Guest Blogs

Blog archive

Marching Orders 2016: Recognize Cloud as a Side Show

Editor's Note: Throughout the month of January, we'll be running installments of Marching Orders, our annual collection of advice and predictions from channel luminaries about what to do and what to expect in the year ahead. For this entry, RCP blogger and columnist Barb Levisay addresses a major marketing trend.

While cloud has gotten all the press the past couple of years, there has been an even more profound shift affecting your business. Business strategy and technology have become inseparable. Today's strategic objectives are executed through technology -- from product engineering to customer interactions. That fundamentally changes the role that you, as IT service provider, play.

In your client's leadership meetings, the conversations about IT have changed. Regardless of how big the company, business leaders are trying to figure out how to use technology to disrupt, augment and extend their services and operations. Your clients need you at the table to participate in those conversations...and then they need the rest of your team to deliver.

As a leader in your own organization, you are probably perfectly comfortable having strategic conversations with clients. That's a great first step, but strategic objectives aren't achieved in the executive suite.

For partners, the transition to the cloud has to be accompanied by the transition from technology consulting to business consulting. The time has come for everyone in your business to switch from comparisons of server capacity to conversations about business process. It's not going to happen overnight and it's going to require investment in education and training.   

Each role in your organization will need help and motivation to change the way they work.

  • For salespeople who have spent their careers talking about hardware, the transition may be the hardest, if not impossible. Attempting to drive behavior through compensation alone sets them up for failure. Consider outside coaching from someone who has helped others make the transition.

  • Consultants and support techs are probably more tuned in to the business process changes that technology drives. As their work becomes increasingly intertwined with business operations, they will need training to be able to provide guidance on issues like compliance and industry best practices.

  • You may need to hire a different type of consultant than you have ever employed -- a business analyst. The role of a business analyst is to act as translator between technology and the business processes that support strategic initiatives.

  • Don't overlook your marketing people. They need to understand the change in your buyers' perspective. Send them out with salespeople and consultants to see for themselves how the conversations with clients are changing.

While it's easy to focus on the cloud as the transformer of your future, it's not the biggest player. Yes, the cloud is enabling many of these technologies, but it's just the platform. The real revolution is how business strategy is being reshaped and driven forward by technology. And that's where you should come into the conversation.

More Marching Orders 2016:

Posted by Barb Levisay on January 14, 2016


  • Image of a futuristic maze

    The 2024 Microsoft Product Roadmap

    Everything Microsoft partners and IT pros need to know about major Microsoft product milestones this year.

  • SharePoint Embedded Becomes Generally Available

    After a six-month preview, SharePoint Embedded, an API-based version of SharePoint that developers and ISVs can use to embed Microsoft 365 capabilities into their apps, is now generally available.

  • Copilot in Microsoft 365 Getting Agents, Extensions and Team (Not Teams) Support

    Microsoft is adding more functionality to its Copilot AI assistant aimed at improving business collaboration, processes and workflows for Microsoft 365 users.

  • Microsoft Giving Startups Templates To Build AI Apps

    A new perk for businesses enrolled in the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub program aims to fast-track their ability to build AI-powered applications.