This is part three of a five-part series in which Freek Hemminga, LeaseWeb’s Global Channel & Strategic Alliances Manager, looks ahead to the challenges and opportunities for channel partners in the coming year. Here are part 1, 2 and 3.
While the move to the cloud opens up many opportunities for solution providers, there are one or two dangers to be aware of too. First, there are geopolitical and macroeconomic issues offering both threats and opportunities. Then there are issues like the changing role of legislation, the importance of choosing the right financial model, the need to have the right skillsets in your team and the ability to conduct a new kind of marketing. All these things demand attention from solution providers if they are to compete in a transforming marketplace.
Failing to keep up with legislative changes
Compliance with legislation, particularly surrounding data and the way it’s handled, is constantly changing. It’s a pretty dry subject but solution providers ignore it at their peril. It is important they have a thorough understanding of its implications not only for their own business but for their customer’s businesses too. By having a full grasp on legal requirements, solution providers can provide a useful added-value service by helping their customers adapt to the new demands.
The same goes for security. Solution providers are faced with a major challenge when trying to deliver the flexibility customers want but within a rigidly secure and compliant framework. How can availability, reliability and accessibility be maintained at the same time as providing ever higher levels of security? It’s something they need to get on top of – and quickly – by discussing their customer’s needs and priorities before coming up with a plan to match.
Adopting the wrong financial model
Core areas like revenue, costs, assets and cash flow are more important than ever as organizations face the transformation from a transactional based business model to one based on recurring sales. Making the transformation is an expensive undertaking and businesses need to be sure they have the investment resources necessary to see it through. The rewards, however, are great. Going forward, those who move away from a traditional transactional way of doing business are going to prosper a lot more than those who don’t.
Failing to have the right skills for a new world
One other thing: In this new cloud-dominated world, solution providers are finding that their workforce’s skills need to be different to those needed in the old world. It’s important that providers re-skill themselves with the competencies that are relevant to the new realities. It’s not just the salesforce either: pre-sales and marketing also need to be boosted if new customers are to be recruited in sufficient numbers. All this while protecting, monetizing and building out from the installed base at the same time.