E-Handbook:

Cloud migration services offer a foothold for channel business

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How cloud migrations lead to profitable customer relationships

So, you've developed a cloud business, lined up your first service offerings and sold customers on the approach. The next step is cloud migration. This phase of the cloud journey could mean migrating clients from on-premises applications to software as a service, moving clients to an infrastructure-as-a-service offering or helping with a transition to other cloud products such as disaster recovery as a service.

Whatever way you slice it, a cloud migration provides an opportunity to offer customers consulting and support services along with expertise in one or more cloud offerings. Clients who are new to the cloud will have no institutional knowledge of how to get the job done and may actually underestimate the degree of difficulty. A cloud partner needs to manage projects and customer expectations.

Channel partners must also guide their customers through the potential pitfalls of a cloud migration. Those obstacles include legacy applications not quite ready for cloud time, unanticipated dependencies among systems, compliance considerations, the potential for downtime during the cloud transition and cultural barriers to cloud adoption. Moving customers to the cloud isn't a simple flip-a-switch task.

Fortunately, channel partners don't have to go it alone. Public cloud vendors and third-party software providers offer tools designed to ease migration. And various cloud enablement companies offer cloud migration services and support that channel partners can white label and resell.

A successful migration may seem like a lot to pull off, but it isn't necessarily the end game. Cloud migration services can serve as a launch pad for offering other cloud services. A channel partner, for example, can look for opportunities to optimize the cloud deployment. There could be an opening to revamp applications for the cloud environment. A cloud consultant can also advise customers on cloud governance, the lack of which can imperil cloud adoption. Inadequate oversight of cloud usage, for example, can lead to spiraling costs.

So with careful planning, a cloud migration can lead to an ongoing customer relationship that extends well beyond the initial cloud move.

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