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How Do You Pronounce IaaS Anyway? Customer Education Tips from Tim Chou

Posted by Timothy Chou on May 21, 2015 12:48:21 PM

2nd in the Series: Embrace, Educate, Design, Build

In 2009, the Corporate Executive Board (now called simply CEB) began an analysis of 6,000 enterprise/B2B sales reps to discover what made some better than others.  The group represented sales professionals from every major geography and industry.  In their analysis, every sales rep in the sample fell into one of five distinct profiles. While of course no one person is purely one profile or another, you can think of these profiles as their dominant traits. The five profiles include: Hard Worker, Challenger, Relationship Builder, Lone Wolf and Problem Solver. When CEB compared the profiles to performance the results were surprising. The Challengers were 10x more productive than the Relationship Builders, the group we think of as the classic enterprise sales person. Of course this doesn’t mean that the Challengers were disliked. So what are these Challengers doing that is so different?  Challengers fundamentally started by teaching.

Did you know that there are over 10,000 compute, storage, data center and network cloud services?  Or that there are at least seven different business models?  Do you know how far many companies have gone in adopting cloud services?  Well, if you don’t know, understand that most of your clients don’t know either. So, after you’ve embraced the cloud (see my first blog here), you’ll need to educate your customer.

So, educate them on what?  First of all, you’ll need to start with building a common vocabulary, and I’m not talking about teaching a bunch of acronyms (btw, how do pronounce Iaas?).  Instead, consider a cloud-computing framework, which was born of a conversation with six CIOs of a very large company. Once you have the vocabulary framework of application, compute, storage, datacenter, network, software development and operations management cloud services, then introduce case studies to show how other companies have adopted their cloud services. As an example consider this company’s journey to the cloud.

Second, once you’ve established a common language, move on to educating the customer on different business models.  Amazon’s greatest innovation in compute and storage cloud services was establishing a new business model, and for those of you who are students of technology you know that economics has driven change more than technology.  You can outline for your customer seven business models: traditional, open source, outsourcing, on demand, hybrid, SaaS and Internet, and provide case studies for each of the models.  As with any physical architect, you’ll need to understand both the technical and economic implications of any choice.  A short version of these business models is can be found here:  Seven Software Business Models – Part 1 and Part 2.

Finally, your customer should be educated to understand that the shift here is not in the location of the computer, but who manages the security, availability, performance and change of the compute, storage or the application.  You’ll need to guide them to think about what kind of performance objectives or security features they’ll need.

So now that you’ve embraced cloud computing and educated the client, what’s next? If you were going to buy a house, you’d always ask for a 3rd party to give you an inspection report.  Our IT houses are more complex than most homes, so whether a new IT director was hired or you’re talking to the current management, offer to provide an inspection so your customer will know what they have, how it compares financially to what might be possible and finally the state of their current security.

The next blog will cover the next step: Inspection.

For more information, visit the links below:

The Challenger Sale.

Editor’s Note: Timothy recently published a cloud computing trilogy titled Cloud Computing: FundamentalsCloud Computing: Operation Efficiency and Cloud Computing: Transformation, which are designed to teach the fundamentals of cloud computing, sharing plenty of examples.


Tags: Cloud, Networking, Technologies, Storage