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10-WEEK GUIDE
Cloud/SaaS
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
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Overview
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CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
How to Use This Guide
This business development guide is intended for small to
midsize solution providers who sell primarily to small and
to medium-sized businesses. It assumes that your company
is at the beginning of its journey into cloud computing and
that you are in the process of developing relevant strategies
for incorporating the cloud into your organisation’s overall
business model.
As we will cover later in this guide, there are numerous
definitions and technologies associated with cloud
computing. This guide is primarily intended to provide
guidance about how your organisation can incorporate
public cloud offerings into your solution portfolio. It does
not focus on strategies your business might embrace when
building your own cloud offerings and cloud infrastructure.
The decision to offer cloud services and solutions is much
more than a technology-driven business imperative.
Technology solution providers who have made the switch
will tell you that establishing a successful cloud computing
practice requires operational discipline, substantial
organisational adjustment, and a long-term view. What’s
more, it requires flexibility. As cloud computing evolves,
so will the business models that perpetuate it and drive it
toward mainstream adoption. This guide’s mission is to help
solution providers manage that ongoing evolution in the
fashion that is most relevant and profitable for their existing
and future business aspirations.
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This 10-week guide will bring structure to the process
of adding cloud offerings to your business. Whether
you are planning an end-to-end cloud practice or are
thinking about supplementing your existing technology
solutions and services with cloud-based options, you
should consult this guide to examine your organisation’s
unique deal economics. It also allows you to start exploring
the financial and operational implications that adding
cloud services and solutions will have on your business’
pricing strategy, marketing practices, sales processes, and
compensation policies.
Your chances for a successful cloud business transformation
will increase substantially if you focus on:
•Understanding that adding cloud services to your business
is more complex than simply adding a new product
offering to your solution portfolio
•Examining the revenue and cash-flow implications of cloud
services, based on your OWN specific deal economics
•Establishing ways to package repeatable cloud offerings,
and to measure and manage services utilisation rates
•Creating a complete metrics-driven approach for
evaluating sales and marketing efforts
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
3
This guide is intended to help you and your team develop a
strategy for cloud business transformation over a period of
ten weeks. Here is a summary outline of what you’ll tackle in
each week:
Week 1: Understand the Cloud Business
Model
•Collect and analyse the deal economics associated with your
existing solutions
•Model the potential economics of on-premise vs.
cloud deals
Week 2: study Up on the Market
•Document customer needs
•Investigate current cloud options
•Review vendor and distributor offerings and programmes
Don’t expect your transformation to
happen overnight. By consulting this guide
regularly over the next ten weeks, you will be well
on your way toward creating a rock-solid foundation
for your unique cloud services and solutions. What’s
more, you’ll have a framework for the ongoing
assessment and management of your cloud-
Weeks 3 and 4: Develop Your Strategy
computing business strategy, one that provides real
•Create and select your unique technology offerings
substance around your strategy.
•Define your services offerings
Weeks 5 and 6: Prepare for Services
Delivery
•Develop transition plan for adapting current services policies to
accommodate cloud services
Here are six steps you must be
willing to take along the way:
•Be realistic: Taking on cloud services may have a
short-term impact on your organisation’s revenue; it
will also require you to make investments.
•Design plans for pre-implementation services, implementation services,
and post-implementation services
•Create a list of services that can be packaged for efficient
implementations
•Think repeatable: Building prepackaged offerings is
critical for success.
•Understand the operational implications: Sales
•Examine and decide on data migration and/or hybrid services offerings
goals must be rethought, reporting metrics should
•Investigate and commit to training for technical staff
be adjusted, and compensation models may need to
be revisited.
Weeks 7 and 8: Create Your Marketing Plan
•Decide on marketing strategy
•Document your new customer approach
•Develop your existing customer plan
•Evaluate and modify your overall value message for the cloud
•Develop your social media and online marketing plan
Week 9: Sales Planning
•Embrace new marketing tactics: Build a plan
focused on new customer acquisition, while
including education for existing customers.
•Make a commitment: Appoint someone to lead the
transformation.
•GET STARTED NOW!
•Decide on sales approach
•Commit to and execute the sales training plan
•Develop sales compensation plans
•Decide on inside sales or telesales investments
Week 10: Create a Cloud Management Framework
•Commit to action on your revised business plan
•Revise the sales and revenue forecasting model for recurring revenue
•Develop revised marketing and service delivery metrics
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Week 1
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Executive Summary
An academic definition, courtesy of
the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST), serves
as the foundation for CompTIA’s
definition of cloud computing:
“Cloud Computing is a model for
enabling convenient, on-demand
Respected market research that examines future trends in
technology purchases suggests that more than half of all
businesses—of every size and across every geography—will
move at least some portion of their information technology (IT)
infrastructure into the cloud by 2012. How does that translate
into revenues? By 2016, technology forecasters predict that
cloud computing—across all its different permutations—could
help boost the economy across Europe by £650 billion.
network access to a shared pool of
configurable computing resources
(e.g., networks, servers, storage,
applications and services) that can
be rapidly provisioned and released
with minimal management effort
or service provider interaction. This
cloud model promotes availability
and is composed of five essential
Is your head spinning? If so, take a deep breath. It’s important to
characteristics (on-demand self-
realise that this transition will not happen overnight. You will have
service, broad network access,
time to plan. What’s more, the hybrid nature of anticipated customer
resource pooling, rapid elasticity
adoption patterns suggests that technology solution providers will be
and measured service), three
able to accommodate cloud services offerings within the framework of
service models (software as a
their existing business model. That is, many solution providers will add
service, platform as a service, and
cloud offerings to round out their suite of solutions and services while
infrastructure as a service), and four
maintaining many of their on-premise offerings.
deployment models (private cloud,
Still, any technology solution provider who ignores the potential impact
of cloud computing could be putting both current customers and
community cloud, public cloud, and
hybrid cloud).”
prospective new business at risk.
What do we mean when we talk about cloud computing? There are
easily more than two dosen definitions of the term. A CompTIA Cloud/
SaaS Community analysis of the concept (“Outlining Cloud Computing for the Channel”) helps provide
clarity. In the broadest sense, cloud computing refers to the practice of delivering applications, platforms, or
infrastructure via the Internet or a private network as a service.
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CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
1.Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) or Hardware as a Service (HaaS): This is the practice of looking
to some outside provider for core computing capacity. The management of that infrastructure is
primarily left up to the business using it. Two examples of companies offering this functionality are
Amazon and Rackspace. Solution providers could serve as providers of IaaS through their own data
centres or as brokers of IaaS, reselling offerings of service provider partners.
2.Platform as a Service (PaaS): This is a cloud service that offers a richer set of management,
integration, and development options than IaaS. Three notable PaaS options are Microsoft Asure,
Google App Engine, and Force.com (tied to the Salesforce.com service). PaaS offers solution
providers an opportunity to develop new applications and services offerings more economically.
