SMBs are still reluctant to go cloud, IT providers might be the key
The cloud has been quickly adopted by a great number of large companies in order to streamline their operations, save money and generally make them more competitive. Several major corporations have already moved entire IT infrastructures onto cloud platforms, offering services via this cutting-edge technology and generating serious revenues from it.
However, it seems most small businesses are still reluctant to make the jump to SaaS despite the clear advantages. According to a new report by IT Asset Management consultancy Software Advice, only 32% of businesses had moved their customer service software to the cloud.
The report also found that 44% of on-premise users retain this type of deployment in order to maintain more control over their system.
The thing is that cloud computing looks different to different people:
- Cloud providers pitch to the customer the capability of cloud computing and seek to align its capabilities with real world business benefits.
- Business owners see cloud as an opportunity for innovation and efficiency in their business. Some think it’s insecure and too risky. Others still have it in the “too hard” category, knowing that it’s a thing, but not knowing how it relates to them.
I personally think that for a cloud solution to sell in the small business industry, a cloud provider first has to convince the IT providers, who are often the purchasing decision influencers. We can’t underestimate how big of a challenge it is for cloud providers to get IT providers on board. They don’t want irrelevant case studies or demos on working across cities when their SMB clients have one office, right?
Of course, some have embraced evolution early, but not all IT providers have the same capability for understanding business benefits. This is why I think it’s important to understand how the IT provider is looking at cloud solutions, and what questions does he need answers too. Here are some of the most important ones:
- What are the benefits to my customer? Not generic sales spin, but real world, relevant, applicable benefits.
- How do I convince my customer of these benefits?
- How does it work technically? What can I control & how?
- How do we transition a customer from on-premise to the cloud?
- How is it going to affect my product, services and revenue streams?
Basically, cloud providers need to demonstrate how cloud computing will help the IT providers’ customer. If they don’t want it, they won’t even try to convince the customers. Instead, they might even convince the client of all the reasons why they shouldn’t buy it.
IT providers need to step out from behind their remote management tools and lead their customers through a new way of working, but the real challenge is for the cloud providers to address them as the “technology gatekeepers” and win them to the cause.
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