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Microsoft Azure…beyond the IT Department

Posted by Jeff Salanco on Feb 10, 2016 9:47:04 AM

The level of interest in Microsoft Azure from Managed Service Providers (MSPs) is off the chart—it is easily one of our most popular cloud “topics” and building momentum.  And while the typical areas of Backup/DR, Active Directory, and Virtual Machines are driving much of the interest, there are a slew of potential points of leverage for the platform, many of which lie beyond the IT department.

The ability to sell beyond IT is a critical motion when it comes to cloud. The IT department will get you started, but an MSP can’t stop there. As MSPs continue to sharpen their skills when it comes to selling into lines of businesses, one area that is tapping into cloud aggressively is marketing.

The benefit of Azure can also be its greatest weakness: it is really powerful. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you may not even know where to start. So we’ve organized a couple of marketing solutions that MSPs can deliver with confidence:

Burst Campaigns:  Going to market with short-cycle campaigns to test offerings, ideas or concepts are a great fit for Azure’s App Service.  MSPs can setup their end users with popular content management systems (CMS) to build the foundation of the campaign, send emails using SendGrid (via marketplace) to get in front of potential customers, spin up ASP.NET for social media integration, deploy via GitHub, and build database back-ends for data collection—all while testing new marketing theories via A/B tests using Azure’s Test in Production feature. The result: customizable, powerful and affordable short-term marketing campaigns.

Educating Others: In many organizations, including ours, the deployment of a Learning Management System (LMS) is the responsibility of Marketing. There are all kinds of options out there, and Moodle is one that has a solid reputation. This open source platform is in use by universities and organizations of all sizes. Azure provides a pre-configured instance of the offering, providing even SMB end users with the ability to educate their customers, powered by an easy to use interface that allows the organization to quickly build a catalog of e-learning courses, create forums, define workflows, and track results.  VM Depot has a great read on how to deploy in minutes.

Start the Presses:  An MSP can create a MySQL supported WordPress blog platform in Azure in no time for their end user customer, creating a new stream for their client to communicate with the world. The benefit? An enterprise-grade site with blazing speed to load, support millions of visits, and deliver 99.9% uptime. Maybe a bit “overkill” for the SMB…but the price is right, so why not?  

These are just a couple of solutions to get an MSP started on helping their end users’ marketing initiatives. There is incredible potential with the Azure platform just waiting to be discovered.

If you’re not leveraging Azure but interested in getting up and running with quick, check out Tech Data Cloud’s Azure Playbook for information on internal use rights, calculators and cloud marketplace sourcing best practices.

 Download my Azure playbook! 

Jeff Salanco leads the marketing organization for Tech Data Cloud where he works with a team focused on designing and executing innovative partner engagement strategies across a variety of technology segments. These initiatives enable companies of all sizes to grow by leveraging the IT channel to amplify their brand and ability to deliver technology solutions to the market.


Tags: Data Center