Solution providers could also broker PaaS offerings to their customers.
3.Software as a Service (SaaS): Probably the most widely known and used cloud service, SaaS refers to
the practice of offering an application via the public Internet or dedicated online connection. Application
features are managed and updated in a way that is transparent to the user. High-profile SaaS examples
include Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Salesforce.com, Microsoft BPOS, and Google Apps. Many
developers that have created SaaS offerings are working with solution providers who can add business
value in the form of assessment, deployment, migration, training, and support services.
Projections concerning how much of today’s IT spending will shift toward cloud computing options
vary. End-user research conducted by the IPED channel research, consulting and education division
of Everything Channel in early 2010 suggests that approximately 30 percent of IT budgets in 2012
will shift to off-premise-hosted or pure cloud services as businesses move into a hybrid technologysourcing model (Can You See Through the Clouds? -The Evolution of Technology Delivery, 2010 IPED
Cloud Survey).
From the customer point of view, there are several cloud business “drivers.” These include financial
factors, such as a desire to decrease the costs of core IT infrastructure or to shift technology expenses
from a capital expenditure line item into a more predictable operational expense that can be metered
out monthly or annually. Many businesses looking to the cloud are doing so because they believe these
services will provide them with a competitive business advantage, for example, the ability to unfurl a
new service or product more quickly to their own customers. Technology solution providers will need
to play to both mindsets to be successful in the new cloud business model.
Let’s be clear, businesses will still buy on-premise technology solutions for years to come. But
increasingly, they will consider cloud alternatives for certain elements of their IT infrastructure. This
guide will help your organisation take a disciplined, proactive approach to defining your cloud services
and solutions strategy and putting your business transformation plan into action—positioning your
organisation to win prospective new accounts and bring new business value to long-time clients.
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Week 1
People commonly lump cloud computing into three distinct
models or types:
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Week 1
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Week 1: Understand the Cloud Business Model
During the first week of planning for your cloud business transformation, study
the impact that cloud computing could have on your bottom-line revenue and
top-line margins. Your focus should be on collecting specific data that will guide
your team’s decisions about where cloud services make sense and where they
don’t. The information you need to examine and carefully consider includes your
current cost of sales, marketing investments, average deal, and services margins.
There are four primary business reasons that your organisation might consider adding a
cloud practice:
1.To expand your reach: This might mean selling to a new industry or new segments within your
current target audience or addressing new computing needs within your existing customers,
especially teleworkers and remote branch-office mobility scenarios.
2.To create new revenue streams: One of the most attractive aspects of cloud offerings is that
solution providers can develop a predictable, recurring revenue stream. New service opportunities
might include cloud-readiness evaluations, integration, and migration services.
3.To increase profitability: Cloud services allow technology solution providers to prospect
customers outside their local geography more easily, extending the reach of existing sales efforts.
Recurring revenue streams can help increase margins and service-attach rates.
4.To reduce business risk: There is definitely an element of risk in making the cloud business
transition. For example, it likely will take multiple cloud deals to generate the same revenue
you previously could expect from a large project. But adding cloud services can help your
organisation create a more predictable cash flow, standardise product deliverables, and make
better use of existing intellectual property.
To assess the specific impact that cloud offerings will have on your particular business, we
recommend taking the following steps over the first week of your cloud business transformation:
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CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Week 1
Action 1: Collect and analyse the deal economics
associated with your existing solutions
Start by reviewing metrics for your current on-premise deals, including margins earned through
product resale and all the relevant consulting, implementation, and support services that your
organisation wraps into or attaches to its existing technology solutions. If this isn’t something
your team already analyses regularly, many of your existing vendor partners may have returnon-investment (ROI) calculators that may streamline the process of gathering and reviewing this
information—at least for their specific products.
Outline the typical revenue and margin expectations that your business expects for each onpremise solution. Understand which solutions generate the bulk of your revenue, which drive the
highest services margins, and which are loss-leaders that help your organisation get a foothold into
new accounts. Ask yourself: do your expectations for each of your existing on-premise solutions line
up with reality?
From a macro level, document your typical hardware, software, and services mix; not just for each
opportunity but from the standpoint of your entire organisation.
The point of this exercise is to understand the real economics of your existing business. You should
use this information to assess and understand the impact that adding a cloud business practice will
have on your entire organisation.
Here is a comparison of an on-premise opportunity with a cloud opportunity.
Sample Solution Provider Revenue
On-premise vs. Cloud SaaS Comparison
On Premise Solution
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Cloud Solution
Total
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Total
£1K
£1K
£3K
Product Sales
Hardware Revenue
£10K
£10K
£25K
£25K
£1K
Software Revenue
Services
Before Sale Services
£5K
£5K
£5K
£5K
Technical Implementation
Services
£25K
£25K
£12K
£12K
Business Customisation
Services
£25K
£25K
£12K
£12K
Post Sales Services
[Managed services, help
desk, etc.
£18K
£18K
£18K
£54K
£18K
£18K
£18K
£54K
£108K
£18K
£18K
£144K
£48K
£19K
£19K
£86K
Total
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Week 1
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Action 2: Model the potential economics of on-premise vs. cloud deals
Start by collecting the specific data for your current offerings (email migrations, new server deployments, etc.).
Model the implications of adding a cloud service that could be either a replacement or alternative for that solution.
Consider all up-front factors, such as the difference in deployment margin potential, the potential shift in revenue
from an on-premise offering to a cloud version, and the anticipated managed services or support costs associated
with each.
Also compare what services personnel or technology resources might be required for each model. What new
services (data migration, integration between cloud and on- premise solutions, etc.) might your organisation need
to add? Some high-tech vendors have developed ROI or pricing models that allow you to quickly understand the
differences between the revenue potential for your current offerings and the cloud offerings. But you’ll need to dig
deeper into the services delivery implications to understand the true potential impact on your unique business.
Action 3: Develop a practice business model that addresses the new
cloud deal economics
Once you have a sense of how the cloud might impact specific pieces of your business, look at it from a 50,000-foot
view. Although the cloud computing model is still emerging, here are two big considerations to keep foremost as you
develop your cloud business practice model:
The hybrid model is here to stay: Many customers will NOT move to the cloud, so most technology solution
providers should support both on-premise solutions and cloud services. In order to build out the practice model that
is right for your business, however, you will need to have some notion of how much of your existing revenue could
or should move into cloud services alternatives. Ninety-one percent of UK IT businesses see hybrid cloud model as
their preferred option, but 71% are concerned about potential management complexity this will bring, according to a
research by ICT services provider 2e2. So you need to cover all your bases from a technology delivery standpoint.
Don’t forget the new customers you might bring into the fold: Decide whether your organisation can drive new
customer acquisitions, based on the availability of new cloud offerings. (See chart on the following page citing
the top reasons that end-users are seeking cloud computing solutions. The data comes from CompTIA’s July
2010 survey of 602 U.S. IT decision makers and solution providers.) And research elsewhere suggests trends are
similar across Europe.
