That’s the cry I’ve heard from a few people now – they claim that the cloud is taking their business away from them. In my mind that’s a load of baloney as in my mind, the SMB customer relationship with our business is all about just that… the relationship. If you continue to work with your clients and listen to their business needs and give them what they need, then you will always have a relationship with them.
Here’s an article this week announcing that Melbourne IT – one of Australia’s largest hosting providers is now ditching a beta offering they were trailing for SMB client base. What I find interesting about this is two things.
Firstly that they are giving the clients just on 30 days notice to move their stuff out of the Melbourne IT cloud… that’s going to be painful depending on what the customer has there and 30 days might not be enough. However given the clients have placed their data in the cloud, they don’t have an option but to move it – they have no power over when it happens, the provider has just said “sorry we don’t make money so we’re cutting it off”.
The second thing that I find interesting is the comment that they’ve made of “Small businesses, by contrast, were not particularly interested in provisioning their own virtual servers” What this tells me for sure is that yes indeed – SMB clients do not want to deal with the hassle of IT. This has got to be a good thing for us SMB resellers – they still need us.
Make no mistake – Cloud Computing will change how you do business with your clients – but it does not have to be all bad provided you listen to what your clients need and do something about it. Don’t be a lemming and follow blindly into the cloud – look, ask questions, and walk slowly forward – evaluate what it is your clients need and do the right thing for their business. Whilst ever you do this, you will certainly always find your business succeeding.
Strongly agree. I think that we will use cloud ‘tools’ more and more (spam filtering, backup, Dropbox) as well as use it to enable the client’s LOB applications, but shoving their whole infrastructure into the cloud? Except for special conditions, like a dispersed workforce, I don’t see the need nor the desire.
As I tell clients, data is king and if someone has all their data, they don’t feel comfortable with that situation.
My feeling is that as the new and much younger business owners grow and mature, they will naturally be more inclined to use the sort of cloud-based paradigm that they grew up with. By the time they are predominant in business, something else will come along to disrupt the cloud model that they have become comfortable with.
This process will take many years and there will be plenty of time to change our business model to meet the need. Meanwhile, people still need to make everything work together, which is just as, if not more, difficult with the cloud.
Wayne Small says
Thanks Randy – I agree – the process will take years and we have time to look and adapt our business. If we fail to do that then we will truly fail on all fronts.
Richard Tubb says
Wayne – good post. As always, the best way forwards is by listening to what your clients want and helping them to reach that.
There’s no need to go “all in” with the Cloud – but do be aware of the new options that you can offer to clients, because if you don’t, somebody else surely will.
Wayne Small says
Thanks Richard – people forget too often that it’s all about people in SMB. The almighty $, while it is important is NEVER what it’s ALL about. Appreciate the comments and retweet mate 🙂
Craig Sharp says
I agree. It is important to maintain a relationship with your client and transition them to Cloud services if its right for them and their business. Cloud services still need management, some maintenance and some alteration to meet the changing needs of the business. So………….. the company you work with will still require IT representation to resolve these issues.
Please, please, please………… can IT people stop seeing their revenue coming only from tin ! Service needs to be paid for too and that’s how you keep working with your clients if they take cloud services.
Wayne Small says
Craig – too many people forget this. They grow their business and lose sight of what is important – ie the relationship. I’ve grown Correct Solutions now over the last 15 years and I can trace most every client back via the relationships that I’ve had over the years. Word of Mouth marketing is the most underutilised method of business ever. Sadly too.