IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Building a Cloud Practice: Success Stories from the Front Lines : Page 3 of 3

Three channel pros with successful cloud practices explain how they got into cloud services and the keys to their success. By Samuel Greengard

Datasmith Network Solutions Weathers Change
It’s not a question of whether companies will turn to the cloud, but how, where, and when, states Smith of Datasmith Network Solutions. He believes that cloud technology represents the future of IT sales. Yet, there’s a fine line between protecting the revenue streams of today and investing in future tools and technologies. The first step for channel pros facing a “seller’s dilemma” is to recognize that the market is changing rapidly. Clinging to a traditional model is increasingly risky—and ineffective. There’s also the process of optimizing operations and transforming the business.

Datasmith, which offers a variety of cloud solutions—from hardware as a service and IaaS to hosted storage, email, and software as a service—has built a successful practice by morphing from a technology provider into a business adviser and consultant. “We have really tried to move away from speaking geek, particularly as consumerization has taken hold,” Smith says. “The focus is now on plugging in cloud-based solutions that help businesses run better and, ultimately, establish a better IT framework at a lower fixed cost.”

Smith admits that navigating today’s business and IT environment is a learn-as-you-go proposition. About three-and-a-half years ago, the firm underwent a major shift to cloud services. “Before that, we had touched it and hemmed and hawed. We loved selling servers, storage devices, and switches from companies like HP and Dell. But we recognized that the market was changing and we had to change with it.” This included adopting new fee models that focus on subscriptions rather than discrete sales.

As a result, Datasmith began forming new partnerships and changing its existing relationships with vendors. The goal, he says, was to take a more holistic and comprehensive approach to serving clients. Although clouds typically make individual tasks simpler and reduce the need for IT systems, integrating systems and building a framework that supports fast and seamless data exchange—along with network resiliency—was a huge opportunity. “In many cases, clients understand that they can benefit from cloud services but they lack the overall understanding of how to assemble everything,” he explains. “At the end of the day, a channel pro can be a trusted partner [who] guides them to a better business and IT model.”

About the Author

Samuel Greengard's picture

Samuel Greengard, a business and technology writer in West Linn, Ore., is the author of The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015) and Virtual Reality (MIT Press, 2019).


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