XChange 2012: Moving Customers To The Cloud Takes Patience

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Sometimes moving to the cloud can be a difficult proposition. Solution providers may enjoy established relations with customers who are comfortable using legacy, on-premise equipment.

But, VARs can profit from such relationships and ultimately usher their clients to cloud services, said David Powell, vice president of managed services for TekLinks, a Birmingham, Ala.-based technology services and support company.

Powell, speaking Monday at the XChange 2012 conference in Dallas, Texas, said that for VARs, moving customers into a cloud services scenario is a process that can require time and patience.

"We focus too often on speeds and feeds and not solving customers' business problems," Powell said. "But, we have to have awareness for them."

[Related: CRN's Exclusive Coverage Of XChange 2012]

Although the use of legacy hardware and software may be thought of as a dated business model, the fact is many customers are still attached to that model and VARs must deal with it.

"There is still plenty of opportunity in that customer base," Powell said. "You sold them the gear, and it would be difficult for a competitor to come in and replace you, so the best person to solve that situation is you."

VARs must be aware of the cloud needs of their individual customers and be ready to suggest a specific, money-saving transition to hosted services when the right time comes, he said.

"It's a matter of time until your customer goes to the cloud, and you have the competitive advantage because he's your customer," Powell said. "You can say, 'I know you are thinking about the cloud.' If you have 15 customers all with aging Exchange servers, then you need to talk about hosted Exchange. You should not be talking about refreshing hardware."


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