7. Go Multicloud
Most IT providers make their way into the cloud through a single solution like Office 365, or a platform like Amazon Web Services. These days, however, their customers are increasingly likely to be using services from a combination of providers. Indeed, 64 percent of SMBs have a multicloud strategy in place today, according to recent data from cloud management vendor RightScale.
“Channel partners have to respond accordingly and expand their partner relationships across multiple vendors,” Kaplan says.
Easier said than done, he acknowledges. Partner with too few vendors and you’ll have a hard time meeting the needs of customers with multicloud environments. Partner with too many, however, and the strain of staying current with a range of different platforms may leave you spread too thin. For that very reason, in fact, Khan questions whether going deep with more than one vendor is practical for most channel pros.
“For smaller MSPs, with maybe five to 200 people, I just think it would be very difficult to try to support multiple platforms,” he says.
“I think for an MSP to be successful in the future, they really need to start thinking about becoming more of a coder.”—Malik Khan, CEO, PointClick Technologies
Still, companies that pull it off can reap substantial benefits. According to West, businesses that use a diverse mix of cloud solutions will pay anyone who can integrate them with the help of tools like Zapier handsomely. “There are Zapier consultants out there making tremendous amounts of money just building natural workflows” across platforms, he observes. “It’s pretty powerful.”
8. Go Hybrid and Hyperconverged
Though cloud adoption is climbing swiftly, most companies still either wish to keep some of their workloads on-site for reasons ranging from security risks to performance slowdowns when working with big files. Experts debate the legitimacy of such concerns, but don’t see them going away soon.
“I don’t think customers are ready to just dump everything there,” says Khan of the cloud. For now, at least, consequently, channel pros with a Cloud 2.0 business must understand hybrid cloud architectures that mix on-site and off-site resources.