- Posted by Sejal
- On January 26, 2017
I heard then General Manager Marketing and Operations Microsoft MEA say during Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) of 2015 held in Orlando. He was referring to his past years WPC presentation deck, trying to drive the point that Cloud is inevitable and a massive opportunity for Microsoft partners provided they recognize it. It was my first WPC participation and having just launched seed funded 100% pure-play Cloud company in Mauritius with exclusive focus on Microsoft Cloud technology stack, I sat there with my eyes and ears wide open, trying to absorb every bit of information flowing like tsunami from 3 days jam-packed sessions.
Being already fully committed to Cloud opportunity at that time and having demonstrated it by launching The Cloud Factory, I needed no further persuasion to start believing in massive potential of Cloud opportunity and the kind of impact it can make for businesses of all sizes. What took me to WPC was the chance to networks, listen to what’s important for Microsoft and how their priorities can help me shape my strategy in order to closely align my business objectives with where industry worldwide is going. And boy, I am glad I did that as WPC was not only very useful in setting course for our own Cloud startup but the sheer energy that flows during the 3 days was enough to keep the passion and adrenaline surging for next entire fiscal year.
Coming back to question – Daddy, what happened to your company during the Cloud (r)evolution – it has been a super interesting journey for us as a ‘Cloud only and Microsoft only’ company. Over the past about one and a half year, we did exciting and complex Cloud projects, expanded our project delivery footprint to more than 8 counties, learned how Cloud can add value for businesses and make them future-proof, made mistakes, understood that while it’s good to be innovative and thinking ahead of time it’s equally important to remain relevant to current times and market needs, doubled the team size, on-boarded new customers and new relationships where we are not seen as mere vendor but as partner in growth, built Cloud products, realized the importance of striking right balance between transactional and subscription revenue models for keeping business sustainable, forged powerful relationship with other vendors where we can synergize. And most importantly, built a team of great people who are more passionate about Cloud then me. All this and much more while having fun as team and making sure there is never a dull day at work.
As I reflect back to our journey so far, one thing becomes even more clearer – there is still much to do and the Cloud opportunity is massive with prospect for all partners to be part of this (r)evolution. As per Forbes report published in March 2016 – Worldwide spending on public cloud services will grow at a 19.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from nearly $70B in 2015 to more than $141B in 2019.
In case you are still wondering if selling Cloud is right for your business and you are still sitting on the fence trying to figure-out whether to take ‘Cloud plunge’ in your business, my below three advise might be useful –
A- Build a Cloud Business Strategy and Cloud Go-to-Market Plan.
You know your customers are asking you for Cloud services and you also know if you are not able to meet their demands, someone else would. The Cloud strategy need to focus on which Cloud services you will offer, how you will build Cloud skills and how you will position your Cloud offering to align closely with your customers’ business need.
Hint – Don’t try do many things at same time. It’s better to build deep understanding of one major Cloud vendor technology stack vs multiple. There also choose which Cloud product(s) you would like to prioritize on. We choose to invest extensively in building skills & competency around Microsoft Azure Iaas & PaaS services, Office 365 platform and Cortana Intelligence Suite.
Hint – Think Cloud services and not merely reselling of Cloud licenses. You will never get rich selling pure Cloud licenses only. Cloud vendor will.
B- Invest in Building Great Cloud Team & Compensation Model.
Classic mistake it to ask on-prem sales team to sell Cloud also. They will never do that for simple reason it won’t get them same amount of sales commission and hence no motivation for doing so.
Hint – Draft a Cloud Sales commission plan which is designed to reward annuity based income as well as transactional Cloud sales. Your existing sales commission model may not work. In some instances, you may choose not to have a sales commission plan at all but an interesting monthly compensation package that helps keep the drive. We did mix of both and it worked for us.
C- Partner With Other Established Cloud Partners.
One of the quickest way to jumpstart your Cloud business is to work with other established Cloud partner with whom you can align interest and build a strong mutual relationship that is beneficial for you, your customer and the partner. Talk to Cloud partners and see how you can work in tandem to not only solve the customer problem but in process also learn from the experience by acquiring Cloud sales and technical skills which will launch you in your market and reduce the amount of time you will need on your own to reach till that level of readiness.
Hint – Geographies are no constrains for delivery of Cloud services and partner from other geo might be keen to work with you. Be transparent on mutual objectives and chances are bright it will work for all.
While we progress towards what appears to be a very successful fiscal year for us at The Cloud Factory, Microsoft WPC event, which is now aptly called Microsoft Inspire, remains a great motivation to be back again in an atmosphere where energy surges and inspiration overflows. If you are planning to go to Microsoft Inspire 2017 at Washington DC, send me a nudge on email@example.com and we will meet over a coffee. And as they say in DC – y’all welcome to connect.