By Cameron Burke, Senior Vice President, Cirius Messaging Inc.
Staying relevant in today’s competitive cloud landscape requires a new level of flexibility, ingenuity, and integration to other cloud products and services. Top of mind for many service providers are security enhancements and add-ons, such as secure messaging and productivity tools, which are becoming a necessity for every business. Key to the adoption of these tools is choosing products that add the most business value, are easy to use, and increase productivity and collaboration.
When it comes to ISVs looking to enhance and position their solutions – and for service providers who want to identify the best add-ons for their anchor products – the following four elements should be top of mind: automation, enablement, integration, and bundling.
In a low-margin and high-volume landscape, automated provisioning, billing, and maintenance is king. The easier it is to enable a solution, the more rapidly and effectively the channel can sell it. Parallels APS integration is a good example of how automation applies. A certified APS package gives ISV’s immediate access to hundreds of potential new partners and international marketplaces. Automation features such as bulk provisioning, agile jurisdiction of cloud deployments, and multi-tier reseller distribution are crucial to establishing winning relationships with partners. Building a service with automation enabled at the forefront is often the difference between success and failure in a distribution channel.
The effectiveness of the ISV’s enablement and onboarding program is paramount to empowering resellers and the basis for a fruitful strategic partnership. Vendors who offer a dedicated partner support package of training, coaching, lead generation, and sales incentives make their products much more attractive and easier to sell. From an end-customer standpoint, the first thirty days of a trial are crucial to a solution’s “stickiness factor” so ISVs need to provide the up-front support that will best arm their service providers for success with their customers.
End users are already frequently overwhelmed with technology and will often push back when presented with new applications no matter how appealing they look. Seamless integration into products that businesses are already using like Office365, Outlook, and SharePoint help to enhance the end-user experience and encourage adoption.
Solution selling can enable cloud service providers to deliver targeted bundles of complementary products that add value, margin, and increase the stickiness of their service. Adding email archiving and secure messaging to Office365, for example, creates a security bundle that addresses the growing concerns businesses have about cyber-security, data privacy, and protection.
Additionally, Parallels APS ensures applications work together and can be sold together. These solutions differentiate the basic email offerings from the premium ones. They also create a more dynamic marketplace for resellers and a “one-stop-shop” experience for end customers.
While there is no perfect recipe for success, ISVs who address the elements outlined above put themselves and their partners in the best position from the starting gate. And for ISVs looking to make the most of a cloud marketplace, delivering on these elements will go a long way toward differentiating their services and driving ongoing success.
Cameron Burke is the senior vice president of business development at Cirius. He has global responsibility for channel partnerships, technology and platform alliances, and corporate development initiatives. Cameron is passionate about the channel, security, and building Cirius alongside strategic partners. For more information visit: www.cirius.com.