4 Reasons Why Everything-As-A-Service Can Capture More Customers

‘You do everything as a service, you own the customer,‘ Advizex’s C.R. Howdyshell says. ‘But you’re going to have to work hard to keep their business because there’s a lot of people knocking on their door.’


C.R. Howdyshell, president of Ohio-based solution provider Advizex, says that what customers want today is to consume IT that looks and feels like the public cloud.

“I’ve heard this from many customers, ‘We don’t want to do hardware refreshes anymore,’” he told an audience at The Channel Company’s Best Of Breed (BoB) Conference this week.

“If you can help customers consume everything as a service, you start moving from CAPEX to OPEX,” Howdyshell added.

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Most customers don’t want to consume IT, he said. Rather, they want to consume it like cloud.

“The customers I‘ve talked to [said] they’re not in the data center business, that’s why they want to go to cloud,” he said.

That’s why Advizex -- a member of CRN’s MSP Elite 150 -- has moved over to everything-as-a-service to meet customer needs in turn making both the customer and Advizex even more successful.

Here are four reasons why solution providers can offer everything-as-a-service to optimize customer growth.

There’s a demand in the channel

“If you‘re going to be transactional, you’re out,” Howdyshell said. “The customers can buy from anybody. You have to focus on solutions versus the hardware.”

Now more than ever, customers want to have a secure IT environment, he said. If you haven’t talked to your customers yet, now is the time to talk to them holistically about their environment, what vulnerabilities are currently on their systems and how to better protect their data.

“If you can help customers build as they go versus buy as they grow, that‘s important,” Howdyshell said. “You’re helping them with their CAPEX and their business challenges.”

‘You have to be relevant’

A customer’s business challenges with their IT is more important than ever, Howdyshell said.

“For services offerings, you have to be relevant. You can‘t dabble, you have to be committed,” he added.

It’s also important to evolve with the customer, he noted.

“Our challenge for the channel partners is we really have a big task, we have to coexist in both worlds,” he said. “You have to co-exist today where customers will live in on-prem and move into hybrid cloud, or public cloud, but you have to be relevant in their world. So it‘s an evolution for the channel, not a transformation.”

Cloud market will be a $1.3 trillion industry by 2025

With heavy movement to software-as-a-service, Howdyshell said the cloud market will be a $1.3 trillion industry by 2025, “and that number keeps going up while infrastructure numbers keep going down. So we have to evolve and move accordingly to where the puck is going.”

With everything as a service, he said channel partners have to grow customer relationships and also act as trusted advisors.

“Now more than ever, that‘s important because customers are getting pounded right now,” he said. “They really need somebody who can help them navigate, and that’s where the partner comes in and says, ‘I will help navigate. We understand the OEM programs and we’ll help make them work for you. We’ll make it fit for what you want to do.’

“You do everything as a service, you own the customer,” he added. “But you‘re going to have to work hard to keep their business because there’s a lot of people knocking on their door.”

People-first strategy ‘has really changed the game’

To grow in the market, and deliver everything-as-a-service for a customer’s business success, Advizex has to make moves as well.

“I don’t want somebody who could just get up and talk about it, I need somebody who can go lead,” Howdyshell said.

Advizex decided to make Joe VanPatten, who was a general manager at the company and “completely turned the region around from a profitability perspective” the vice president of cloud consumption.

Howdyshell said the company needed somebody who understood customers, had a strong technical background, “and can really truly lead a conversation with customers about consumption, from the technical aspect, and the business aspect and then the return on investment.”

“It has changed the game, really, for Advizex,” he said. “You guys go focus on running the business and we’ll focus on managing it.”