Page 2 of 3
Making the VAR the key contact is even more important when it comes to the SMB and mid-market, Chekuri said. Cloud support poses a "huge challenge" for smaller companies and VARs and resellers have a massive role to play as the solution provider and trusted advisor and should answer the call.
The trick is to eliminate the questions of "Where do I go? Who do I call?" and for the most part, end customers don't care as long as applications are working, Chekuri said, adding that "VARs have a significant opportunity to take this over."
Jeremy Przygode, CEO of Los Angeles-based cloud solution provider Stratalux, said his company takes various cloud resources for customers and applies IT practices, monitoring and management. The professional services/managed services offerings create an interesting paradigm where several vendor offerings are feeding into a single cloud solution for the end customer. Przygode said that amalgamation of cloud plays makes it imperative that Stratalux customers have "one throat to choke."
Essentially, Przygode said, if there is a problem with Amazon, which can impact Stratalux's data center, which in turn can impact the customer. When a problem like that arises, the customer calls Stratalux and the issues are sorted out. Stratalux has support contracts with each of its cloud vendors to ensure problems get fixed quickly.
"We're the experts," he said. "And we give customers a flat fee…You just want one neck to choke. If we're able to resell all of these services, it's easier for customers to call one number. We're the brand that our customers interface with."
Owning the customer support contract is also beneficial as it opens the door for cloud providers to tack services onto cloud deployments.
"The most interesting thing I see in this is how support has the opportunity to be more and more value added," said Ryan Nichols, head of product management and marketing for San Mateo, Calif.-based cloud solution provider Appirio.
According to Nichols, customers want a partner they can call. And when Appirio builds a customer an app, that customer wants to know the app will work as advertised. What's unique about Appirio offering custom app development and building to customers is that it can support those apps and improve them at the same time, adding more value on the back end.
Next: Strong Cloud Support Creates Stickiness