Shawn Drew recently blogged about personal cloud growth which “composes the unique collection of cloud-based tools and services individuals use in their daily lives, and the size of each personal cloud is growing at a significant rate. Not only are people using more cloud services, but as applications shift in prominence, the makeup of each personal cloud is constantly in flux.” Referencing research by Gartner, Drew explained this will have significant impacts on the business cloud marketplace and managed service providers (MSPs). One of those impacts was the Internet of Things (IoT), which Drew explained “will introduce an enormous amount of risk into every enterprise network. While the millions of sensors and wearables that are about to flood the market will provide enormous new information-gathering opportunities, all of these new access points will also make these personal clouds less secure. MSPs must begin planning now for ways to secure the IoT before this wave of new devices presents vulnerabilities they aren’t ready for.”
In such a rapidly evolving marketplace even MSPs that provide efficient, effective, and consistent delivery of cloud-based services for infrastructure, platforms, and software need to do a better job of articulating competitive advantage. One successful strategy is to focus on value, not savings, such as the ability to remain compliant in any industry.
Another strategy is to emphasize, as Joe McKendrick says, delivering service as a service. McKendrick explains that service is a “rare commodity when it comes to relationships between producers, providers, and consumers. In the technology service provider world, of course, the challenge is delivering both interpersonal and technology services at the highest levels possible, with the two often being tightly intertwined.” As I previously blogged, MSPs can differentiate themselves by making sure their customers always see a human face in the cloud ready to exceed their service expectations.
McKendrick explained technology providers are expected to provide real-time, all-the-time, service with split-second responses and solutions to customers’ problems. Although mobile and social channels are often used to provide this service, McKendrick emphasized that “simply equipping staff with smartphones and social access won’t deliver the results you need.” Instead, it requires “a cultural and managerial commitment to service excellence . . . culture is everything. At leading companies, the entire organization is empowered to provide customer service.”
Culture is also everything for the clients of MSPs, many of whom struggle to create a cloud usage policy covering aspects such as Shadow IT projects, the use of smartphones and other mobile devices and, most important, internal security rules.
Culture clash, according to Babette Ten Haken, “is the organizational plate tectonics which can derail companies.” She recommends that addressing this is an opportunity for growth for MSPs that expand their skill sets during the business development and sales cycle and thereby help their customers achieve what they struggle with. “That strategy,” she explained, “differentiates you and your company as being far more than vendors to your clients. Culture clashes are nothing new in corporate organizational behavior. However, the pace of change in the global digital economy won’t wait for you to do nothing or have your own pace of change dictated by your customers’ cultural stalemates.”