2. Learn to Love Code
Client-server computing was all about physical servers. Cloud 1.0 was more about virtual ones. In the Cloud 2.0 era, by contrast, trends like serverless computing and “infrastructure as code” are rendering servers of any kind less and less important.
“That’s really where all of this stuff is going,” says Malik Khan, CEO of PointClick Technologies, a provider of cloud and other IT services based in Raleigh, N.C. “You’re removing the entire layer of servers and you’re just buying the code and executing that within the cloud.”
That means anyone with a Cloud 2.0 business must be comfortable at least reading code, if not writing it as well. “I think for an MSP to be successful in the future, they really need to start thinking about becoming more of a coder,” Khan says.
3. Offer Solutions, Not Products
They also need to spend less time selling products to customers and more time solving problems for them. That goes as much for big names in IT as for smaller ones, according to Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of cloud solutions for the Americas at distributor Tech Data.
“What we’re planning for in the future is a world where SMBs are demanding complete solutions,” she says.
Tech Data’s Cloud Solutions Factory is a recent example of how the company plans to meet that demand. Introduced in February, it’s stocked with prevalidated, “click-to-run” answers to requirements such as optimizing employee efficiency and meeting regulatory compliance mandates. Each solution comes with licensing and associated services from both Tech Data itself and vendors like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Red Hat, and Veeam.
Other distributors, including Ingram Micro, SYNNEX, and D&H, are all rolling out ready-made cloud solutions as well. By focusing on business outcomes rather than products, Nethercoat suggests, such offerings give SMBs exactly what they’re looking for these days.
“They want things that work the way they need them to work, when they need them to work, at an appropriate price point,” she says.