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Finding your niche in the Cloud

Posted by Nidhi Savla

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  Dec 3, 2017 11:27:54 AM

There was once a time when every business had to build their own IT services. From email to document sharing, if you wanted it, you built it yourself. From an industry perspective, this lead to massive inefficiencies, duplicated effort and wasted person-hours. But not too long ago, cloud services swooped in to save us.how-to-become-a-best-in-class-cloud-provider-ingram-cloud-summit-2016-20-638-1.jpg

By offering powerful IT resources without significant infrastructure investment, clouservices empowered companies. Gone were the days when file sharing services or email needed to be built from the ground up, with expensive hardware and on-call maintenance staff to build, update and oversee. Instead, companies can just pay a monthly fee and let someone else take care of all the headaches.

Thanks to this flexibility, managed cloud services have become booming business in the modern world. Cloud services in the Middle East have grown dramatically as companies and vendors rush to get on board. In a recent study, industry think tank Gartner found that public cloud services in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region will reach $1.2 billion in 2017. That amounts to a whopping 22 percent increase from 2016’s numbers in the MENA region alone.

Why are cloud services growing so quickly in the MENA region? Part of it has to do with booming business in the region. As this part of the world has grown, more companies are being established, growing and doing business on an international level. This leads to greater technological investment and capacity. And with businesses especially aware of the MENA region’s unique risks, cloud services like disaster-recovery- as-a- service (DRaaS) and backup solutions are becoming extremely popular managed cloud services.

But cloud services in the MENA region are also growing for the same reason that they’re growing around the world. Managed cloud services are convenient, affordable and powerful, helping businesses expand their IT capability without significantly expanding their own IT department. There are an excellent solution to the problem every growing business has: providing IT services at scale while still keeping costs under control and avoiding over-committing to certain growth targets.

As an independent vendor, you can benefit massively from this growth in cloud services. By selling a white-labelled managed cloud service, you can help business find cloud service solutions that work for them. When you sell white-labelled services, you’re providing your own branding on top of another company’s services. You don’t need to own your own servers, infrastructure or staff: instead, you can sell the product of another company, setting a price above your own costs to bring in profit. It’s like working as a salesman, but you determine your own commission.

But before you can start selling cloud services successfully, you need to find your niche. You need to determine the market that you’ll specialize in, understanding their business needs based on their industry standards and pitching your cloud services accordingly.

Let’s take healthcare as an example. The healthcare industry labors under the burden of significant government regulation, and with good reason: they manage huge amounts of highly sensitive (and highly personal) data about millions of individuals. This means that healthcare clients have specific needs for their healthcare cloud services. Healthcare clients require secure networks that meet specified government standards, all of which vary from country to country and even within the industry. Hospitals, for example, might have state-level policies that affect on their
records, while small clinics might be free of such concerns. This will affect the healthcare cloud
services you offer, and change what benefits your client the most.

How can you know what’s up? It’s your job to find out. You’ll need to talk to people working in your target industry today. Research extensively to learn how “things are done” in that corner of the world. Become intimately familiar with the regulations, policies and standards that affect the storage of digital information. You’ll pick up a lot of knowledge and jargon along the way, and you’ll start to see where the industry could stand to improve their IT services, and how your cloud services can help. Become a legitimate expert on this specialized constellation of information to offer relevant, helpful services to your clients and to convince them that your services are what they need most.

You can also grow an existing technology business by adding cloud services to your menu of options. By white-labelling services, you can begin extending your existing offerings to the cloud. If you offer IT services as a consultant, for example, you can start also selling backup systems to your clients. Since you’re already intimately familiar with their businesses, you know the types of systems your clients need, and what they could benefit the most from.

By working within your current niche, you can add cloud services to your product line without changing your business. Stick with what you’re good at, like disaster recovery, backup or infrastructure, and expand your current suite of options by adding a level of cloud services. This can exist in the background, or it can be a major part of your business. You decide how invested you want to become. And since you don’t need to commit to purchasing infrastructure, you can start and stop selling services at your discretion.

If you’re uncertain in the beginning, the scalable nature of the cloud will help you commit at a level that’s comfortable for you. Hesitant resellers can start small, selling one or two cloud options alongside their existing product line. As they become comfortable with the product, they can then can gradually expand their menu of options. This simplifies the transition to the cloud for salesmen, tech support and staff, building organizational expertise at a gradual pace without totally overwhelming your team. A gradual increase means you can grow the business at a comfortable
pace, responding to client interest and sales capacity.

Whether you’re finding a new niche or sticking with your existing clientele, cloud services are all about finding what works best for you. By working within an industry that you’re an expert in, you can leverage your expertise to help clients find services that will benefit them the most. For new resellers, you can work your way into a booming industry, while existing resellers can expand their products to embrace the future of IT. But regardless of your current situation, you need to find your niche to get the greatest benefit from selling cloud services.

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Topics: CISCO powered cloud, Cloud Services