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CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Not a Reason
Minor Reason
Major Reason
Desire to reduce cap-ex on
hardware, other systems
14%
36%
49%
Desire to cut costs
16%
40%
44%
Desire to add new capabilities not
available with alternative models
19%
48%
33%
Simplicity or speed in
implementation/on-ramping
16%
52%
33%
Desire to reduce operational
complexity/enable self-service
20%
50%
30%
Transition from conventional
software licensing
25%
45%
30%
Modernisation of legacy IT
25%
49%
27%
Predictable, subscription-based
pricing
25%
49%
26%
Desire to outsource IT management/
administration
43%
33%
24%
Reduction in internal IT headcount
50%
31%
19%
At the end of the day, assessing your deal economics can be a very detailed exercise. Ultimately, however,
you want to gain an understanding of the short-term impact to your revenue associated with moving to the
cloud, so that you can use this as the basis for moving forward. For example, consider that your potential
gross margin associated with a cloud opportunity is 50 percent less in the first year than the margin
associated with a traditional on-premise opportunity. From that information, you know that, to maintain the
same profit in your business you will need to build a cloud business plan that:
• drives twice the number of opportunities you previously targeted for on-premise deals,
•adds services that allow your organisation to maintain its margins with the same number of opportunities, and
•takes a longer-term view or recognises that, over time, the cloud opportunity may drive significantly more
revenue than can be scaled with on-premise solutions (Note: this plan may require additional investment
or use of current capital).
Remember that the hybrid technology delivery model is expected to be the predominant model for the
foreseeable future, so these considerations will probably apply only to a part of your business.
Priorities and Resources
• Model the economics of your current offerings.
•Understand the revenue and margin differences between on-premise solutions and cloud alternatives.
•Determine the portion of revenue your business expects to generate through cloud services (either new
customer targets or existing clients). Aggressive solution providers often view a cloud business practice as
the growth engine for incremental revenue.
•Calculate the number of cloud deals your sales team should close to generate the same margin and profit
levels your business currently generates. Use this as the basis for developing your new business plan and
forecast model.
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Week 1
Reasons Why End Users Are Seeking Cloud Solutions
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Week 2
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Week 2: Study the Market
The work your team did during Week 1 will give you a detailed sense of your
organisation’s core business metrics and how they will be altered by adding
cloud services and offerings. During Week 2, it’s time to focus externally. Three
tasks will dominate your time:
1.Documenting your customers’ cloud needs or desires,
2.Investigating current market solutions for SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS that might
make sense for your organisation to represent, and
3.Reviewing and analysing vendor/distributor programmes and offerings.
All of these activities will provide your organisation with perspective and
context on the broader cloud market, so that you can begin to build out a cloudcentric business plan that is right for the unique needs of both you and your
organisation.
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CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Cloud services and solutions provide a means of serving existing customers more efficiently. They
also offer a way to reach new prospects. You need to think about the implications of both.
Cloud prospects can be found across the entire spectrum of business organisational sises, although
the sweet spot in the current marketplace seems to be among small and midsise companies. The good
news is that this is the same sweet spot for many technology solution providers. In other words, many
of these prospects will be familiar with the products and services, but the discussions you have with
them about how technology can solve their business challenges will transform over time.
Understanding what drives a business to use cloud services is imperative for both your sales
team, which must learn how to describe benefits succinctly, and your services team, which will
need to recalibrate its delivery mindset and priorities. The end-user chart in Week 1 of this guide
(Reasons Why End-Users Are Seeking Cloud Computing Solutions) summarises the specific
motivators driving businesses to embrace the cloud computing model. Here are some other
general business motivators:
1.Business continuity and disaster recovery concerns often play a role in convincing them to
embrace a cloud vs. on-premise option.
2.They view cloud-delivered applications and technology infrastructure as a competitive business
advantage.
3.Business leaders believe sourcing applications and technology via the cloud can help them control
profit margins and shift some capital expenditures related to technology into operational expenses.
Your organisation also needs to understand the common objections to cloud-computing models,
which generally focus on the angst around security and privacy, as well as concerns about how
access and service levels might affect application performance and network latency. The following
CompTIA chart details some of the challenges that business face during the adoption of cloud
computing (again, the data comes from CompTIA’s July 2010 survey of 602 U.S. IT decision makers
and solution providers).
Not
Significant
Somewhat
Significant
Very
Significant
Integration with existing systems
10%
47%
44%
Painful transition from legacy
systems to cloud computing
environment
18%
48%
45%
Initial costs (training, hardware, etc.)
21%
46%
32%
Other
58%
26%
16%
As you develop your services plan, take particular note of the huge burgeoning challenge
associated with integration. Many solution providers consider this to be one of the biggest services
opportunities related to cloud computing, especially since most businesses will operate in a hybrid
technology model for many years to come.
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Week 2
Action 1: Document customer needs
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Week 2
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Action 2: Investigate current cloud options
The deal economics-modeling scenarios you explored in Week 1 will have given you a sense of what
your organisation might stand to gain from adding cloud solutions. Now, you need to figure out
which ones are most relevant for your business.
For example, if your organisation focuses on delivering on-premise software applications and
solutions to small or midsise businesses in your local community, now is the time to assess
whether they are candidates for SaaS. This model continues to be one of the fastest-growing
portions of the cloud market. According to market research firm IDC, compound annual
growth for the category was 32 percent from 2007 to 2011, and revenue is expected to top
$20 billion (£12.5 billion) in 2011. CompTIA’s 2010 cloud-computing model research shows that
approximately 47 percent of established technology solution providers (in business more than
20 years) have embraced the SaaS model. However, more than 70 percent of channel newcomers
include SaaS offerings in their business model.
On the other hand, if your organisation provides data-center infrastructure, you should study the
IaaS model with particular attention to how margins for existing on-premise solutions might be
impacted and whether it is worthwhile to offer both on-premise and cloud-hosted solutions for
server, storage, and networking needs. You’ll also need to consider how cloud computing principles
might affect your existing data-center solutions in the form of private cloud infrastructure.
The private cloud refers to infrastructure that is configured and managed in the same way as
publicly-provisioned services, but is only available on a controlled base to certain businesses and/
or its business partners. CompTIA research shows that nearly one-third of technology-solution
providers use IaaS internally. Approximately 41 percent sell storage, security, virtualisation, and other
infrastructure-related services.
If your organisation’s skills lie in software development, PaaS may represent an opportunity to
rewrite your application development, testing, and distribution strategies. For example, imagine
that your organisation has written software for clients in a specific vertical market. By moving that
development into a PaaS environment, your company could streamline the process of keeping
the application updated. In addition, PaaS could help your organisation market that application
to a broader potential customer base outside the confines of your local geography. According to
CompTIA’s 2010 research concerning cloud-channel adoption, PaaS is the least penetrated of the
three cloud services types today. About 27 percent of the solution providers surveyed by CompTIA
use PaaS internally, while 33 percent use it as the foundation for a customer-facing cloud solution.
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CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Week 2
Action 3: Review vendor and distributor offerings
and programmes
Which of your existing vendor and distributor partners could play a supporting role in your
organisation’s business transformation? On the flip side, which have offerings that could be
competitive to what you are considering? The answers will depend entirely on your existing
portfolio of alliances.
The fact is your organisation could launch your cloud-services strategy more quickly by leveraging
some of the investments that existing product vendors and distributors have already made. Here’s
what you should look at and why:
• Closely examine whether or not your existing software-application partners have developed
hosted versions. By representing that offering, you could create a recurring revenue stream with
a smaller up-front technical or infrastructure investment.
•Services aspirations. Most well-known hardware vendors have enhanced their professional
services capabilities and capacities substantially over the past decade. More recently, big-name
players in servers and storage have overhauled their data centers in a bid to improve efficiency
and set the stage for cloud services. Likewise, some have established partner programmes
intended to support would-be hosting providers and cloud-services partners.
• Don’t overlook distributors. The value that distributors could bring to your organisation’s cloud
business practice is twofold. First, many are studying ways to help package complementary
technologies, applications, and services which might accelerate the development of your own
offerings. Second, distributors could provide technical assistance and resources when it comes
to some of the operational processes that cloud-service providers must embrace, including
customer provisioning and managed help-desk services.
Priorities and Resources
•Study existing customers to determine potential improvements you could make to their service
delivery experience.
•Discuss new prospects that your organisation is interested in reaching and the implications cloud
computing has for those targets.
•Evaluate which cloud solution(s) make sense in the context of your existing business model
(IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS, or all three).
•Research what your key product vendors and distributors are doing and saying about cloud
computing
•Review vendor sites for cloud-related training material. For example, some vendors like
Microsoft, Rackspace, and Amazon provide not only cloud education about their specific
products/offerings, but offer general education on the cloud model.
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Week 3 - 4
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Weeks 3 and 4: Develop Your Strategy
Get ready to exercise some patience, creativity, and honesty during the next two
weeks, as you begin applying the possibilities of cloud computing to your unique
organisational needs and structure. This is not a simple exercise. During this next
phase of business development, keep the following factors in mind as you develop
the cloud strategy that is right for your company:
•Focus on areas where your company excels today and how you can extend that
expertise into the cloud business model.
•Remember that this is an evolutionary time in the market, which means your
strategy should take into account changes you might need to make in your
business to keep ahead of the curve as cloud computing becomes more widely
accepted.
Action 1: Create and select your unique technology
offerings
Successful solution providers share a proven ability to craft customer-centric
solutions through differentiated combinations of technologies and software
broadly available in the market. It is not the intention of this guide to recommend
specific technologies around which to build your cloud practice. However, we have
identified a number of strategy options from technology solution providers who
have successfully built a cloud practice.
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Technology solution providers become involved with IaaS by reselling this type of offering from a
cloud provider (Rackspace, Amazon, etc.). Another option is for solution providers to build their
own IaaS offerings and cloud infrastructure; which is a less common option because of the costs
involved. As illustrated in the IPED chart below, there are two ways a technology solution provider
might represent an existing IaaS offering:
The Hybrid Model
DELIVERY MODEL
ON-PREMISE
PRODUCT
RESALE
ON-PREMISE
HOSTED
OFF-PREMISE
HOSTED
PURE
CLOUD
DEFINITION
C LO U D CO N T I N U U M
On-premise
product re-sale,
product related
services, etc.
Hosting, platform,
solution, or data resides
on-premise
Hosting, platform,
solution, and data
resides at 3rd party
Hosting, platform, solution,
and data resides at the vendor
and is delivered on demand
via SaaS, IaaS, or PaaS either
in a private or public cloud
Resell or White Labeled
via IaaS
New Managed Services: White Labeled Data Center provided by IaaS
• New partners can’t compete with economies of Rackspace, Amazon, etc.
• Few new data centers are built, in fact some data centers may migrate to IaaS
1.Reselling an existing IaaS offering: Under this model, the solution provider acts as an agent or
broker for an existing, publicly hosted IaaS offering. There are plenty of distributors, hosting
companies that offer cloud options, and emerging options from hardware and infrastructure
vendors. This option offers a way for a solution provider to enter into the IaaS market,
maintaining a single interface and brand presence to its customers, but clearly acting as a
business partner to an established cloud infrastructure provider.
2.Selling white-label IaaS solutions: Under this option, the solution provider might represent
a publicly-hosted IaaS offering under its own brand. Again, it allows the technology solution
provider to maintain a single interface and brand presence to its customers.
Another less-common way for a technology solution provider to become involved with IaaS is by
building out its own private cloud offering. A January 2011 MarketBridge survey estimates that
52 percent of SMBs would prefer to deploy on some sort of private cloud infrastructure rather
than on a public cloud. The drawback to this approach is that it will require data-center and other
infrastructure investments by the solution provider, which requires capital. The advantage is that
it might appeal to more cautious businesses, such as financial service concerns or healthcare
organisations that are leery of the cloud’s privacy and security implications. The IPED chart below
outlines where private cloud offerings fit within the broad continuum.
The Emergence of the Private Cloud Builder
DELIVERY MODEL
ON-PREMISE
PRODUCT
RESALE
ON-PREMISE
HOSTED
OFF-PREMISE
HOSTED
PURE
CLOUD
DEFINITION
C LO U D C O N T I N U U M
On-premise
product re-sale,
product related
services, etc.
Hosting, platform,
solution, or data resides
on-premise
Hosting, platform,
solution, and data
resides at 3rd party
Hosting, platform, solution,
and data resides at the vendor
and is delivered on demand
via SaaS, IaaS, or PaaS either
in a private or public cloud
Private Cloud Built in
Customer Data Center
Private Cloud Built in
Partner Data Center
• Can follow a resale model with one-time charge HW, SW; may also be hosted
• Servers, storage and systems management software skills critical
• Cloud Server in a Box well received
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Week 3 - 4
IaaS
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Week 3 - 4
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SaaS
Solution providers that have layered SaaS offerings into their services portfolio have opted for two
predominant strategies:
1.Reselling public SaaS cloud offering, such as Microsoft BPOS or Office 365, Salesforce.com,
NetSuite, or SAP ByDesign: This strategy leaves the management of the software infrastructure in
the hands of the public cloud provider, with the solution provider in an agent or advisory role. The
general view from successful solution providers is that this option may generate less short-term
revenue (2x less than on-premise deals in many cases), but that it generates significant margin
potential in the form of integration, migration, and hybrid services.
