Help your customers take the steps to achieve business goals

The digital economy will make up a quarter of the world’s entire economy by 2020. For this reason, digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword; it’s one of the necessary steps we must embrace to help your customers achieve business goals...

However, nine in ten digital transformation projects end in failure. Why? Because many small businesses don’t have the agility, support or resources to make them work. Of the projects that do succeed, a cloud-first mentality is at the heart of every change. So, what can you do to support your customers on their digital transformation journey?

A modern business needs a modern approach to IT – one that aligns with its business goals. Understanding exactly what a digital transformation is and how you can facilitate it is a great place to start.

Where is digital transformation taking us?

To define digital transformation, you first need to identify the desired business outcomes of each individual company. Why do they need to adapt? What’s driving them to make that change? Business pressures inform IT budgets and vice versa, so you need to offer a service that meets those demands.

In the modern workplace, there are many factors causing businesses to rethink their customer and business models:

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and flexible working:

Almost three-quarters of businesses support BYOD for flexible working; yet only 39 percent have a formal BYOD policy in place. The next generation of employees will be tech-ready, digital natives, looking for workplaces that push the boundaries with their technology investments.

Enhanced customer experience:

40 percent of companies say enhanced customer experience is the main driver behind their digital transformation. In today’s market, customers expect personalised services in real-time.

Data-driven decision making:

Data is in vogue and data-driven insights are the primary way for businesses to make the most of that trend. As a result, big data is expected to create an additional 115,000 new jobs in the UK by 2020.

Stronger security and compliance:

During the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks, 33 percent of businesses reported downtime of more than a month. Investment in new cybersecurity strategies is critical to maintaining a secure and productive workspace.

You’d have a tough time arguing that digital transformation isn’t critical to all these processes, especially in industries such as financial services where digital disruption is rife and extinction is a very real worry for many firms.

To help you empower your customers, we’ve broken down the digital journey into three key steps:

Embracing the cloud-first model

Optimising IT efficiency and managing complexity

Providing value-added services

These are the main areas where MSPs should be flexing their muscles. Your experience in these practices can offer real value to your customers, especially if you specialise in a particular vertical.

Embracing the cloud-first model

By 2020, a ‘no-cloud policy’ will be as rare as a ‘no-internet’ policy today, says Gartner. If you’re not integrating the cloud into your solutions, you’re already behind the curve.

SMBs are now running 83 percent of their workloads in the cloud (both public and private), as mission-critical processes undergo digitisation. It’s a trend that’s set to continue in the next few years, with cloud computing streamlining operational IT management. As a trusted technology provider, it’s your job to ease the transition from legacy infrastructure to a cloud-first model.

The three key principles of cloud integration

Simply reselling cloud services isn’t a unique differentiator. You want to be the oracle of support for your customers from start to finish. To achieve this, focus on three key practices:

Cloud assessment

Work out whether your customer is ready for cloud transformation. This will help you offer the right services for their specific business needs and will also make the job ofmigrating their infrastructure far less complex.

Cloud enablement

The next step is making the cloud a reality. Think about the types of service wrappers you can offer to ensure their cloud environment matches their digital transformation vision.

Cloud operations

Once you’ve laid the plumbing, you’ll be able to offer more traditional IT services. While the cloud streamlines business processes, it still needs monitoring and maintaining, with business outcomes the key metric for a project’s success.

Mastering all three steps will help demonstrate your value as a modern MSP and positions you as a pioneer of digital transformation.

Optimising IT efficiency and managing complexity

More than 80 percent of businesses are at risk of data breaches because of organisational and IT complexities. And, with digital transformation gifting new capabilities to SMBs, the need for a centralised, out-of-the-box solution is growing.

Companies need a helping hand to ensure that new technology is integrated correctly. Maintaining and scaling legacy infrastructure is no longer a viable option, with cloud platforms offering affordable elasticity in minutes rather than days.

