Monday, April 02, 2012

Cloud is Challenging

According to a market study, it takes 3 meetings just to explain cloud to customers! This means an 18 week (minimum) sales cycle. Do you have a salesperson that is comfortable with this cycle, has excellent follow up skills, and takes good notes?

The whole industry is being disrupted by cloud. Acquisitions are being done just because a company is late to market. Two examples, TWC (formerly time warner cable) buying Navisite and WVT buying Alteva (Hosted PBX). IN some respects, Shoretel buying M5 is another example of buying your way out of trouble.

What are you doing?

If I had to guess: the same thing you were doing last year, last quarter, last month, yesterday and will be doing tomorrow. That's okay. Ride it out. That's one strategy.

If, however, you want to jump in and compete in this new frontier, there are a lot of options. This is the slide deck from ISP America Expo 2012. Public, Private, Personal Clouds. IAAS, PAAS, SAAS. And more. That's the issue.

Cloud is such a garbage can term that no one knows what it means. (It's worse than UC.) It can mean anything!

Cloud is basically about high availability of data. Translate that to Making Business Processes (and Data) more efficient and mobile.

EarthLink has made a number of acquisitions to be able to offer Cloud services:

  • Virtualization - web hosting services, storage/backup and disaster recovery.
  • Managed Security Services. Secure the data.
  • Application Services - secure e-mail with archiving and encryption.
  • Managed Desktop Support = virtual help desk & maintenance.
  • Data Center and Network Services (ISP and Voice).
There are many other pieces. I think that the key to High Margin will come from Bundles that are packaged for a specific vertical or niche. Easier to sell. Sticky. One Bill. Upsell opportunities. Less competition. Easier to sell.

What do you think?

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