2.Offering managed hosted environments: With this model, the solution provider might take on
management of a hosted application or software infrastructure environment. This might be
applicable in circumstances where your customers require a private cloud environment or are
seeking to improve the management of custom applications. However, it could put pressure on
margins when you consider the typical pricing models that vendors are offering to their service
provider/hosting partners.
PaaS
Currently, the PaaS cloud computing model (think Salesforce.com’s Force.com, Microsoft’s Asure or
Google’s App Engine) offers two primary business paths for technology solution providers:
1.Morphing into an ISV: PaaS provides a more structured, cost-effective way for solution providers
to develop, support, and maintain their own software applications, which may be add-ons or
complements to existing office-productivity or back-office software. In essence, PaaS would help
underpin the commercialisation of your organisation’s software applications and development work.
2.Selling development platform capacity: PaaS might also prove useful to midsise and enterprise
businesses seeking more cost-effective ways to support in-house development activities. Under
this model, the solution provider might sell capacity or support for one of the publicly-available
PaaS offerings, helping their customers manage their development more efficiently.
Action 2: Define your services offerings
After you define your core cloud-product offerings, you can focus in on the services that your
organisation will need to deploy and support them. Here are five key things to remember as you
conduct internal services strategy discussions:
1. Clear, streamlined processes must be in place to deliver consistently and quickly.
2. Sero in on services that differentiate your approach and messaging as a cloud service provider.
3.Define each step carefully, since cloud implementations tend to be shorter and more repetitive.
4.Technical implementation services, such as database configuration and server set-up, are likely
to contribute less to your margins than in the past. However, integration of cloud and on-premise
services is considered a growth area for solution providers.
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
As you develop your services strategy, consider which of your current services offerings are
applicable for a cloud offering. Some of them may no longer be relevant, such as server installations
or configurations and software tuning. Others might be extended into the cloud model with relative
ease. For example, extending an existing managed service to accommodate the cloud variation
of infrastructure or an application has been a successful strategy for many solution providers. The
cloud model is also creating a number of compelling new services opportunities, including:
•Data migration of customer information and data from an on-premise model to a cloud service,
•Integration between on-premise solutions and related cloud services or among multiple cloudhosted services,
•Business process consulting and customisation services (since companies will be spending
less on technical integration services, more budget is likely to be available for workflow
improvements made possible by cloud applications), and
• Cloud training and education, especially as the model continues to evolve.
Priorities and Resources
•If you offer on-premise infrastructure, investigate the white-label or branded IaaS offerings
available for you to resell.
•Interest in private clouds is growing. Although this model might require infrastructure
investment, it may be appropriate for businesses that are especially sensitive about privacy and
security.
•Customer adoption of SaaS is escalating. So consider a SaaS alternative for your current
portfolio of application and software offerings, such as Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365.
•Once you have developed the offerings that will be part of your cloud practice, revisit the
services portfolio you currently offer. Are they still valid for the cloud model? If not, decide which
ones are relevant and which new services you might need to introduce to your services team.
•Revisit your strategy quarterly, if not more often, as the cloud stack changes daily
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Week 3 - 4
5. Your technicians will support hybrid infrastructure environments for years to come.
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Week 5 - 6
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Weeks 5 and 6: Prepare For Services Delivery
Supporting and delivering cloud services will require your organisation to
significantly readjust its services delivery mindset.
While in the past, many of your services activities may have been customised for virtually every
customer engagement, the margin structure of cloud computing demands that your organisation
subject its services policies and processes to much more discipline. That goes for both simple and
complex services offerings. Many solution providers that have successfully layered a cloud business
practice into their organisation have invested in specific, repeatable prepackaging services—from
presales to implementation/migration and post-sales activities. This will offer a higher degree of
predictability when it comes to services margins. But it also will require that your services personnel
abide by new metrics: automating routine maintenance tasks and encouraging ever-higher rates of
efficiency for low-margin services offerings.
During the next two weeks, you should review existing series processes and policies with an eye to
determining those that are relevant for your cloud services offerings. This assessment will also help
identify potential gaps in your services delivery capabilities that might hinder the rapid provisioning
and delivery of cloud services. You may choose to focus junior-level services personnel on certain
prepackaged services related to the cloud, reserving senior-level personnel for projects that are
more complex.
Action 1: Develop a transition plan for adapting current
services policies to accommodate cloud services
The reality is that the services team supporting your organisation’s cloud offerings is likely to be
the same one involved with delivering your on-premise solutions. But technology solution providers
who have successfully layered cloud offerings into their business model say their ability to do so has
hinged on significant changes to their services philosophy, including:
•Development of repeatable, packaged service offerings,
•A conscious move to limit or decrease customised consulting engagements that are difficult to
manage from a margin standpoint, and
•Adoption of specific processes that govern service-delivery procedures, speeding decisionmaking and deployment activity.
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
As mentioned during the strategy section of this guide (weeks 3 and 4), your cloud services
opportunities will span the entire project lifecycle. Here are some specific offerings you might consider:
Pre-Sales Consulting
• Cloud-readiness assessments and requirements gathering
•Data migration planning (if appropriate)
• Workflow or business process consulting
•Industry-specific customisation
Configuration and Implementation
• Provisioning and set-up according to predefined, prepackaged parameters
•Data migration
•Infrastructure and application integration
• Security and access policies/definitions
•Testing
• Project management
Post-Sales Support
•Remote monitoring and management
•User training
• Managed help desk
• Service level and usage reporting
• Account management
Action 3: Develop a list of services that can be packaged
for more efficient implementations
There are three reasons that your team’s ability to maintain a strict services-delivery process—
centered on prepackaged offerings—will be paramount to the financial success of your cloud
business practice:
1.You can dedicate junior-level resources to delivery, while devoting more experienced services
professionals to higher-margin integration and customisation tasks.
2. Your organisation should have a more accurate view of future resource needs.
3.Your team can focus on ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction, which will go a long way
toward ensuring the high customer retention and renewal rates required for success with a cloud
business model.
By examining your organisation’s current skill sets and its target customer profile (both current and
prospective), your services team can determine the sweet spot for your cloud services. By defining
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Week 5 - 6
Action 2: Develop plans for pre-implementation services,
implementation services and post-implementation services
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Week 5 - 6
20 |
specific tasks and processes around these services, you can create prepackaged offerings that will
offer margin predictability. For example, you can structure services according to the number of
users supported or by promised/anticipated service levels. There are a number of services that can
be packaged to ensure that their delivery is time-bound and that your services team can deliver a
repeatable experience to your customers within set utilisation parameters. Examples of prepackaged
services that successful cloud solution providers have crafted include:
•Exchange mailbox conversions (scaled on a per-user basis),
•Training (managed per-user),
• Packaged reports and workflows for CRM implementation, and
•Defined (via SOWs) data migrations from on-premise systems to cloud solutions.