The benefits of centralised cloud

The main problem with modern IT is distribution and transparency. As employees spend more time working away from the office and customers swap brick-and-mortar consultation for self-service applications, it’s becoming more difficult to keep tabs on data centre activity.

Businesses need a centralised approach to IT management and, for this reason, are turning to MSPs for support. To offer the right guidance, you first need to understand how the latest cloud innovations are reducing IT complexity:

Consolidating systems

Most companies are running data centres that are too complex to manage effectively, with legacy software and outdated hardware designs becoming more and more difficult to support. In the cloud, they have the opportunity to consolidate and right-size these systems, auditing and managing them from one central location.

Eliminating shadow IT

Unauthorised software downloads are the bane of an IT manager’s existence. However, companies fear stifling employee productivity. To strike the right balance, the right cloud service can offer integrated Identity Access Management (IAM) to restrict privileges, ensure employees are only accessing certified SaaS tools, and enable MSPs to monitor user activity.

Easing distribution concerns

For many businesses, their data and applications are spread across multiple sites. Not only does this cause issues with latency and accessibility, it tends to lead to negotiations with a variety of vendors and partners. An MSP can use centralised cloud controls to keep the IT lights on, while the company focuses on business-critical projects.

Providing value-added services

While cheaper infrastructure still holds some appeal, SMBs are quickly realising that to remain competitive they need more than just the minimum viable solution. Today, 62 percent of cloud infrastructure spending comes bundled with value-added services.

A modern MSP must deliver more value to their customers through their services and expertise. Ideally, you need to offer a holistic approach to technology integration, specialising in one vertical or functional process (i.e. financial services or marketing campaign management).

Best practices for adding value

The best MSPs focus on core business outcomes and customer ROI. You can do this in a number of ways, but there are few key practices you should keep in mind:

Improve service delivery

User experience remains an essential component of digital transformation. Finding innovative ways to empower end-users will help your customers deliver a better service. Think carefully about the architecture of client-facing applications and how this can lead to a quicker time to market.

Increase staff productivity

A company is only as fast as its slowest cog. Helping your customers implement new technology such as SaaS and virtual desktops will allow employees to access secure workspaces without sacrificing productivity.

Analyse business performance

Monitoring system performance is one thing, but knowing how it affects business revenue is what sets modern MSPs apart. Business Intelligence (BI) will become a strategic part of business reporting in the next few years, so it’s worth staying ahead of the curve.

Automate processes

One of the main advantages of cloud computing is the ability to scale compute, storage, and network on-demand. Automating these processes makes life even easier for busy businesses, reducing the time needed to provision new infrastructure. As an MSP, you need to know how to build, deploy, and manage these automations on your customers’ behalf.

Backing the right cloud provider

The cloud market is expected to reach £188 billion by the end of 2017, with Microsoft Azure continuing to show the fastest growth. Much of Microsoft’s recent success is down to its commitment to empowering both businesses and customers through its technology. As more companies begin their digital journey, Azure offers a number of benefits that set it apart from other cloud service providers...

Hybrid compatibility

Microsoft’s Azure stack brings the power of the public cloud to on-premises datacentres, creating a unified environment across both platforms.

Comprehensive services

Azure boasts a huge range of services from AI and machine learning to data warehousing and IoT analytics.

License mobility

You can bring your own licences to Azure to avoid duplicating licences both on-premise and in the cloud.

Easy integration

Windows development tools such as SQL database and Active Directory integrate seamlessly with cloud services like Office 365 and Azure SQL.

Backing the right cloud provider will ultimately decide the fate of your business and again comes down to what works best for the particular industry or process you’re supporting.

Working with an Indirect Partner

Working with an Indirect Partner can accelerate your time to market and makes it easier to get your customers up and running in the cloud. At intY, we offer technical support, dedicated cloud sales specialists, and all the resources and materials you need to create your own white label solutions.

To find out more, contact us today for a free review of your current structure and services and discover the best route to the Azure cloud.

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