Success strategies for leveraging the cloud opportunity

By: Jelle Frank van der Zwet

The European market for infrastructure services is still dominated by hosting providers offering traditional hosting services, but the latest research is finding that cloud-based technologies will soon begin to overtake the traditional market.  It is becoming evident that hosting providers are in a position to capture significant cloud-market share by leveraging their current customer base.

The challenge hosting providers are facing is how to capture this market share and differentiate themselves with a product that is quickly becoming commoditised by the industry giants such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. 

After extensive conversations with European hosting providers, Interxion has outlined seven emergent success strategies for addressing the cloud opportunity.

  1. Don’t compete on price - Accept that the large public clouds will win the price war. Hosting providers should play to other strengths such as proximity to customers and knowledge of specific IT challenges facing customers.
  2. Choose integration – Hybrid cloud is the future, and customers will likely choose different providers to host different applications.  Hosting providers are in a position to move away from pure infrastructure provision and become trusted advisors and orchestrators of cloud services.
  3. Follow the IT lifecycle – Timing is everything. IT departments won’t switch to cloud as long as the existing solutions are working effectively.  Get to know the IT lifecycle of clients and choose your moment wisely.
  4. Offer maximum availability – One of the biggest stumbling blocks in the switch to cloud continues to be availability. Choose a data centre that meets the highest requirements and can provide business continuity and disaster recovery solutions.
  5. Put customers first – Sounds cliché, but the “service” element of cloud services is important. Invest in personnel who understand the needs of customers and hold partners to the same service standards.
  6. Invest in automation – As enterprise cloud management requirements become more complex, so too should the monitoring tools. Consider using cloud orchestration services such as Flexiant or OnApp that not only provides rapid provisioning, but intelligently scales on demand.
  7. Think mobile – With the rise of BYOD, enterprise IT departments need to support staff who require mobile-friendly access to their data anywhere at any time.