Cloud Has Promise for Office Equipment Dealers27 May, 2014 By: Michael Amiri, Continuum
With large cloud providers heavily pitching small-and-medium-sized business (SMB) customers directly, the cloud is potentially quite disruptive to office equipment dealers. In selling cloud services to SMBs, it’s important for dealers to be mindful of these competitive forces and the potential impact of a Google and/or Microsoft delivering cloud services to the SMB, leaving the dealer out of the equation. No dealer wants this, but what can be done? It is possible for dealers to deliver comprehensive cloud services for long-term stability, all while looking like a cloud expert to customers and capitalizing on good margins.
First, SMBs are transitioning to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) to take advantage of numerous benefits – flexibility, mobility and a monthly payment model. They are transitioning to the cloud gradually and at different paces, and it’s not an all or nothing situation. SMBs are moving some infrastructure to the cloud now, while some infrastructure is staying on premise. Continuum recognizes that dealers need to manage a hybrid environment.
As a result, the company recently launched Continuum Cloud Console (C3), its IaaS management platform that allows dealers to easily create, manage and monitor virtual servers on behalf of their SMB customers. In addition to managing on premise hardware, dealers can now easily support cloud infrastructure from one platform. C3 is the only management tool that allows dealers to offer both. And, with dealers’ limited on-site technical staff, resources in the cloud completely eliminate physical on-site visits.
C3 was in development for a period of 12 months, and a number of our office equipment dealer partners were heavily involved in the process and provided a wealth of feedback to ensure our offering suits the needs of the office equipment industry. C3 is built specifically for dealers to support the needs of the SMB customer and with a Pay-as-You-Grow Pricing Plan.
Utilizing C3 allows customers to continue to enjoy the service of their local dealer – and Continuum makes you look like the cloud expert without hiring a single person. Office equipment dealers have a unique advantage over the big providers – knowing your customers’ needs and priorities to be able to recommend the best solutions. The cloud is an opportunity to deepen the relationship with SMBs. This is not simply delivering an HP or Dell box. The customer is getting its IT infrastructure directly from the dealer – an opportunity to get the customer to stick in the long-term.
Make no mistake – SMB customers are moving to the cloud. Cloud services are a logical diversification of your IT product offering. This is your opportunity to minimize the razor thin margins of hardware and capitalize on the better margins of the cloud. So, get educated. Be that one-stop shop for your SMB customers as they transition to the cloud, whether it’s today or in the future.
At the recent BTA Cruise to Success 2014 event, Continuum CEO Michael George delivered the keynote on how the cloud is reshaping the convergence of office equipment and managed IT services, helping dealers to transform their business in order to thrive profitably in this rapidly changing industry. More information is available at:
Michael Amiri and his dealer support team can be reached at OE@continuum.net.
(Michael Amiri is Director, Office Equipment Industry at Continuum)