The Cloud and The Channel: The Case for a CSP in Your Channel Business Model

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Microsoft and other technology titans have been nudging their customers to the cloud for quite some time.  Along with a record number of organizations adopting cloud solutions within the Microsoft Dynamics community, competitive solutions are now selling ‘cloud-first’ in many cases.  The world is going to the cloud and the adoption trend isn’t slowing.

As fast as the ecosystem is moving though, many independent software vendors (ISVs) in the channel are finding it challenging to keep up with the pace.  As evidenced by development calendars like this one published by GPUG, many critical horizontal and industry applications for Dynamics are far from releasing web-enabled products to support the cloud-based deployments that customers and prospects are looking for.  This delay has stifled the adoption the new Dynamics ERP web clients and threatens to further increase the distance between ISVs schedules and the accelerated development life cycles of Microsoft product teams.

At a time like this, when there is tension between the product development roadmaps of different organizations, a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) can help fill the gaps in your current channel business model. By working with a CSP, you may be able to cloud enable your existing solutions to help meet customer demand at a rapid pace. Below, you’ll find key scenarios in which a CSP can add value and complement your current channel model:   

  1. When Your Customers Need Strong Cloud Expertise:

    When you are selling entirely through a channel, it’s easy to say “I sell everything through the channel, why do I need to offer my solution in the cloud?”  The truth is, not all Value Added Resellers (VARs) have a cloud story.  You help your channel sales force meet their customer needs by having a solid relationship with a CSP.  When customer needs arise, you can support your channel partners by connecting them with a trusted cloud partner that already knows your solution.
    On the flip side, your CSP is probably already working with some of your best VAR partners, and some that you may not have a relationship with yet.  A benefit of working with a CSP, is they themselves may have direct opportunities for you and your partners. They have seen classic channel scenarios many times and can build confidence with your customer by demonstrating deployment experience.  Use your CSP to help grow your channel and strengthen your value in the sales process.

  2. When You are Developing Your Solution for the Cloud:

    Many ISV partners I have worked with tell me, “We are re-developing our solution to work as a multi-tenant solution.”  I’ll ask them, do your customers want a multi-tenant solution?  I’m amazed at how many say the never asked, or that they didn’t know.  They simply thought that they had to develop a multi-tenant solution to drive costs down.  While commodity, multi-tenant, solutions have their place for delivering low cost options for price-sensitive customers and solutions with less stringent requirements, a single tenant solution can be even more desirable in some circumstances. Some customers simply want privacy and are willing to pay a premium for that option.

    I also hear frequently “we are developing a cloud solution, but it’s two years away from being production ready.”  While your solutions were not designed for the cloud, your CSP has experience delivering traditional rich client applications as a cloud solution, and recommending ways to get them to market quickly.  While some may argue the definition of cloud-enabled, your customers will ultimately achieve what they want - your solution - managed and maintained, in the cloud. 

  3. When you need to fill a specific need for your customers – such as regulatory compliance.

    Many proactive ISVs began operating their cloud platform years ago, but they’ve come across a need to meet additional requirements in the cloud like HIPAA or PCI compliance. A CSP can help supplement your cloud model by being their cloud for compliance. At Concerto, many of our partners maintain the bulk of their clients on their own cloud platform and leverage us as a CSP for more complex deployments and regulatory requirements.

  4. When the cloud is not your core competency, and you don’t want it to be.

    Some ISVs adopted the cloud model years ago and built out their own cloud platforms to support their customers.  Some of these ISVs are finding that cloud services aren’t their core competency. They are now seeking out a CSP to take over the responsibility of the platform so they can return to focusing on their core products. 

    However, in my experience the ISVs who have benefited the most from partnering with a CSP are those without a cloud solution or a clear cloud roadmap for their customers.  When they partner with a proven CSP, they open the door for new revenue streams, strengthen their competitive edge, and even find opportunities and customer demand they never even knew existed.

  5. Transforming from an on-premise business model to the cloud requires more than choosing a CSP. But building a solid partnership can accelerate the ISV journey to the cloud.

For more information on how Concerto delivers cloud enablement services through our partner channel program, and to view the keys to ISV and Solution Provider success, click here.