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Partner Profile: insITe Managed Services

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We always like to hear feedback from our partners to gauge how we’re doing in terms of meeting your needs, being available to help your business, and providing the best customer service to the channel. We recently sat down with Jon Morin, president of insITe Managed Services to ask him about his experience as a new Green Cloud partner.

 

How many of your customers have a Green Cloud solution?

After only four months as a partner, roughly 90% of my existing clients use Green Cloud as either a backup solution for mission-critical servers, or as a host for virtual servers. All of them are more secure and saving money with their Green Cloud solution.

 

What makes Green Cloud a better solution (than hardware, BDR, etc.)?

The cost and time to delivery. Hardware, local backups, power, software purchases and licensing, defending against environmental factors—all these issues create ever-increasing costs to businesses of every size. Not only that, the time to configure, order, ship, unpack, set up, test, and deploy a server can take many days, if not weeks, depending upon the manufacturer and complexity. With Green Cloud’s solutions, businesses can reduce and even eliminate the many direct and indirect costs associated with having a server. On top of that, the time it takes to deliver a Green Cloud server can be just minutes after submitting the contract. That saves the client money and earns the partner more revenue, and that’s a win-win situation.

 

Why are you getting out of the hardware business?

Hardware purchases are getting harder and harder to justify to a small business client. Spending thousands of dollars on hardware that, typically, is more than that small business will ever use, just doesn’t make sense. Being able to offer flexible “grow as your business grows” configurations makes it really easy to sell Green Cloud solutions.

 

What is your advice for other MSPs that are transitioning from hardware to cloud?

Transitioning to the cloud is easier than you think, but to do it properly, you must believe in the cloud yourself. Clients will see right through you if you don’t believe that moving to Green Cloud is absolutely the right thing for them to do.

 

What’s your favorite thing about working with Green Cloud?

Hands down, the people. From the executives to the support staff, the Green Cloud staff is client-focused and hard-working, and at the end of the day, they’re great people to know. There is no better bunch of men and women who can make selling and supporting the cloud easy and profitable.

Cloud Consolidations Propel the Industry Forward

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As providers move to scale up, acquisitions are the key to success.

With the cloud infrastructure market booming, cloud providers must develop winning strategies to compete for market share and presence. As new companies emerge, some succeed while others fail. Building successful distribution channels, whether through direct sales or a channel model, is expensive and time consuming. The current cycle of competition is like an enormous game of “musical chairs,” with providers jostling for a dwindling—yet still plentiful—number of seats. As smaller, less-financed companies fall out of the running, this constant churn puts small providers in a desirable or, in some cases, necessary position to sell their companies. In a market this big and still accelerating, the potential for consolidation creates tremendous investment opportunities for private equity investors and their cloud providers to source and acquire these numerous smaller players that want or need to exit.

In less than a decade, the cloud infrastructure market has generated staggering numbers. Since 2011, the IaaS market has grown more than 40 percent per year. While that figure has leveled off somewhat, the market size remains enormous and is still projected to grow more than 25 percent per year through the end of the decade. In 2017 alone, Gartner forecasts the global cloud market to exceed $125 billion. Other estimates have the market approaching (or passing) the $200 billion mark by 2020. Within the next five years, more computing power will be deployed by IaaS / PaaS cloud providers than by enterprise data centers, and cloud revenue is expected to match or exceed that of traditional servers. It is safe to say that within ten years, cloud infrastructure services will significantly replace traditional hardware for many, if not most, enterprises and SMBs.

With the cloud infrastructure market so ripe, conventional wisdom says that the big players will pluck the sweetest fruit and leave only the low-hanging morsels for smaller providers to fight over. This is not really the case, though. Super-scale cloud infrastructure providers such as AWS and Azure are primarily focused at the top of the food chain, and while they are, indeed, making huge inroads into the enterprise space, they do not dominate the entire market. Instead, their enterprise activities are actually spurring general interest in the cloud from small and medium-sized businesses, and as a result, stimulating a vast middle market of SMBs ready to receive the cloud’s value prop—a $25+ billion opportunity in which emerging, service-oriented cloud providers can flourish.

Viewed as a whole, the cloud services market for SMBs—where the vast majority of IT decisions are made—far outweighs the much smaller number of enterprise businesses looking for hosted infrastructure. And while size still matters to an SMB searching for a provider, mega-clouds are clearly not a practical option due largely to the lack of infrastructure engineering talent at companies with less than 200 employees. At its core, the SMB is still a value-oriented market, and their desire for robust yet cost-effective cloud solutions allows companies other than the big players to develop good, “high-level” cloud capabilities that address their needs. This middle market is where companies like Green Cloud reside.

