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As the saying goes, “the customer is king,” and businesses who don’t put their customers first often learn this the hard way. This becomes particularly important with cloud services. It’s a brave new world “in the clouds,” and customers often look to their managed service provider (MSP) to present a solution that addresses their needs. But for you the MSP, it’s a much bigger issue, right?  You don’t want to just address your customers’ current needs with a solution that screams, “Yes, I am addressing the problem you told me you had!” You want to “delight” your customer with a solution that also says, “Hey, I am also addressing other needs that you didn’t even know you had…or will soon have.”  And this is hard because to truly delight your customer, you must perform thorough due diligence to evaluate and select the right technologies that will meet the needs of your customers now – and in the future.

data center guy with filesLet’s look at file-sharing options because it’s a category of cloud services that Egnyte provides.  In my role, I have the pleasure of getting to know the strategies of many different IT service providers. Unfortunately, I often see that a lot of solutions are typically based on the path of least resistance, which can be boiled down into two common scenarios.

SCENARIO 1:  ME TOO!

There are many vendors from numerous industries including back-up, hosted email, MDM, FTP, storage hardware, and more that have made a business out of one product or service, and then tacked on “me too” file-sharing features and functions in an effort to address user interest in that incredibly hot and growing category.

SOLUTION: Regardless of what category you’re looking to add to your portfolio, when choosing a vendor to work with, compare vendors that have taken a “purpose-built” approach with their solution vs. those in the “me too” camp. Purpose-built vendors typically have the vision, go-to-market insights and solution innovations that the “me too” vendors can’t provide.

SCENARIO 2: IF IT AIN’T BROKE, DON’T FIX IT

Whether due to lack of time, initiative, bench talent, or something else, I sometimes see service providers relying on familiar technologies cobbled together in an effort to deliver what the customer says they want. I’ve never seen this approach work long-term, and it rarely “delights” the customer. This approach can also be the most damaging because it makes the vendor seem behind the times by failing to leverage the latest innovations to help clients.

SOLUTION

There is a plethora of resources to leverage around new innovations. Yes, it takes time, but it’s worth doing if you strive to continually improve and grow your business. Some of these resources include the following:

  • Peer Groups (many to choose from)
  • Industry events (shameless plug for MSPWorld here!)
  • Leading technology sites (GigaOm, ArsTechnica, The Verge, and others)
  • Following acquisition and investment trends (e.g. TechCrunch)

All that said, there is no magic bullet. But, finding the solutions that will “delight” your customers is a job worth doing right. Want to know more about vendor selection best practices, check out my post here. And as always, I’d love to hear your feedback; don’t hesitate to send me a note to msp@egnyte.com with your thoughts, suggestions and questions.

 

*The original post appeared in MSP Alliance.  

 

Mort Jensen, who received CRN’s 2014 Channel Chief award, is responsible for Egnyte’s service provider channel.  His 18-year background includes deep experience in the channel and with cloud technologies. Prior to Egnyte, he held channel leadership positions with Meraki (acquired by Cisco), Good Technology (acquired by Motorola) and 4INFO among others.  Mort has a BS in engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.  You can follow him on Twitter at @mortjensen or LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/mortjensen/.

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