Action 4: Investigate and decide on data migration and/or
hybrid services offerings
Chances are, not only will your organisation be a hybrid one—offering both on-premise and cloud
infrastructure options—your customer environments will create hybrid services and support
opportunities. One of the considerations you might explore surrounds migration services for
businesses moving an existing piece of infrastructure or application into the cloud (or vice versa).
Your customers might also be candidates for data-integration services that ensure that cloud-hosted
pieces of their infrastructure can interact seamlessly with on-premise components.
Action 5: Investigate and commit to training your
technical staff
If your organisation plans to manage its cloud business practice within the context of a larger
solution-provider operation, you should invest in leadership resources for your cloud services
initiatives. That includes leaders who can help you navigate the philosophical shifts of custom vs.
prepackaged, reactive vs. proactive.
Given the amount of market “noise” your customers and prospects are hearing about cloud
computing, it’s important to position your team as experts who can help them transform the vapor
into tangible business benefits. By committing to pre-sales consulting and assessments, your
organisation will retain its role of trusted advisor. The training around your cloud services offerings
should be focused on process, not product. Two of the most important subjects to cover thoroughly
and often are:
1.Determining if a business (client or prospect) is a candidate for cloud services.
2.Escalation strategies, such as recognising when a customer or prospect will require additional
attention that goes beyond the scope of prepackaged services.
Our first recommendation is to make sure that you make training a priority, not a last minute
requirement. If you expect customers to follow your direction for their cloud strategy, your team
must be able to explain to them the real differences between on-premise and cloud solutions—do
not just parrot the standard marketing hype. Our discussions with many of your peers who have
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
training activities:
•Don’t wait until you have your first cloud prospect to train your staff. Be proactive.
•Make sure your team members are all on the same page. There are so many definitions of cloud
that you need to make sure everyone within your organisation speaks the same language.
•Make sure your technical team understands the return-on-investment the cloud brings to your
customers. Even the services delivery team needs to understand the business value of the cloud
at the product and solution level. More than ever before, your services-delivery teams may be
asked by customers why they should move to the cloud. Their answer should focus on benefits,
not technical merits.
•Don’t forget product training. Pick your cloud solutions and understand them in detail. Make
sure your team understands the nuances between on-premise and cloud solutions from the
same vendor.
Action 6: Document and develop a game plan for the
required process changes
It can’t be repeated enough: in order to support the prepackaged services offerings mandated
under the cloud business model, your organisation will need to review its services-delivery
processes and manage those procedures closely. The biggest reason is the shift in personnel
utilisation rates you’re likely to see under the cloud model. For starters, many projects will probably
be shorter in duration.
A higher number of your projects can also be managed remotely, which means your professional
services staff typically will work on multiple projects simultaneously. Project management business
practices will be essential to ensuring that engagements progress smoothly and your services
leadership has the capacity to handle your cloud-deal pipeline. The key services processes that
need to be evaluated and adapted are:
•Resource assignments (senior, higher paid vs. more junior, lower paid staff)
• Skills development and management
•Utilisation metrics
•Resource allocation expectations (many cloud projects are shorter term and are delivered mostly
remotely, therefore resources are often deployed on multiple projects simultaneously)
• Pricing, and
• Statement-of-work development and change management.
Priorities and Resources
• Assign a leader for cloud services management.
•Determine focus for services that support cloud offerings, pre-sales, implementation, and post-sales.
•Define specific, prepackaged offerings so that margins can be managed more closely.
• Build a plan for ongoing training.
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Week 5 - 6
layered cloud solutions into their business suggest that the following should be priorities for your
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Week 7 - 8
22 |
Week 7 and 8: Create Your Marketing Plan
Now that you have a sense of the shape and scope of your cloud business plan,
devote some energy to reshaping the story you tell in the marketplace. This section
outlines a phased process for getting there.
Action 1: Decide on your marketing strategy
You can take one of two approaches with your marketing plan: integrate cloud services messaging
into your existing marketing strategy or develop a separate campaign focused entirely on the cloud
portion of your business. You might use different tactics within your installed base than with new
customer prospects. Your approach will depend primarily on whether you treat your cloud practice
as a separate division or consider cloud solutions as an alternative delivery model within your core
operational model. In either case, you should invest in a well-defined, step-by-step process and stick
to it. Here are the implications of each.
Integrated Marketing Plan
• Your team can build on proven marketing tactics.
•You can strengthen existing messaging with cloud benefit statements, such as the elimination of
capital expenditures.
• Cloud solutions provide your company with differentiated deployment and financing options.
• Approach can be adapted and matched to customer needs organically.
Separate Initiative for Cloud Offerings
•Leverage high-volume, low-touch campaigns (prospective cloud buyers are more likely to be
reached online).
•Closely match the costs for your online marketing activities with the margin structure of your
cloud services and solutions.
•Make an aggressive push into social media and digital marketing, along with a multi-touch email
programme with website landing pages.
Action 2: Document your new customer approach
Prospective buyers for your cloud services can be sorted into three primary categories, which should
be considered as you develop your marketing plan.
1. Web-centric buyers, who will seek information almost exclusively online
2.Line-of-business managers, interested in how cloud technology will affect their business
3.IT-savvy executives, looking to the cloud for new features and cost-savings benefits
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Don’t ignore your current installed base when developing your marketing plan, especially since so
many companies are considering cloud service investments as a way to better manage their legacy IT
infrastructure. Your organisation has a unique opportunity to serve as a cloud expert with your installed
base, providing educational materials, and addressing specific questions or objections head-on. Consider
developing road shows, breakfasts, and other face-to-face opportunities where your team can bring value
to your customers by helping them understand their cloud options.
Action 4: Evaluate and modify your overall value message for
the cloud
Your overall messaging should underscore the key reasons that businesses are moving to cloud-based
services, including:
•Lower initial costs and predictable recurring expenses,
• Agility and scalability,
• Ability to focus on strategic initiatives, rather than manage technology infrastructure,
•Access to advanced and emerging technologies that were previously out of reach, due to cost or
management considerations.
Action 5: Develop your social media and online marketing plan
Since cloud solutions are online-centric, you should leverage the Internet and social media heavily for
lead-generation programmes. The key is to think about high-volume forums of outreach. Find the forums
in places such as Facebook or LinkedIn where discussions about cloud computing are taking place, and
assign your best and brightest cloud advocates to participate. Canvas blogs about cloud computing, and
selectively join the dialogue. Use email marketing campaigns with special website URLs to track and qualify
prospects more specifically and proactively.
Online trials that provide prospective customers with a way of trying a cloud service or application for a
limited time will dramatically improve your chances of closing the deal. Partners who have invested in this
strategy report that proof-of-concepts can sometimes double those chances. So, it’s worth investing in a
way of allowing customers to test out your cloud offerings before committing to a contract.
The metrics for tracking cloud marketing initiatives should reflect:
• Pipeline-to-close ratios,
• Social media touch points and their payoff,
•Landing-page activity,
• Conversion rates for trials or proof-of-concepts, and
•Gap in customer acquisition costs for on-premise deals vs. cloud services engagements.
