It was an honour to have been invited to take part in the panel discussion, Three Partners Delivering Big Transformation in Small Business at Digital Transformation @ Work – Microsoft’s annual Cloud and Hosting Summit.
I was delighted to share a platform with Oliver Herzig, Global VP Product Marketing of Sage and Harry Nicolaidis, VP Product Management at Melbourne IT, with the focus of the session on how hosting and cloud service providers can help SMBs transform and grow their business through evolving portfolios in partnership with Microsoft.
SMBs demand modern solutions and for them digital transformation is real and happening now. They see cloud as offering more affordable solutions, with a stronger breadth of features, and the ability to scale to meet individual need.
We’ve been delivering cloud services for over 20 years through our umbrella company Cobweb, and understand that customers want to solve business problems when buying an IT solution – and as the world increasingly moves to evergreen cloud services that we must continually help customers get the most from those services. Here, ongoing support and end-user education are essential elements so that customers can utilise all the features of the solutions they’ve purchased – and as such, it’s vital to start with the problem that the customer is trying to solve, in the language of the customer.
An example of focusing on helping SMBs solve problems is around eSignatures. Every SMB has processes in their business where documents need to be signed, whether it’s customers signing order forms or providing approval for purchase orders. We recently partnered with DocuSign, as the first third party ISV solution available through CSP. To sign a document typically costs over £30 and can take days. A reseller can show customers real, tangible cost savings by moving to Office 365 and Dynamics 365 with DocuSign integrated into the solution – real process improvements and immediate business impact.
In effect, we’ve brought together two industry leaders with their respective cloud offerings and made them relevant and a must have for all SMBs.
Another huge area within which resellers should be looking to engage is with Skype for Business. Skype for Business, particularly with the new PBX & PSTN telephony capabilities, provides opportunity to help customers reduce costs across their business. Using a focus on ‘Modern Meetings’ can create an easy scenario for customers to understand, as many can be paying far more for existing standalone conferencing solutions.
For the small business owner, it’s all about growing and improving their business and operations, and driving customer lifetime value is a key success criteria for all cloud service businesses. At Vuzion we’re packaging the experience we’ve gained over our 20 years in the cloud to help IT resellers make the transition to the cloud – whether it’s through improving operational efficiency for billing and support or providing proven marketing materials.
Microsoft’s Cloud and Hosting Summit 2017 has been a wonderful opportunity to hear the discussions around Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program and plans for the roadmap, as well as to meet and network with other like-minded partners. It’s been an extremely interesting and informative few days.