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2015: The Year of Hybrid Cloud. Is Your Business Ready?

Posted by Tim FitzGerald on Feb 10, 2015 11:45:14 AM

2015: The Year of Hybrid Cloud. Is Your Business Ready?

Cloud computing, overall, is now well-established as a viable, even essential, element in how organizations use technology to achieve business goals. Challenges such as meeting the needs of users, deploying solutions to business needs faster and increasing demands on badly stretched internal IT teams are driving the discussion surrounding cloud computing.

Hybrid cloud, however, has its own set of business drivers that stem from leveraging benefits of deploying workloads within both their data centers as well as other data centers. More and more organizations are considering the benefits of making the transition. For instance, IT infrastructure inside most organizations has evolved in a largely patchwork, often ad hoc manner, with disparate and even incompatible systems springing up over time to accomplish tasks that had once been isolated but now need to be integrated.

As VARs and solutions providers aggressively embark on their journey with hybrid IT (cloud) solutions, it’s important to keep in mind some very pointed questions to ask both internally and with potential technology and services partners to make sure that your business is ready. These include:

What role should my organization play in the hybrid cloud market?

For instance, your organization should determine where your existing expertise sits—infrastructure, applications development, consulting services, or end-to-end turnkey solutions design and support. At the same time, you should fully understand how your current customers and prospects would benefit from hybrid cloud. Honest, well-thought-out answers to these questions will likely make it easier for you to understand what role your organization should play and what kinds of partnerships you’ll need to build in order to succeed.

What level of investment will need to be made?

Think of the term investment beyond simply the economic commitment, although that is certainly essential. For instance, you may need to hire new staff with expertise in how to sell cloud services (i.e., annuity-based services), or find experts who have established relationships with cloud services providers. You’ll also need to determine if you have the requisite in-house technical talent in such areas as wide-area networking, software-defined storage and security, so think about the new vendor certifications essential to build and support hybrid clouds. Another important area to consider is investing in expertise in cloud-centric compliance issues. For instance, are you aware that VARs and other third-party services organizations have significant accountability in the healthcare industry under the new Business Associates classifications in HIPAA?

Is your business equipped with the necessary sales expertise?

Selling hybrid cloud solutions means more than just broadening relationships with new technology providers or learning new acronyms. It starts with having an intimate knowledge of how hybrid clouds can benefit your clients’ business needs, and then how to translate that benefit into your own organization’s capabilities. Even though hybrid cloud is an exciting and fast-growing market, it may not be the right solution for each of your existing customers' or prospects' workloads/applications. Your sales force—or those of your strategic partners involved in pre-sales efforts—needs to understand how to differentiate a ripe sales opportunity from a potentially long, expensive and unfruitful effort.

Regardless of the role a solutions provider may choose for itself, there are several things to keep in mind when mapping a strategy for participating in, and profiting from, the growing prevalence of hybrid cloud computing. Avnet is staffed with experts who understand both the technical and business acumen required to succeed in the hybrid cloud marketplace.

This blog was originally featured on the VAR Guy. See the original posting here.

Tags: Cloud, Hybrid Cloud, cloud, Technologies, sales