When Bigger isn’t Always Better: Smaller Service Providers vs. the Big Four

Is bigger always better? 

According to a new study from Synergy Research Group, the “Big Four” cloud service providers – Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, IBM, and Google – have a combined international market share of 54%, and this share has grown for the second consecutive year. 

Some have claimed this is good news for the Big Four and not-so-good news for everyone else. 

We have a different perspective. 

While the strength of the Big Four is undeniable and important to acknowledge, we believe this is only part of the story. It’s definitely not the whole story. 

Yes, the Big Four are powerful. However, this doesn’t mean there is an equally sizable lack of opportunities for smaller cloud service providers – it only means that those opportunities might not be as obvious. 

For example, small and medium-size service providers can bring a unique set of benefits to their customers. They often deeply understand their end users and have the potential to build stronger relationships than their larger counterparts. By providing more customized value-added services, these small service providers can fit a significant need that might otherwise go unfulfilled by a less flexible and larger company. 

Small and medium service providers also tend to have a historical relationship with their customers, which makes them well-suited to serve as a trusted advisor when their customers evolve and migrate more services to the cloud.

One way that small and medium service providers can provide the best of both worlds – i.e., providing their own customized value-added services along with cloud infrastructure services managed by larger providers – is through the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program

With the CSP program, Microsoft enables partners to own their customer lifecycles from end to end, and deliver Microsoft cloud services along with the partner’s own value-added services. 

Odin helps partners accelerate their participation in the CSP program by automating the entire customer lifecycle management process including provisioning, billing, and customer management. Our partners also gain access to more than 500 applications within our APS catalog and can bundle these with Microsoft cloud solutions. 

Small and medium service providers already know their customers best. When merging this knowledge with Odin Service Automation, CSP partners are uniquely equipped to create services bundles that are a perfect fit – whether that’s by offering Microsoft cloud solutions (such as Office 365, EMS, and Dynamics CRM Online), their own existing anchor services, or a mix of both.  

Many service providers are proving that you don’t need to be part of the Big Four to be successful. For example, hosted exchange provider Cobweb has grown its international business by using Odin Service Automation and the Microsoft CSP program to create integrated solutions for their customers. 

So, to answer our own question: you don’t always need to be bigger to be better. But you do need the right tools and solutions to level the playing field. 

You can learn more about the CSP program on www.odin.com/csp.