At Arrow’s recent Technology Summit, industry leaders from Arrow, Commvault and Microsoft participated in a panel discussion around hybrid cloud, the marketplace and how the buyer’s journey has changed over the last few years. These topics are critical, because we all need to be aware of the dramatic selling process changes that are taking place as end-customers seek the best solutions to their business challenges.
The Hybrid Cloud Opportunity
It’s also important to understand hybrid cloud and the huge opportunity that is waiting for you. Hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment that uses a mix of on-premises along with private cloud and third-party public services.
The hybrid cloud market is estimated to reach $91.74 billion by 2021 with a CAGR of 22.5%. This market growth is significant and can have a very positive impact on your business. Here are a few highlights of the hybrid cloud market:
- Disaster recovery solutions are expected to have the highest CAGR.
- Hybrid hosting solutions, which combine the scalability and flexibility of virtual cloud servers with the security and performance of dedicated hosting, are expected to have the largest market share.
- Hybrid hosting allows you to keep some of your data on-premises instead of moving it all to the cloud.
- Both disaster recovery and hybrid hosting are opportunities that all partners should be investigating.
“We recently completed a survey of Microsoft Azure customers, and it showed that 67% of our customers are already using hybrid cloud,” said Vibhu Ranjan, Director of Microsoft Azure, Strategy and Planning. “They are looking at ways to grow their businesses and better enable their products by using a combination of their data centers and public clouds like Azure.”
Buyer’s Journey Has Significantly Changed
Just as cloud computing has significantly transformed the IT market, so too has the IT buyer’s journey. It used to be that customers were brand-specific, often asking for a product by name. This is no longer true. Instead, your customers will come to you with the specific challenges they are facing and ask you for creative solutions.
“The buyer’s journey has drastically changed,” said John Austin, Arrow’s Senior Manager of Strategic Alliances and Hybrid Cloud Solutions. “People have already done a great deal of research before they reach out to a sales person.” Therefore, it’s important for partners to be participating in end-customer education. This is one way to be in front of the sales conversation, so that you can steer the discussion in the right direction. Customers have already reviewed videos, testimonials and are well-versed in use cases about the solutions they are considering.
“Arrow and their partners are a critical component to end-customer education about how the cloud provides a plethora of opportunities to optimize and save costs for businesses through data protection, workload migration and much more,” stated Randy DeMeno, Commvault Chief Technologist.
After an end-customer has decided on a solution, the sales work doesn’t stop. Since cloud customers don’t pay for their solutions until they use it, it’s important to drive consumption. It’s a change in the typical sales mindset, because you need to continually work with the customer to adopt the technology.
“I think driving consumption comes with Arrow, Microsoft, Commvault and our partners all working together,” DeMeno explained. “A good example is the Microsoft ISV Co-sell, which provides incentives for Microsoft sales people to help close complementary solutions. It accelerates the end-customer adoption and accelerates joint selling to drive consumption.”
Embrace the New Buyer’s Journey
The sales role has definitely changed, with end-customers now being much more aware of technology before they even approach a sales person. Customers are no longer seeking specific brand products; but, instead, they are looking for solutions that cross vendor borders in their quest to solve the highly challenging issues they are facing.
If you want to see the entire hybrid cloud panel discussion or several other thought-provoking sessions from the Arrow Technology Summit, you may view them here.