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Cloud migration opens new opportunities for the channel

OVHcloud’s Partner Program Manager discusses cloud market opportunities and benefits for resellers in migration.

In this Sponsored Q&A, IT Europa sits down with OVHcloud’s David Devine, Partner Program Manager, to explore the current state of the cloud marketplace. He provides insights into biggest opportunities for resellers in cloud migration and outlines the advantages of adopting cloud solutions.

The cloud marketplace seems incredibly crowded for resellers - can you give some context on where the market is at?

Cloud feels like such a mature technology that it surprises some people to hear there are still lots of organisations and systems not in the cloud. Most businesses do use cloud, and are seeing the benefits, but there’s still plenty of scope – not to mention the new frontiers of AI and Machine Learning, which are significantly enabled by cloud. In fact, according to Gartner, spending on public cloud alone is forecast to grow by 20% across 2024, from just over £450bn to £540bn.

The Cloud Industry Forum’s latest report suggests almost half of enterprises adopt either a cloud-first approach or hybrid on-prem / cloud approach with just 2% using only on-premises technology.

Where are the biggest opportunities for resellers in cloud migration?

Cloud migration can be quite complex, but managing this complexity is an opportunity for the channel. For example, beyond simply offering cloud infrastructure, partners can offer consultancy, providing assessments of the right workloads and applications to migrate, not to mention when to migrate, bearing in mind technology life cycles and customer needs. This work tends to deepen relationships and trust with customers and can often help the channel to win ongoing, multi-year contracts.

Once a customer has migrated a customer to the cloud, most channel partners offer management and maintenance of applications. Further down the line, partners can help explore the benefits of cloud native technologies. AI, machine learning and harnessing the power of big data can offer significant potential to a newly cloud-native organisation.

Many customer IT teams realise that there’s no such thing as one-cloud-fits-all and need support in finding other options for different workloads. This is also an area where the expertise and experience of the channel can be extremely useful to customers.

What are the advantages to cloud migration?

The benefits of moving to cloud are relatively well established: customers can be more agile and scale more easily because they’re renting rather than buying infrastructure. They’ll always have access to new kit and better security – and can outsource routine administration like patching and maintenance. Cloud essentially means that customers can focus on the application layer and leave the infrastructure to partners and vendors.

Moving to cloud prompts a conversation between the partner and the customer about strategy and approach. This forces the customer to clarify their needs, builds closeness with partners who can better deliver – and that’s worth its weight in gold.

Isn’t security & compliance a concern?

In our experience, a lot of technology conversations start with security and end up with cloud! Alongside price, security is one of the most important considerations for any end-user organisation. It deserves to be, and modern systems must be secure by design.

Furthermore, according to the Cloud Industry Forum’s 2023 report, two thirds of businesses say cloud makes their organisation more secure in some form, while only 8% believe it makes the business less secure. Large cloud vendors can provide far more rigorous security measures than most end-user organisations, and there’s also usually more choice of security arrangements – from pre-existing support for sectoral regulations such as PCI DSS to broad security standards like ISO27001 or event specifying levels of physical access like SecNumCloud, a French security qualification developed by the French National Cybersecurity Agency (ANSSI) mandate. 

It’s also important to explore. Hybrid cloud approaches can give customers even more choice and control over their security posture. For example, bare metal and private cloud can often have more bespoke security options compared to public cloud, where some parts of the security are usually pre-set by the vendor. Ultimately, it’s often well worth discussing all the options with customers, whatever their assumptions.

What common pitfalls do companies face during cloud migration and how can resellers help these be avoided?

As we’ve said, cloud migration is complex. At the start of the process, both parties need to have discussions around governance and setting best practice before they define and manage the actual migration itself. In turn, migrations are full of sub-dependencies and considerations beyond eliminating - or at least minimising - downtime during migration; like resilience, backup and DR, not to mention factors including network, cybersecurity and automation requirements.

However, as complex as this sounds, it’s also an opportunity for partners to add value and make sure that the implementation goes smoothly. This reinforces the need for a good cultural fit between the partner and the customer; when you’re dealing with something with a lot of moving parts, getting on with the people you’re dealing with is essential.

But the relationships certainly aren’t limited to being between the customer and reseller alone. Good risk management usually comes down to open discussions, solid due diligence and effective planning end-to-end, and that includes the partner having a great relationship with their vendor ecosystem as well.

What should you look for in a technology provider when choosing a cloud partner?

Choosing an IaaS vendor isn’t just a matter of price. Here are three core considerations:

Commercials: Needs can change, so it’s good to understand your provider’s minimum contract duration, and whether they support open-source technologies that can make further moves easier. It’s also important to understand the performance / price ratio, whether the provider meshes with your customer’s technology roadmap – not to mention your assessment of what’s right for the customer across all of these considerations. 

Culture: It’s good to shop around to make sure you have a good cultural fit with your IaaS provider and one that matches your approach. Offering the right commercials and products is one thing but it’s important to ensure the partner can deliver on its promise of a great customer experience. For this reason, you’ll often want a vendor whose team is hands-on, available and easy to engage in dialogue with, rather than feeling like a small cog in a big machine. The provider must understand your needs and asks and offer the right availability and agility in relation to the opportunities you generally work with. 

Roadmap: A good IaaS partner should also be able to open doors for you, as well as offering a solution to support your deals today. It’s worth questioning whether the partner can provide something different, open up incremental revenue or help you grow into new technologies. Similarly, it’s important to keep an eye out for additional value adds, such as a good sustainability proposition or a simple data sovereignty approach – essentially, you want anything that’s going to help get customers over the line, but that will also add value in the long-term.

What are the benefits of working with OVHcloud – and what are the next steps to learn more?

Our partners tell us they enjoy how we operate as an extension to their team, working day-to-day with both technical and sales teams. We have a very broad product portfolio for partners to navigate, and this guidance helps to drive efficiency into the sales process by removing the guesswork from creating compelling solutions with the right products.  Alongside our key product differentiators, performance / price ratio, sustainability, and transparent pricing, our structured Partner Program includes valuable benefits that help generate and close pipeline, including a training academy, sales and technical workshops, cloud audit services, vouchers and support for POCs and more. For more information, reach out to us here.