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The Cloud Changes the Role of Field Personnel

Everyone could identify with Jimmy Fallon's portrayal of the IT guy who barks, "Move!" in the old "Saturday Night Live" skit. Funny then, and a reminder of how times have changed.

As businesses move to the cloud, the role of IT support is no longer focused on getting persnickety hardware to function, but to deliver the business value that technology promises. With that transformation, the skills that served IT well in the days of networking and break-fix aren't the same ones that support a successful cloud practice.

The Shift to Proactive
In the past, the services that MSPs, VARs and SIs offered were largely reactive, fixing and replacing machines and systems. As technology moves to the cloud, your value-add has to become proactive, helping customers make the right choices and using technology to improve their business.

Going from reactive to proactive is a huge transition for techs who are probably much more comfortable working in a server room than a boardroom. But while the transition may not be easy, the value that experienced technical personnel will bring to your clients can't be replaced.

Building People Skills
As part of your cloud transition plan, include training for all your employees on how to listen, observe and advise. Building people skills, especially for the techs working in the field with customers, will have a direct impact on your success with new business models.

Monthly company meetings are a great place to start. You probably already have a pretty good idea which team members can engage proactively, so you can use their skills to help the rest of the team. Role playing is a very effective tool to demonstrate how to deal with real-life customer situations.

Monitor with Satisfaction Surveys
The only way to know if your customers are getting the kind of service that will keep them happy and keep your business going is to ask them. If you don't have a survey process in place, this is a critical time for you to understand if you are delivering value to your customers.

With so many moving parts affecting your business strategy, it's easy to overlook key factors of your success. Your employees are your greatest asset and need guidance to make the leap to a new world with you.

How are you preparing your service teams to support new business models? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on June 27, 2013 at 11:58 AM


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