Undoubtedly, the past year has brought booming times for managed service providers (MSPs), value added resellers (VARs) and independent software vendors (ISVs) across the board. As businesses globally undertake large-scale digital transformations, they’re looking to the channel for an endless array of cloud products and services, and turning to service providers to select and run the right combination of tools. What’s more, it looks like the rising demand for managed services won’t abate anytime soon with the market expected to reach $492.15 billion by 2027.
With so much opportunity in this space, many cloud service providers are eager to scale to meet the growing demand and remain competitive. On the other hand, however, expanding too rapidly or without the proper infrastructure can jeopardise business continuity and client satisfaction.
This article covers the five key indicators your cloud practice is well-positioned for growth.
1) You have automated sales and provisioning
Most SaaS solutions offer some form of automation as a benefit, so it stands to reason that cloud service providers should also be taking advantage of automated tools to care for their internal systems. Sales and provisioning are two business functions that improve operational efficiency and offer savings in the long term. However, providers that manually order and provision cloud products on behalf of their customers on an as-needed basis are wasting time that could be reinvested into scaling the business.
Therefore, those that are ready to scale are adopting technology tools that automate sales and provisioning processes, essentially allowing for a streamlined self-service interface with the client. Customers in this day and age shouldn’t have to wait for their provider to order and deliver the tools they need–it should instead be as easy as a few clicks via a customer portal. This not only saves valuable time across the company but also improves the customer experience.
2) You have streamlined professional services
Those cloud providers that are ready to scale need to focus on providing the best customer service possible, and a well-run business is certainly a part of that. Yet investing staff hours in the mundane tasks associated with running a business is not a wise investment, and it is a cost that will only increase as the number of tasks grows.
For example, poorly managed manual billing and revenue management can cost a business up to 9% of its annual income. Therefore, professional services must be streamlined to help providers achieve more with less.
Streamlining professional services allows providers to save time, reduce costs, improve accuracy and increase profitability, thereby freeing them up to focus on scaling. This means your business runs more smoothly and analysis of your business performance is always available.
3) You have access to a deeply connected ecosystem
It goes without saying that meeting the needs of the customer is a fundamental part of business. But for providers, those needs are far from static. As customers progress with their digital transformation projects and begin to reap the early benefits, they will need to integrate an increasingly diverse range of services and complementary products. At the same time, though, customers don’t want an equally endless number of service providers and will first look to have their needs met by providers they currently have relationships with.
Since it’s unsustainable to become experts in every offering, providers must therefore be able to rely upon a deeply connected ecosystem. A strong network of distributors, ISVs, VARs and MSPs helps to keep pace with new services and meet the changing needs of customers. In short, being able to scale means being able to provide your customers with the products and services they need when they need them–and this is where an ecosystem proves essential.
4) Your sales team is aligned to drive consumption of cloud solutions
Some of the biggest growth opportunities in the managed service space come from the cloud. Yet while customers are often keen to realise efficiencies, reduce server costs and gain data-driven insights, they are limited by disparate systems and legacy software solutions.
Customers rely on their trusted partners to guide them towards the right products and services, so sales teams must be prepped to increase cloud adoption. Motivated sales teams are successful sales teams, so this requires adequate training and education on all things cloud as well as sales compensation models that align with cloud subscriptions and recurring revenue.
Sales teams positioned toward cloud solutions not only help providers tap into an area with huge growth potential but also improve the ROI for the customer as their systems become increasingly connected. Especially with the rising demand for cybersecurity and remote work solutions, the sales and revenue opportunities should be too good for cloud service providers to pass up.
#5) You have committed a sizable portion of revenue to marketing
As the demand for managed services grows, so too does the level of competition in the market. To scale, providers must be able to attract new customers, build partnerships and stand out against competitors. Therefore, marketing can’t be an afterthought.
The fifth and final sign that a provider is ready to scale is their commitment to marketing, which should include a full-time team with access to the latest technology and training. Doing so ensures that the service offering is effectively broadcast to new clients and partners to capture additional market share.
For providers that pass the test and recognise that they are indeed ready to scale, CloudBlue PSA is a powerful tool that optimises systems to support growth goals. The platform offers full visibility of projects, customers and profitability in a single pane of glass, along with automation of sales, finance and operational processes.
Better yet in today’s borderless world, the platform’s multi-currency and multi-language capabilities empower multi-national business with ease. As a result, cloud service providers can manage their businesses seamlessly, achieve greater efficiencies and ultimately drive more revenue.
Visit the CloudBlue PSA website if you are ready to bring your business to the next level.
About the Author: My role is all about helping channel partners of any size and specialism—from SMBs, global GSIs and SIs to VARs, MSPs, and ISVs—to build their business. This isn’t about selling; it’s about listening. If there were one overriding solution out there that fit the bill for every end customer’s needs, life would be easy for everyone. Life’s not like that, though, and it’s in finding the unique combination of solutions and services, support and software that makes this such a challenging and enjoyable industry to work in. I’ve been in the IT business for over 20 years and came from a commercial tech background. Even now, the biggest thrill I get is when a channel partner thanks us for a job well done. That’s my goal: to help people—including partners, end users and colleagues I work with and for—do well every day. I’m also passionate about diversity, particularly in valuing people for who they are and, as I like to say, helping them become who they want to be. That’s why I joined CloudBlue PSA, an Ingram Micro business designed to bring out the best in people. We offer a broad portfolio of cloud services and support to our channel partners. But this is meaningful only if it’s accompanied by flexibility, autonomy and adaptability. This entails giving our partners the opportunity to mould our offerings to fit their style of operation, dovetail with their culture, and provide the insight and expertise they need to stand out. This helps us make a real difference while gaining customer trust. Follow Scott Murphy on Twitter, LinkedIn or Website