This article originally appeared in the Dec. 2011 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY.
Everyone is talking the cloud. Carriers are looking at cloud to increase both margins and stickiness. Telco, TDM, T1 are commodities with razor-thin margins. Cell, TV, broadband, and voice are flat or declining. Layer 7 is the only way to gain revenue.
Managed services will be big because the technology is outpacing skills in the marketplace at a time when many businesses can't afford to add staff or pay for highly specialized skills.
Outsourcing WAN and LAN monitoring and security as well as data storage to a vendor seems like a sensible business move.
Supporting smartphones, tablets, laptops, servers, security, e-mail, telephony, business apps, data storage, the LAN, WLAN, the website and more is turning IT staffers into firefighters, who do not get the opportunity to work on improvement projects or CIO performance metrics as they are bogged down with too many support tasks.
The Internet is so pervasive in the business environment that everyone should be looking at cloud services for a number of reasons: mobility, productivity, and ease of use. As an agent, pay attention to what your customers are saying. PCI (News - Alert), capex, technology woes, IT pain, security or compliance issues are just some of the signs that indicate a conversation about the cloud (or managed services) is warranted.Have a few open-ended questions ready. As an agent, you don’t have to be a software and network guru, but if you want to remain as the trusted advisor, you need to ask appropriate questions that will demonstrate that you know what to look for and you have a partner in the space.
As you garner customer success stories, these conversations will be even easier to have, since stories sell. (That’s why case studies are so popular – companies can learn what other companies did, and what worked. What didn’t work and why are just as important.)Be prepared to answer some questions about the cloud from prospects and customers. The buzz is just too fierce, and they already have experience with cloud via websites, e-mail, payroll, CRM and more.
If you appear unprepared to talk about the cloud, your clients will find someone else to have that conversation with.
Peter Radizeski is head of telecom consulting agency RAD-INFO (News - Alert) Inc. (http://rad-info.net/).
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi