As the saying goes, “there’s a time and a place for everything.” Fortunately, the time for the cloud is now, and the place is virtually everywhere (no pun intended) since most businesses have already sampled if not fully embraced web-based service delivery platforms. A recent CompTIA report found that nearly half of all companies reported that a significant portion (31% or more) of their IT systems are in the cloud at this time ̶ and the future adoption trends look quite strong.
As with any evolution in business or technology revolution, a certain portion of the community will hold out as long as possible. Change is disruptive. Innovation and transformation often require organizations to make certain investments and almost always force management teams to shift from their status quo.
Cloud is one of those disruptors. Fortunately, as the growing number of companies utilizing those platforms can attest, the positive outcomes make it worthwhile for executives to invest the time and money and endure the stress of these virtual transformations. The efficiencies and mobility of cloud services allow organizations to remain competitive in the marketplace ‒ and the hiring process.
Flexibility in the workplace is essential today. One of the main advantages of the cloud is the ability to extend business-critical system access to those located outside an organization’s firewalls, including email and CRM applications and other work-related tools. Most organizations couldn’t function without those mobile capabilities today.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your stance, there are relatively few “cloud-free” operations left. Vendors have responded to the declining interest in traditional software by offering fewer if any non-virtual options. That development is forcing some “cloud adverse” companies to rethink their objections.
The challenge for MSPs is uncovering the other reasons why their clients are unwilling to make the digital transition. Over the past few years, that list of objections has narrowed considerably and includes the following:
What’s your clients’ perception of cloud services? Do the decision makers believe the benefits of these platforms outweigh the investments required to upgrade? Pushback usually comes down to two factors:
- Legacy costs. Many companies won’t make the cloud switch until their existing infrastructure investments have been fully realized. Of course, one of an MSP’s largest challenges is making digital conversions cost-effective for their clients while maintaining a healthy margin for the services they’ll deliver. A successful conversion will rely heavily on the strength of their network and underlying infrastructure, and the price of any necessary improvements must be factored into the quote. Legacy costs are a legitimate objection, so MSPs must sell on the unique benefits of making a cloud transformation for each client.
- Long-term cost perceptions. Over time, cloud investments may seem costly compared to traditional software acquisitions. On the surface, projecting recurring payments over three to five years, traditional software purchases may look to offer greater value for your business customers than web-based solutions. Some fail to account for the equipment required to run onsite applications as well as costs for support services such as periodic updates and system patches. Most, if not all those expenses are covered in monthly cloud services fees.
While we live (and work) in a service-heavy technology environment, a dwindling community of business owners hold tightly to the old “must own it” mentality when it comes to their IT systems. A common misconception is that purchasing and downloading physical software packages gives companies more control than web-based applications.
The problem with that line of thinking is the traditional “one-time” purchase mindset is a fallacy for growing businesses. For example, most new hires require their own set of applications, which someone will have to procure, install, and support. When companies downsize, those licenses may sit dormant and become a sunk cost. In those cases, cloud services actually give organizations greater control over their application investments.
Several of the more risk-averse industries have been slow to adopt virtual technologies, including financial and medical organizations, though even those with seemingly well-founded objections appear to be jumping on the cloud bandwagon. In a recent Gartner survey, 36% of financial executives expect the cloud to support more than half of their transactional systems by 2020. Advanced security measures and increased demand for business efficiency improvements are likely behind that change in mindset.
Time is eliminating many of the obstacles the “cloud holdouts” used as objections in the past. MSPs have more opportunities than ever to chip away at the remaining resistance. The value proposition of these virtual technologies continues to strengthen, and channel professionals are in a prime position to help SMBs make a smooth transition.