Differentiate or Dwindle: 3 Steps For Service Providers to Stand Out in the Crowd

Adopting cloud services is no longer a speculative if, but now a matter of when, which use cases, which business units and to which clouds or service providers. In fact, the RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report showed that 95% of respondents reported using some type of cloud. So why are some providers capturing more of this opportunity than others? Let’s look at three ways to ensure that your cloud business is set up for growth and leadership in 2016 and beyond.

Address the top concerns and inhibitors head on Despite the growth, customers still have obstacles to overcome and the service provider can play a key role in overcoming them. In the RightScale report, lack of resources/expertise (32%) and security (29%) ranked at the top of the list, followed by compliance, managing multiple cloud services and managing costs all tied for third at 26%. Yes this means work and costs for service provides—more services, infrastructure, staff and compliance certifications, but this also means upside and opportunity. To uniquely position yourself against the competition, bring security and compliance to the forefront of your brand and services, articulate how you lower time, costs and complexity associated with onboarding and securing workloads and simplify cloud management.

To take it one-step further, make sure you are positioning the business value, not just the technical value. Deliver the services that customers want Is it any wonder that almost every infrastructure provider, managed service provider or traditional hoster has cloud worked into their portfolio? But are these the cloud services that customers really want? Some of the fastest growing hosted services fall outside of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and server virtualization realm. For example, cloud storage is expected to grow from $18.87 billion in 2015 to $65.41 billion by 2020 in the US at a 28.2% CAGR according to Markets and Markets. Equally desirable are end-user facing services including hosted applications, Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) and hosted Mobile Device Management (MDM) services. The 2015 Desktops-as-a-Service global market trends report from Citrix showed that 49% of Citrix Service Provider partners are planning to add DaaS, 34% MDM and 29% File share and sync in 2016 in order to grow their business.

Service providers should adopt a “skate to the puck” mentality, looking closely at their customers’ needs today and where they will be a year from now to preemptively meet demand with new services that play to their existing strengths. In the Citrix report, Eric Simmons, Sr. Director, Enterprise Wireless Solutions at Rogers reinforces this by saying, “By providing our customers with a hosted MDM solution, we are able to address our customers’ demands for secure mobile device management with a solution that is a natural extension to our hosted services portfolio.” Know what makes you different In this highly competitive and growing market, service providers need to stand out in the crowd in order to differentiate, attract and retain new customers and avoid commoditization. So what makes you different? The niche verticals you specialize in?

The highly trained staff of front-line support and engineers (think Rackspace Fanatical Support)? Or perhaps the new set of services you are launching. Whatever the case, develop differentiated messaging and brand positions that tells the world why you are different and how you are solving top of mind concerns and demands. As you do so, train the entire organization on how to articulate your unique story and most importantly, develop a plan for evangelizing your story in order to raise awareness, drive demand and ultimately increase revenue. Ok, but now what? If you haven’t figured it out by now, the brand, messaging and marketing strategy are critical ingredients on the path to success. Is your marketing team up to the task? Is your marketing strategy performing as well as you would like? Contact me to see how the service provider and hosting industry experts at Merit Mile can help differentiate and accelerate your business. Scott Lindars Director of Technology Markets | Merit Mile slindars@meritmile.com (954)-554-7546