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Cloud services: Get in while they’re hot

March 23, 2012 / Evolve IP

Company valuations in cloud services aren’t just heating up, they’re already red-hot. Buzz around the cloud has been building for years, but a string of recent acquisitions, investments, and public valuations prove it’s more than just hype. Companies are snatching up players left and right in all areas of the cloud: hosting, applications, unified communications, and data center infrastructure.

These aren’t just economic buys for revenue, scale, and expansion. Companies are acquiring talent, technology, knowledge, and product sets to navigate their way into the cloud posthaste.

So if you’re just ramping up your cloud business (read: monthly recurring revenues), accelerate it. If you’re a VAR or other service provider selling legacy systems and services, augment or replace those services NOW and get into cloud services. Sitting on the sidelines to see how things play out is no longer a viable strategy.

Now is the time to get into the cloud business. Change your business model and bank on the new paradigm. A fork in the road isn’t coming, it’s already here, and you’re standing right in front of it. You can steer one way and reap the business benefits of the cloud or take the road of legacy infrastructure and end up losing your customer base. Don’t let that happen.

There are essentially two options for jumping into the cloud space and pulling ahead of the pack. You can either provide your own cloud services on your own platforms or through your own data center, or partner with a provider that can assist you. If you’re going to go it alone, good luck with that. That’s where we were six years ago, and let us tell you — it’s not easy. It takes a lot of capital, time, knowledge, and patience waiting out the time to market and opportunity costs.

But whether you plan to do it yourself or partner with a provider, you better get started soon. It’s a crowded field already. The guys who run faster and harder now are the ones who will own this space tomorrow.

Any company seeking a partner for its cloud services will need to closely examine any providers it’s considering. Since the space is so hot, some providers might not last long. Here are some questions to think about when considering a cloud services partner:

  • What kind of investment does the provider have in the technology? For example, how many data centers does it have? Has it invested in diverse, secure, and redundant networks and security? What kind of platform does it offer?
  • What kind of services does the provider offer in addition to the technology? Does it provide sales support, training, or other end-customer assistance? Is the offering strictly about a portal or the technology, or will the provider help you help your customers?
  • Does the provider offer a single service or can you use its platform for multiple services? (Keep in mind that customers that buy one cloud service generally buy many.)
  • How much experience does the provider have? What’s its track record owning and operating companies?
  • Who has already partnered with this provider? What kind of success have they had?
  • What do the provider’s financials look like? Is it on the brink of an exit or sale that could leave you dealing with another organization at a crucial time? Is the provider growing and profitable or at least marching towards it?

Cloud providers are typically a good bet when they are visible, have credible business partners, invest in recognized best-of-breed platforms and technologies, and offer a breadth and depth of products. Some added intellectual property helps differentiate them as well.

Now let me make our pitch. We want to help you run down the right fork in the road. Evolve IP is actively seeking qualified partners to enter the cloud space. Here are two examples of companies that have joined up with us and reaped the benefits:

  1. A mid-Atlantic company used to offer a legacy service, selling phone systems with lots of customer premise base equipment and servers. It understood that that was a think of the past, recognized the value of the cloud, and partnered with us. Now it’s generating new, long-term, highly profitable revenue through our cloud platform. As a result, it’s about to win a large deal that it couldn’t even respond to 60 days ago. As a partner, it’s benefiting from sales and training support just as much as the platform and technology.
  2. A traditional master agent in New Jersey was selling basic telecom and data services. It could have continued down that path with service providers, but instead chose to come on board with us 18 months ago. Now it’s billing a couple million dollars a year and has become one of our largest partners. It utilized our training, webinars, events, and sales support. As a result, it has even outpaced some of our more technical partners. While very visible, publicly traded telecom companies are touting how traditional master agents are a thing of the past and want to look in other directions, we are empowering them and helping make them successful.

Both of these companies saw success because they recognized the value of jumping into the cloud when they did. Recognizing that they couldn’t build and scale their own cloud services, they found a partner in Evolve IP. We offered them a cloud platform and support, from sales and training to implementation and support.

Transitioning your company to cloud services has never been more urgent, and a partner company can help you make the necessary changes. So if you’re still invested in legacy systems, it’s time to get your head in the cloud and your butt in gear.

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