Microsoft Office 365, while extremely efficient in delivering on its purpose as a productivity suite, is but a single piece of a cloud solution puzzle. Microsoft O365 becomes exceptional when a managed service provider (MSP) combines Microsoft O365 with other puzzle pieces to profitably deliver on the promise of the cloud.
There is still a genuine excitement among MSPs regarding the opportunity to support the technology needs of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), companies with 250 employees or less. Microsoft O365 is often the first puzzle piece.
The key for an MSP is to figure out what additional pieces are needed to support the customer needs. How an MSP approaches the solution selection process can make all the difference:
ISVs: Accessing product and services offerings that run complementary to Microsoft O365 are key to profitability. However, simply adding a traditional security vendor or backup and disaster-recovery solution is not enough. This is where independent software vendors (ISVs) can step in to help an MSP drive niche solutions to SMBs, while doing it efficiently and effectively. Moving beyond the obvious Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business application can create a level of differentiation that gives an MSP the ability to meet the specific vertical market needs of their customer, while also being profitable.
Cloud Marketplace: The cloud allows resellers to be more efficient by discontinuing processes that cause wasted movement. A platform that enables resellers to efficiently explore, buy and manage cloud transaction is critical to keeping selling and administrative costs down. The ability to harness the power of the cloud through systems that are as close to automated and flawless as possible is the goal when delivering cloud solutions to the market.
Customer Lifecycle Management: Landing the cloud solution is just the start; an extremely successful MSP masters the cloud. In the new world of cloud with monthly and consumption-based billing, adoption is important. Accessing usage data and applying the knowledge gained to a customer lifecycle management (CLM) system is a driver for successful MSPs. Process is part of the equation, and it can be a differentiator for MSPs. However, there is an opportunity to standardize on technology/service offerings by building in options for end users that drive meaningful utilization. Automated platforms that enable training tools, newsletter communication, and functionality reminders can be the difference between dropped service and a lifetime customer.
The selection of pieces can be a differentiator between a win-win with a MSP and SMB user and a profit or service disaster. The ability to access, power and master the cloud is critical to success.
Interested in learning how to go to market with Microsoft O365 leveraging a cloud service provider (CSP) billing model? Check out our Microsoft O365 Quick Reference Guide to get started.