Among many Partners, I sense a growing urgency to capitalize on the Cloud opportunity; a sense that there is now no time to lose.
And indeed, even as you read this, key strategic positions are being occupied in the Cloud which will be easier to defend than later take. Your future business prosperity, if not survival, rests on not coming late to the Cloud party.
In short, the Cloud window of opportunity is open, but indications are it is closing fast.
Coupled with this sense of urgency, Partners feel anxiety around all the implications of the different business model required for success in the Cloud. Get a critical element wrong, and the enterprise could be at risk.
Fortunately, there is a blueprint for Cloud success developing, based on the experience of early movers. In my work, I’ve found the key elements of this blueprint are:
- Identify your addressable market. Focus in the Cloud is crucial, as customers demand integrated, industry-specific solutions. Leveraging your historical base is important, but for most Partners, a greater level of industry or functional concentration will be needed. One that, obviously, will be profitable.
- Know who you’ll compete with. And what makes you unique. No worthwhile market will remain uncontested for long. To win a solid market share, and keep it, you must be able to differentiate yourself.
- Build a compelling offering. Typically, this will involve multiple elements. Project services will remain important, but to build vital recurring revenue streams you’ll also need ongoing support offerings, as well as in many cases, your own intellectual property.
- Build strong and effective marketing muscle. In the digital age, you must be found online to even be considered by a prospect. Not all prospects will buy immediately, of course, so you also need to be able to cost-effectively nurture them.
- Adopt a Cloud-specific sales motion. Today’s buyer is well-informed, and wants to be in control. This demands a different approach, different compensation structures, and often different salespeople. And depending on deal size, much or all of selling will be remote.
- Dial in your delivery equation. Repeatability, predictability, and cost-efficiency are the new watchwords. Whether for initial implementations, or ongoing support.
- Possess a financial plan that creates shareholder value. Valuation metrics have changed significantly since the advent of the Cloud. Traditional businesses are dropping in value, as those comprised of high-margin recurring revenue streams are rising. In the short term, some P&L degradation is to be expected as you transition your business model. But you must have a clear picture of how you will create shareholder value, for yourself but also for those who may provide the capital you need to fully exploit the Cloud opportunity.
- Manage the journey. It’s said that if strategy is king, execution is god. A solid management team with Cloud-specific dashboards are always needed to drive the desired results.
There can be no more debate about it – the Cloud opportunity is here and the time for focussed action is now.
To win, following the above blueprint will be required, for sure. But I believe it’s also important to play “the long game”.
More on that in the next blog …