How to sell Cloud-based Managed Services

Extending a managed service offering to include the Cloud is a logical step for resellers.  You may want to simply provide basic cloud support or make a bigger investment with a full-service practice, offering everything from assessments to advanced security solutions.  But how do you sell it…?

In our experience, most providers work across six key areas of functional support.  Cloud based managed services offerings are developed by combining these functions in the form of service packages. Within each function, there is a spectrum of services that resellers can provide, depending on their customer needs and their capabilities.  

For further consideration on where you want to begin, let’s take a closer look at each, through the lens of some potential customer questions.

1. Cloud assessment and planning

HOW DO I GET MORE SPEED, AGILITY AND PERFORMANCE FOR MY IT ASSETS?

Often a starting point in the journey for most customers and the opportunity to get involved in the project at an early stage.  They might already understand that the answer is moving to a Cloud infrastructure. However, the question is more about where do they start.  The Marathon team have some great tools for your customers to start the process off. 

2. Cloud migration/deployments

CAN YOU MIGRATE MY WORKLOADS TO THE CLOUD?  WILL YOU TAKE CARE OF ARCHITECTURE CHANGES IN ORDER TO MEET THE RELIABILITY, SCALABILITY AND AVAILABILITY REQUIREMENTS?

The stage in the cloud journey where data will be migrated and apps will be decommissioned, re-platformed, remediated or consolidated—all while providing a seamless experience for the customer. If you want to sell a deployment offering, it means leaving behind the world of plans and tests and venturing into the realm of taking action. Turning everything that looks good on paper, into the successful zero-downtime migration of a production application—with live users.

In truth, it’s not as scary as it might sound.  We’ve previously spent time looking at building a Cloud Migration practice and we’re here to support you all the way.  I’d encourage you to talk to the team for more details and set up a meeting for a more comprehensive review of this margin-rich opportunity.

3. Infrastructure operations management

WILL YOU BACK UP ALL MY DATA AND PROVIDE DISASTER RECOVERY TO MY MISSION CRITICAL APPLICATIONS IN CASE OF OUTAGES?

This is the nuts and bolts of a cloud based managed service, but the customer still needs to hear that you have them covered.  Now that the customer’s data is in cloud, your real responsibilities begin —automation and orchestration, patching updates, configuration management, backup and disaster recovery, and identity management. Customers expect all of these tasks to be ‘managed’ by their partner and so it’s critical to understand your offering in advance. 

4. Monitoring

HOW CAN I ACTUALLY MONITOR ALL OF MY HOSTED AND INTERNAL IT ASSETS?

Most companies simply do not have the time, resources, or dedicated staff required to monitor every aspect of IT and this is where a managed service offers the most value. While the cloud services you propose offer many monitoring capabilities built within the platform – there is still a place for partners who provide additional monitoring and  proactively act upon the alerts before any measurable loss in performance.

5. Security

DOES YOUR BUSINESS HAVE THE TOOLS AND EXPERTISE TO EFFECTIVELY GET AHEAD OF SECURITY THREATS?

The current digital security landscape for businesses can accurately be described in one word…complicated. Numerous advanced threats, complex compliance requirements, and environments that are both difficult and intricate, to secure.  You may have existing partners to help with the solution to this question.  Or you could look at a subscription service such as OneSecure from Marathon.  OneSecure is a modular service ensuring that clients can invest in the security components that fit their business and budgets. The service is paid for through a month subscription in advance, with no other up-front costs.

6. Cost optimisation – the bottom line

HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST?

Ultimately, your customer is going to focus on what it costs. Helping customers manage their cloud spend and make sense of their cloud bill is a critical service. In our experience, if you can efficiently attribute your customer's spend to different projects, departments, teams, applications and cost centres, you can demonstrate the true monetary value of your service.  Again, the tools used to help assess, plan and implement your Cloud managed services solution can help you to provide cost transparency and value for your client.  Justifying spend against cost savings, increased performance and better security. 

If doesn’t matter if you make a tentative step with one element or opt to sell a full solution to your customers, cloud managed services are a proven way to add profit and retain customers in the long term.   

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Marathon Professional Services is your trusted IT solutions partner. We offer a range of services including Desktop Infrastructure Solutions and Virtualisation, and we act on a white-labelled basis as an extension of your business.