Priorities and Resources
• Assess whether an integrated or separate approach is most appropriate.
•Define marketing targets, including new prospects and existing customers.
• Appoint someone to build a social media strategy.
•Update your website to include information related to your cloud expertise
and offerings.
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Week 7 - 8
Action 3: Develop your existing customer plan
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Week 9
24 |
Week 9: Sales Planning
The success or failure of your cloud business transformation hinges on the ability of
your sales team to identify and close deals. That will mean overhauling your existing
approach to sales and creating a framework that goes beyond project-based solution
selling to incorporate high-volume outreach and demand-generation activities. The
following are specific action steps for building out your sales strategy over the next
two weeks of your cloud business-transformation planning.
Action 1: Decide on a sales approach
Your sales activities, like your marketing plan, can be managed in either of two ways, depending
on your overall strategy, resources, and capabilities: as an integrated cloud practice that dovetails
with the rest of your sales efforts or as a separate initiative led by a team of evangelists within your
organisation. But, if you choose to integrate cloud services and offerings into your overall sales go-tomarket activities, it may be tougher to track deal metrics specific to your cloud business. If you already
manage other lines of your business separately from each other or have clearly-defined practice areas,
managing your cloud sales independent of project-focused sales may be an easier transition. Here are
characteristics and considerations associated with each approach:
Integrated Cloud Practice
•Your team will continue to lead with solutions to business problems. Cloud services will be one
deployment option for solving those problems.
•This approach involves less risk than establishing a separate initiative.
•It assumes that IT infrastructure and applications will be offered in both on-premise and cloud
alternatives.
Separate Cloud Practice
• Your team will lead with the benefits of the cloud model, adopting an evangelist role.
• Cloud operations will have a distinct focus within your company.
•Deal cycles tend to be accelerated, when compared with the process of traditional technologysolutions sales cycles.
•This practice carries more risk but allows your company to get in the game more quickly, because
the team can sidestep legacy processes.
Our discussions with many successful cloud-based solution providers show that they fundamentally
believe establishing a separate business practice or division to handle cloud offerings is imperative to
success. The primary reason is focus! This may not be completely feasible for smaller organisations,
but even those solution providers will find that having some level of dedicated sales staff helps their
organisation stay focused on developing its cloud practice.
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Training the sales team is a critical step in the process, because metrics for success in cloud services
are unique. Topics and issues that must be part of sales training include:
•How to educate prospects about the cloud model specific to your business
•How to communicate with business owners or business-line managers, rather than IT managers
•How to discuss the cost implications of moving to a cloud service model for IT infrastructure,
including the shift from capital expenditures to operational expenses
• Cross-selling and upselling opportunities
•New compensation models and the value of establishing strong renewal business
•New prospecting, qualifying, and closing processes and the inherent cost-of-sales implications
associated with sticking to a strict process
•Deal profitability metrics, including those that allow your sales team to address questions about
on-premise solutions vs. cloud services
Action 3: Develop sales compensation plans
The key to this part of the sales planning process is that sales compensation is meant to motivate
your sales representatives, while ensuring that your organisation still makes money on the deal.
Here are some specific issues to address when building your sales compensation policy:
•When to pay commissions: Because payments for cloud services typically are made over an
extended time during the life of a contract, the schedule guiding commission payments will
likewise need to be adapted. So, compensation might be paid out over a period of time instead
of delivered as a lump sum. An alternate strategy is to pay complete commission on bookings up
front, which requires working capital to float customer receivables.
• Bonuses for cloud services deals: If your sales organisation will be responsible for selling both
cloud services and on-premises solutions, you may need to consider a bonus structure to help
kick-start your cloud sales activities. This will help the team stay focused on cloud opportunities
and provide them with short-term incentives.
•Remember renewals: The recurring revenue-stream that cloud offerings will bring to your
business cannot be overemphasised. Offering annual renewal incentives will help keep customers
engaged and help your organisation maintain prospective retention revenue. Payment policies
for renewals should be set in place at the start of the deal.
•Reward long-term contracts: Cloud services engagements come in various lengths. You may
choose to offer compensation accelerators on contracts that lock in customers for a longer
period of time.
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Week 9
Action 2: Commit and execute on the sales training plan
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26 |
Action 4: Decide on inside sales or telesales investments
A well-trained inside sales staff can help identify and qualify prospects quickly, using predefined
bundles to close deals. They can also help you contain the costs associated with selling cloud
offerings. By using telesales or inside sales representatives, more complex engagements can be
routed more quickly to an outside sales team, which can follow the closing tactics associated
with the traditional solution sales model. Inside sales or telesales may be a new role that your
organisation must create in order to make the cloud business transformation.
Priorities and Resources
• Assess whether an integrated or separate approach is appropriate.
• Build a sales compensation plan that recognises the deal metrics of cloud services.
•Research the viability of establishing inside sales or telesales operations.
•Create well-defined workflows and processes to guide the entire sales cycle—from presales
consulting through the initial close, to the renewals phase.
•Educate the sales team thoroughly.
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
To navigate the cloud business model successfully, your organisation must develop and use
dashboards that accurately reflect your organisation’s ongoing progress. We recommend
spending the final week of your cloud business transformation developing a management
framework and performance dashboards that will keep you on track. Tracking leading indicators,
such as demand-generation activity, new customer acquisition, and a projected pipeline is critical
to gauging your cloud business practice’s health. What’s more, monitoring services utilisation
rates will ensure that target margins are maintained. Metrics around each customer’s potential
lifetime value and around your organisation’s retention rates are vitally important to monitor.
Action 1: Commit to action on your revised business plan
Launching a cloud business practice requires commitment across your organisation. Services personnel need to
embrace a new delivery philosophy. Whereas in the past, they might have been encouraged to bill by the hour,
keeping service calls to a minimum becomes critically important. Sales representatives who have been used to
extensive price negotiations must be taught how to avoid discount scenarios. If you have not already done so,
we suggest appointing a leader for your cloud business practice, someone who will be accountable for keeping
your transformation on track.
Action 2: Develop revised sales and revenue forecasting model
for recurring revenue
Solution providers who have successfully layered a cloud business practice into their organisation or created a
separate entity to sell cloud services are focused on a slightly different set of sales metrics than required for a
traditional technology solutions business. Here are your primary considerations:
•Lead generation: Building a strong pipeline of new customer prospects should be a core focus of your sales
team from the start, since the deal economics associated with a cloud business differ dramatically from
those associated with on-premise solutions.
•Bookings growth: Since revenue will be recognised over time, the bookings that your organisation makes
now will provide the foundation for future sales forecasts.
•Customer lifetime value: The value of customer relationships is measured and calculated over a period of
time. You can calculate the lifetime value of the deal by considering the revenue earned over time, minus the
costs of acquisition, support, and maintenance over the contract lifespan.