With no geographic borders and few obstacles to startup, it is relatively “easy” for an experienced entrepreneurial team to build a successful cloud company with ~$5 million of capital outlay. Within a few years, smaller cloud providers can realize an impressive $5–8 million in business. As these granular-level companies grow, however, they must scale in order to compete, but scaling past revenues of $10 million takes substantial time, sales and marketing expertise, capital investment, and certainly some luck. Some companies have (or find) the resources to grow, and many of those will ultimately succeed; many others will fail or plateau. Eventually, companies who fail to scale will either go under, or a larger company will come along and buy them out.

So, what happens when a company reaches the ceiling of their capability? The most viable option is to look for a strategic partner to merge with, preferably a larger company with more capacity. Done properly, such consolidations provide the investors with a reward for their hard work and allows the larger cloud provider to expand operations via the acquisition. In the past year, our industry has experienced a tremendous number of such acquisitions—mostly through data centers and hosting companies—but the current wave of consolidation is just beginning.

At Green Cloud, we see a big wave of acquisitions ahead over the next 12–36 months. Our immediate growth strategy is to continue investing in our channel network of more than 400 partners across 46 states, while also leveraging the consolidation trend to scale up and broaden our national footprint. Our tactical goal over the next few years is to acquire smaller companies to rapidly add financial scale and data center provisioning, sales presence, and partner network expansion. We view such acquisitions as the most practical route to augment our rapid, organic growth in the near-term. For other providers looking to scale rather than exit, I suspect you’ll agree that Green Cloud’s strategy is a sound one to follow.

Regardless of what comes, we’re still in the market’s infancy at this point. We love what AWS and Azure are doing by educating the market and helping businesses learn about cloud, and they are leaving a massive opportunity for Green Cloud and our partners. And there is plenty of room for many more companies like Green Cloud, because cloud infrastructure remains a healthy, thriving industry tailor-made for entrepreneurs. If you’re not involved with cloud infrastructure in your business, then do it! If you’re already a cloud provider that needs to scale to stay competitive, now is a good time to consider either acquiring a smaller company, or selling your business and taking a pay-out. If you’re a mid-level provider with resources, or a venture-capital firm, this is a brilliant time to invest. If you’re an MSP or VAR, it’s critical that you incorporate cloud into your business model because recurring revenues can drive more value for your business than anything else.

The cloud is a great bet because the market is still growing, the technology is still evolving, and there is still a lot of healthy competition out there. Here’s to a prosperous 2017 in the cloud!

 

Connecting Your Core to the Cloud

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The cloud is no longer on its way—it’s here. It’s not an embryonic trend anymore, or a radical new approach, or an exotic option. Now, cloud concepts are familiar to everyone, cloud infrastructure is mature technology, and cloud solutions are rapidly becoming an essential component of IT everywhere.

Despite the cloud’s emergence as a powerful force in the technology industry, many traditional providers still struggle to incorporate cloud solutions into their businesses. When Green Cloud associates speak to potential partners about the cloud, we often hear some familiar objections:

Why should I sell the cloud when my hardware business does well enough on its own?

I’d like to add cloud services, but I don’t have the budget or personnel to build and maintain a data center.”

I want to offer more cloud services, but I don’t want to completely retool my company.”

The truth is: You don’t have to jump into “the deep end” to embrace a cloud model. The emergence of cloud infrastructure providers, and the adaptability and scalability of cloud technologies, means you don’t have to abandon or rebuild your traditional business, or make a massive investment to be profitable selling cloud solutions.

If you want to sell the cloud—or more of it—the most effective and affordable strategy is to find a partner who has already made the necessary investments in the cloud infrastructure (so that you don’t have to), and then connect your core business to complementary cloud solutions and services.

For example, if you’re selling on-premise backup hardware, you can offer your clients additional protection with offsite cloud backup as a bundled solution. This level of data redundancy is essential for any good disaster recovery plan, and many organizations are realizing that such a solution is all that stands between them and a catastrophic loss of business continuity.

It makes for an easy sell that makes sense to the client, and carries with it the opportunity to add various hosted services like monitoring, setup and retention, file-level recovery support, and other disaster recovery solutions. With a trusted cloud infrastructure partner in place, you can affordably expand your traditional hardware sales and not only generate more profit, but also build recurring revenue. Over the long term, the profitability of the managed services can dwarf the stand-alone equipment sale. Best of all, this strategy can be repeated across virtually any solutions category your business sells.

Bottom line: when it comes to hardware vs. the cloud, you don’t have to be an either/or seller…you can sell both. You already know your business, your budget, and your competencies. To make a successful pivot to the cloud, you simply need to find the right cloud solutions that fit with what you’re already selling and the right partner to provide a reliable, secure cloud infrastructure—a partner like Green Cloud.

Contact us today to learn more. Green Cloud is 100% channel-only, and we create custom cloud solutions for VARs, MSPs, and system integrators.

Mac McClenathan is the VP of Sales at Green Cloud Technologies.