It’s not too late for resellers yet to embrace cloud

Bobby Hellard

1 May, 2018

With the new year behind us, businesses are finalising their investment strategies for the year ahead, including confirming their IT spend. As is always the case at this time of year, we can expect both businesses and the channel to be inundated with marketing from vendors pushing new technologies like the cloud, IoT and AI, and making bold claims about how these technologies are going to revolutionise their industry.

While it’s an exciting time for any business that wants to stay ahead, seemingly disruptive technology integrations can be off-putting. For many organisations, the last thing they want is disruption and upheaval that might distract them from doing business.

Building a 2018 IT strategy that’s right for both the businesses and the channel

That doesn’t mean that the best approach for channel organisations and their customers is to simply stick to tried and tested, outdated technology and ignore the digital revolution that is going on around us.

There’s no denying that migrating to cloud communications provides a number of business benefits, such as increasing productivity, as well as helping businesses to meet the demands of the increasingly flexible workforce. Aside from enabling remote workers to seamlessly work from anywhere, anytime and on any device, a fully integrated cloud communications solution also empowers a business to be more nimble and reactive to changing demands. In particular, this allows organisations to deliver a greater customer experience to differentiate from the competition or simply stay in the game.

Simply overlooking any form of modernisation is a guaranteed way to get left behind, but it’s possible to future-proof businesses without taking a huge leap that’s as confusing for the reseller as it is for the business.

In many cases, channel partners are getting a hard-coded message: “You’re either in the cloud or you’re not”. Yet the reality is much more measured. There are many opportunities to move into the cloud gradually with the right providers and the right strategy, and to educate customers about the right options for them along the way.

There’s no one size fits all approach to cloud

Organisations of different sizes and levels of IT maturity, or even different sectors require tailored cloud strategies. On a basic level, smaller organisations tend to have fewer barriers when it comes to moving to the cloud.

In contrast, large corporations are often faced with a more daunting task, which can involve moving on-premise implementations to cloud solutions within their overall corporate IT environment. On top of this, these businesses often have to deal with strict security requirements, regulation, or bricks-and-mortar infrastructure. In these cases, a public cloud solution may never be appropriate and a private or hybrid cloud solution is likely to be more suitable.

The speed at which an organisation wants to transition to the cloud, as well as the spread of the enterprise, will also influence the type of cloud strategy that fits the business. Those that operate globally have to ensure that this transition is smooth and consistent across locations. Hybrid cloud enables them to create a private cloud infrastructure, regionalising their implementation and serving a specified set of premises and remote workers within each country or regional entity.

The key point to remember is that the transition to cloud is an ongoing journey for many businesses, not an overnight switch. Resellers can take this same measured approach to offering cloud solutions. Their customers aren’t going to immediately throw their on-premise platforms out of the window, so resellers who are yet to embrace cloud still have an opportunity to be part of this journey with them.

Planning for success in 2018

The reality is that the priorities of the channel and their customers are in many cases aligned when it comes to cloud – while they are aware that the benefits of cloud cannot be ignored forever, they are understandably resistant to anything that will be overtly disruptive to their operations. Consequently, it’s important that a measured approach is taken on both sides – to ensure that the technology investment fits with the individual business’ needs and supports the business’ sustainability and growth.

It’s widely acknowledged that migrating to cloud communications is a powerful tool in breaking down borders, cutting costs and raising productivity – cloud adoption in the UK is now at 88%, according to the Cloud Industry Forum. As we head into 2018, there’s a real opportunity for the channel to work with clients to provide the support they need and advise them on their individual cloud journey.

Jeremy Butt is senior vice president EMEA at Mitel

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