cloud marketplace, lending further evidence that adoption is accelerating and there is a lot of money to be made.
AWS released numbers in April, for instance, showing that despite having dropped prices 48 times since its inception, it successfully generated some $265 million in profits in the first three months of 2015. Similarly, Microsoft is also demonstrating strong growth in Cloud. Commercial Cloud revenue for Microsoft recently experienced its sixth consecutive quarter of three-figure growth, due to the success of Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM. This growth is so significant that players like HP and Rackspace may already be waiving the white flag on public Cloud and hunkering down with their private/hybrid Cloud strategies.
Beating these guys on price—and joining a race to zero—doesn’t make sense.
So is the war over for the rest of us, or has the field of battle simply shifted?
A recent article published by CRN provides yet more evidence that while competing with these guys on price is foolish, differentiating on the customer support experience is the key to winning.
And with that, here are 4 reasons why customer support could be your answer to winning your unfair share of Cloud business:
1. The big public Cloud players are pure DIY (Do-It-Yourself) platforms by design. This is perfect for some things and for some people, but not for everything. Knowing where DIY is sufficient and where White Glove Support is required is key.
2. There should be no expectation of excellent customer support from the big, public Cloud providers; and if there is, the customer is set up for major disappointment. AWS and Microsoft simply aren’t going to provide the support many customers demand. That’s not their model; and that’s ok.
3. Technology breaks. It always has and it always will. The question is: What will the customer do when that happens? Who will they call? What will a disruption cost them? Help your customer determine what their outage tolerance is by app, which brings me to Reason Number 4 …
4. Not all apps are created equal. There are many apps that belong in public clouds where they can breathe. Test/dev apps that need to scale up and down quickly are a great example. And, if there are temporary interruptions in performance or availability, it’s not a catastrophe. However, mission critical apps (or as the customer in the aforementioned CRN article classifies “core business apps”) can’t afford to be down for minutes or hours or, God forbid, nine days.
I’m seeing many Cloud Service Providers find big success by focusing on the critical customer support difference. It is a strategy that freely embraces the importance and utility of the big public Cloud platforms, while at the same time carving out rich recurring revenue solutions that are exceeding the expectations of demanding Cloud customers.
United Layer, Evolve IP, ServerCentral, and Windstream are all great examples of companies winning on this new battlefield. Many are even delivering solutions that are seamlessly integrated over private high-speed interconnections to the big public platforms – an ideal hybrid approach where the right workloads are in the right Cloud, with the right customer support wrapped around it.
That’s a battle worth fighting and a battle you can win.
Andrew Pryfogle, Senior VP, Cloud Transformation, Intelisys