Critical Success Factors for Engaging the Cloud Providers

June 3, 2010 at 10:28 pm Leave a comment

Cloud delivery models are accelerating the services-level sophistication of many solution providers, forcing them to reevaluate their financial model and services practice structure.

Beth Vanni – Director, Market Intelligence

Whether cloud vendors deliver technology directly to users (like a Microsoft Business Productivity Office Suite license or Salesforce.com’s SFA) or to solution providers as a cloud enabling technology (Oracle, VMware), some critical success factors that apply. There are some tried-and-true methods for supporting these emerging solution providers, but some tactics will be more important than in the past.We’ve highlighted some of the key support requirements cloud-savvy solution providers have of their leading vendors here:

Stay away from one-size-fits-all pricing models. Create licensing and procurement models with an appreciation for the fact that ISVs and infrastructure providers have to retool their financials to make the investment in your technology up-front, but wait for the services revenue down-stream. It’s best to ease the up-front investment for solution providers building cloud offerings. For example, HP’s Software group recently launched a variety of flexible pricing models for its MSP and infrastructure providers which includes multi-tenant, utility and subscription and dedicated perpetual licensing models.
Validate Solutions. SaaS developers are often smaller, niche organizations with deep industry or domain expertise and high expectations for vendor co-marketing support and brand value. Since solution providers are still in evangelism mode with their customers around the value of cloud computing, co-marketing funding and tools that broadcast the quality and quantity of your developers and integrators are critical. Salesforce.com has been extremely successful providing extensive marketing support and end-user branding with its army of AppExchange ISVs.
Get creative with co-marketing Support. Traditional marketing vehicles have relevancy in this space, i.e., solution catalogs, local events, case studies, and webinars. But social media vehicles, or perhaps better termed “customer collaboration” vehicles, will be more relevant in facilitating communication between end-users, solution providers and vendors of cloud solutions (especially SaaS applications). Evaluate your digital marketing vehicles and collaboration methods to ensure you can accept input and leverage the outbound marketing capabilities of a variety of traditional and Web 2.0 vehicles.
Be selective. Choose wisely which loyal and innovative partners you want to help through necessary business transformation training. Be prepared to get the planning tools, consulting help and/or success stories out to these solution providers aggressively. Select those partners who are effectively deploying cloud services and incent them through co-marketing support, leads or other benefits to share their transformation story and methodologies with their peers. Microsoft calls this business model training their “Services Transformation” initiative, and they have invested in it deeply to get partners to actively evangelize their cloud Software + Services vision.
Cut a clear path for services delivery. The computing solution now is squarely a service, not a point product. Decide the scope and strategy for your own direct professional services and support teams. Understand how to leverage your partner community’s vertical expertise and practices. Microsoft selected a formal set of SaaS service partners, whom they engage for post-sale deployment and application integration, as part of their “Software + Services” initiative. Salesforce.com focuses exclusively on “expert services” only for their direct efforts and defers the rest to regional integrators and service providers.

June Webinar: Ecosystem of the Cloud: The Roles and Revenues of the Next-Generation Solution Provider

Thursday, June 17 – 9:00AM Pacific

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