2nd Watch Reinvents Service Delivery Model


2nd Watch is one of Amazon Web Services’ most successful partners, having helped hundreds of enterprise IT departments move their operations into the Amazon cloud.

It’s a thriving business model you’d think the Washington state-based solution provider would be wary to tinker with. But you’d be wrong.

This week, 2nd Watch told CRN it’s implementing an innovative methodology for how it offers AWS implementations to its enterprise customers, many who tell the solution provider they find it difficult to consume cloud services.

[Related: Decision Time: Which Kind of Cloud Buyer Is Your Customer?]

The new service-delivery model, called CM3, is more in line with how an enterprise would purchase an on-premise server or software, said Tim Hill, senior product manager at 2nd Watch.

It’s an approach that should not only reduce the time it takes to implement cloud-based infrastructure, but should also lower the risk to the customer, according to Hill.

“We wanted to focus on the deliverable, so we took all the most complicated things and broke it up into consumable chunks that make it easy for customers to tailor their cloud journey based on what their individual needs are,” Hill told CRN.

Those “consumable chunks” break down into five phases: assessment, planning, design, implementation, management and optimization.

The phased approach shifts the solution provider from focusing on how many hours they have to spend building out the customer system, to focusing on how efficient they need to be to deliver the product as promised.

“It’s really kind of a game changer for us as far as operations,” Hill said.

CM3 was born from 2nd Watch’s observations of their own interactions with customers looking for a solution provider to guide them into the cloud. They realized that even after the companies decided they wanted to hire 2nd Watch, there still was a rather onerous and lengthy process ahead that unnerved some.

“The cloud is complex and constantly changing and very different from what they’re doing today,” Hill said.

Like other solution providers, 2nd Watch offered pricing proposals based on time and materials. But when they thought harder about that model, they realized it was a process that just took too long.

“We had to discuss how many hours of what kind of smart person you needed and lay all that out. It was a time and material agreement rather than a laser focus on deliverables -- what the customer really needed to get done,” Hill said.

2nd Watch executives wanted a model closer to the one that governs buying a piece of hardware “where it’s just a description, part number and a price. Simple, easy to consume, just like if you’re buying a server from Dell.”

CM3 comes on the heels of a shift in focus that started for 2nd Watch about a year ago from the SMB to the enterprise market.

2nd Watch has already started offering CM3 and intends to have all its customer engagements by the end of this year be based on the new model and the standard building blocks of products it entails that can be tailored into bundles of specific services customers need.

But if customers don’t see the value, the solution provider doesn’t mind reverting to the more traditional statement of work methodology, Hill told CRN.

“We really feel like it’s going to change how large enterprises really start to consume cloud services. CM3 was born with the desire to expedite and simplify the cloud journey and ongoing adoption of cloud services, and at the same time improving the quality of the work we do as an organization,” he said.

PUBLISHED JULY 25, 2014