It’s no secret that the window for managed IT services is closing, while the window for cloud-based IT is rapidly opening. COVID-19 has catalyzed much of that change; however, it’s merely accelerated the changes that we’ve all known were coming for years.
About 50% of office technology dealers have introduced managed IT services into their services portfolio; however, only a few are bringing their customers into Microsoft’s Azure Cloud. Yet, the demand for Azure from SMBs has skyrocketed and it’s time for OE dealers to take advantage of this surging opportunity. On-premise servers are quickly going the way of the dinosaur.
An open, flexible cloud-computing platform presents the perfect transition point for dealers to make a dramatic shift to transform their businesses and future while substantially building their recurring revenue. Here are four reasons why:
Your customers need remote solutions to support their remote workspaces. The strict mandates put in place due to COVID-19 have gotten most business owners to reassess their infrastructure. This means they’re being forced to change how they do business. Cloud solutions are the perfect way to help customers lay the foundation for a new infrastructure, not to mention it provides opportunity for upsells and cross-sells on other technology solutions that you provide.
If your customer has 30 employees, they now need equipment for one main office and 30 smaller satellite offices. One of the biggest concerns your customer has right now is, “How do I support all of our employees with the tools they need in this new remote environment?” Obviously, they will need printer/copier solutions in each location, but more importantly, they’ll need a cloud platform to help them function more efficiently and effectively across multiple locations. Cloud solutions like Azure are perfect for satisfying this new demand that will drive collaboration.
Your customer has an increased need for cybersecurity. Cybersecurity has not only become a necessity, it’s become a massive liability for many business owners. Research by security ratings firm BitSight reports that in today’s COVID-19 world, 45% of home offices are already infected with malware. If a company loses customer data, by law they must notify customers of their mistakes, and it has become a much higher priority than ever before. Businesses are transitioning to Azure precisely because it’s the market leader in cloud security with, according to Microsoft, 95% of the Fortune 500 using it, and its superior cybersecurity features make it an ideal solution.
Your customer is tired of replacing their outdated servers with large capital expenditures. One of the primary benefits of Azure is that it follows a “pay only for what you use,” model of server purchase. Imagine going to your customer and pitching them with a fully cost-justified, or in some cases, cost-reduced solution, while simultaneously providing them with servers that are continually monitored, updated, enhanced and don’t go obsolete like the ones sitting in their empty offices. This is another powerful opportunity to display business expertise and for your customer to start viewing you as a business visionary.
If your customer has even three out of the four needs described above, they will likely be hiring someone to help them transition to the cloud and will likely be paying someone to accomplish this.
Here’s how you can capitalize on this opportunity and use Azure to expand your recurring revenues, immediately.
Qualify your technical staff. You need to make sure that you have the right technical staff on board. If you have the right techs, all you need to do is get them trained and certified.
Price it profitably. The point of expanding your services portfolio to include any new offering is, ultimately, to increase your bottom-line. This requires an in-depth understanding of the delivery costs associated to successful implementation.
Decide how to market and sell it. It’s important to adopt a proven sales process that outlines each step with the customer. Furthermore, your marketing should demonstrate your expertise in Azure. OE dealers should leverage their fantastic relationships with their massive customer bases and rifle into specific accounts.
Decide how to deploy it with customers. Rolling anything out to customers requires a global approach, but the best part about Azure is that it’s a cloud service. This means that implementation can almost entirely be conducted virtually, which is ideal for our new cloud-based economy.
This is an exciting time for office technology dealers to diversify their product portfolio. Sales of Azure have catapulted since the pandemic in both rural markets and big cities, and from 10 employee transactions to over 200. Change creates opportunity … it all depends on how you look it at and whether you get in the game or watch it from the sidelines. Act today and you will be rewarded for your efforts.
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