•Customer churn and renewal rates: Every solution provider hates customer churn, but it can be even more
disruptive to a cloud business practice. IPED research shows that successful cloud services partner strive for
renewal rates of at least 90 percent, which underscores the need for your organisation’s services-delivery
processes to be rock-solid.
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Week 9
Week 10: Create a Cloud Management Framework
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Week 10
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Action 3: Develop revised marketing and service
delivery metrics
Let’s consider these two items separately. If your organisation hasn’t spent much time on marketing
or monitoring marketing effectiveness in the past, this may be one of the biggest organisational
changes you need to make. IPED’s ongoing research with best-in-class cloud service providers
shows that they spend approximately 8 to 10 percent of revenue on marketing activities for their
cloud offerings. The higher transaction volume of deals necessary to make your cloud business
practice successful demands a keen focus on marketing effectiveness.
Your cloud business practice will benefit from close scrutiny of service metrics. One of the things
that your organisation should monitor most closely is the percentage of engagements that are
based on repeatable, prepackaged offerings, compared with those that require some level of
customisation. Another metric to study closely is the attach rate of follow-on integration or
migration services that go with your prepackaged offerings. You should set goals for each.
Priorities and Resources
•Define sales goals and develop dashboards to monitor pipeline and forecasts closely.
•Set metrics for marketing effectiveness, based on sales expectations. Don’t be afraid to adjust
them on the fly if necessary.
•Set specific goals for the ratio of prepackaged vs. customised services that your services team
will be required to support.
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
Over the past ten weeks, you have created a cloud business transformation framework that
is relevant for your organisation’s unique skills and aspirations. Now it’s time to put your
strategy into action, with the knowledge that you’ll probably need to make adjustments
and changes along the way. As you set your cloud business transformation into motion, we
recommend that you follow and revisit these final recommendations as often as weekly to
make sure you stay on track.
•Evangelise internally: Make sure you appoint a change-oriented leader within your organisation.
•Be patient: Your cloud business transformation will impact your company’s revenue, margins, and cash flow
over the short term. Be prepared to invest and to give your transformation time to blossom.
•Keep close tabs on your operational metrics: Review sales, marketing, compensation, and customerretention metrics often. Investigate surprises, and make adjustments to your original plan if necessary, based
on how things play out in the market.
•Be willing to take marketing risks, but measure campaigns closely: For many solution providers, this will
be one of the toughest operational changes to make. While customer referrals are always a great source of
leads; high-volume, online-centric marketing campaigns are required for a successful cloud business practice.
•Commit to your sales processes: Pay attention to and discourage behavior within your sales team that could
negatively affect margins, especially price discounts. Encourage faster deal closes and investigate sticking
points that might arise. You may need to consider different sales resources to handle volume sales.
•Be willing to evolve with market needs: Use your ongoing analysis of service metrics to determine which
offerings are working and which are missing the mark. Encourage your team to identify new prepackaged
services opportunities that might have been overlooked in your original planning.
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Week 10
Week 11 and Beyond: Evangelise, Act and Adjust
29
Week 11
30 |
Resources and Education Materials
The cloud business model is evolving daily, but there are a number of channel-focused resources
that are particularly relevant for solution providers embarking on their cloud business-development
journey. The list below highlights publicly-available materials from CompTIA; Everything Channel’s
IPED Channel Research, Consulting, and Education division; and several technology vendors that
are pioneering cloud channel programmes for their business partners.
CompTIA white paper: Cloud Computing Business Models for the Channel
http://www.comptia.org/cloud
CompTIA white paper: Outlining Cloud Computing for the Channel
http://www.comptia.org/cloud
IPED cloud white paper: “Can You See Through the Clouds?”
http://i.cmpnet.com/iped/pdf/CanYouSee.pdf
IPED “The Health of the Channel”
http://i.cmpnet.com/iped/pdf/eBook_Health_of_the_Channel_merged.pdf
Ongoing cloud news for solution providers
http://www.crn.com/news/cloud
Microsoft white paper on the economics of the cloud
http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/cloud/docs/The-Economics-of-the-Cloud.pdf
General education on the cloud (sponsored by RackSpace)
http://www.rackspace.com/cloud/cloudU
Visit the following site for the latest information on cloud partner programmes:
http://www.crn.com/news/cloud/cloud-channel-programmes/index.htm
www.comptia.org/communities
www.comptia.org/communities
CompTIA Cloud Business Development Guide
A 10-Week Plan for Shaping Your Cloud Services Strategy
About CompTIA
CompTIA is the voice of the world’s information technology (IT ) industry.
As a non-profit trade association advancing the global interests of IT professionals and companies, we focus
our programs on four main areas: education, certification, advocacy and philanthropy. We:
• Educate the IT channel: Our educational resources, comprising online guides, webinars, market research,
business mentoring, open forums and networking events, help our members grow their businesses and
become the “best in class”.
•C
ertify the IT workforce: We are the leading provider of technology-neutral and vendor-neutral IT
certifications.
•A
dvocate on behalf of the IT industry: We bring the power of small- and medium-sized IT businesses
together as a united voice.
•G
ive back through philanthropy: In addition to our foundation enabling disadvantaged populations to gain
the skills they need for employment in the IT industry, CompTIA provides support to IT-based charities
choosen by the membership.
Our vision of the IT landscape is shaped by more than 25 years of global perspective and more than 2,000
members and 1,000 business partners. We are driven by our members and led by an elected board of industry
professionals.
All proceeds are directly reinvested in programs that benefit our valued members and the industry as a whole.
Headquartered outside of Chicago, we have offices across the United States and in Australia, Canada, China,
Germany, India, Japan, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
About the UK Channel Community
CompTIA communities are the building blocks of the Association’s industry- focused activities. Each group
engages a group of like-minded thought leaders in a particular technology, market or business segment.
Community members discuss and develop initiatives from hot topics, trends, and industry requirements that
are then managed with the resources and backing of CompTIA, to ultimately help them grow their business.
The CompTIA UK Channel Community was formed in early 2011 following the acquisition of Technology
Channels Association (TCA). The community was formed in an effort to provide a platform for resellers,
distributors, and vendors to focus on developing best practices, business education and resources for
companies engaged in the delivery of IT services in the UK.
The UK Channel Community meets face-to-face four times a year, and monthly conference calls keep the
members up-to-date in between meetings. The group also communicates with each other through the LinkedIn
forum. Non-members are also welcome to participate in the online forum, access a selection of free CompTIA
education and attend events without having the right to vote. CompTIA members have full access to everything
including our online forums, education, certifications/credentials and events in which they have full voting
rights. For more information about the CompTIA UK Channel Community or to get involved in our community’s
activities, please contact [email protected]
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marks of CompTIA Properties, LLC or of their respective owners. Reproduction or dissemination prohibited without written consent of CompTIA Properties, LLC. Printed in the UK. July 2011 2923-UK
www.comptia.org/communities