The beauty of large Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google is that their primary focus is on making the back-end technology as efficient as humanly (and even technically) possible.
They achieve this by leveraging economies of scale (driving costs down), constantly innovating (delivering more functionality/new products) and remaining flexible (elastic infrastructure helps businesses become more agile/innovative). All of this leads to a great result for customers because, across the board, the cloud products and infrastructure that they have access to are cutting edge and are, of course, low-cost.
This is without mentioning the global cloud infrastructure that these providers control and the opportunity this offers for multinational customers or those seeking to expand.
Last year, AWS alone had over 280 new products and major releases – this year, there has been even more.
Gone (or going) are the slow-moving behemoths that sold you the same, bulky equipment, rebadged every 12 months. Say hello to the new incumbents, the growing but ever–moving CSPs that are pumping out products like there is no tomorrow.
All of this is great, but it’s difficult for customers to keep up and take full advantage of these new solutions. Doing so would be far too expensive and require a pretty sophisticated IT team, not to mention the IT downtime and training that is usually associated with these sorts of updates.
Those businesses that were game to try cloud in the early days were often left disappointed when directed to a “We apologise and are working hard to fix this issue” blog post, because they were more often than not looking for a solution to a problem rather than an answer to a question.
The real beauty, and love, of cloud computing has only come about following the emergence of new partners that live in the realm between individual customer engagement and large scale-cloud infrastructure. These companies’ bottom lines are heavily reliant on customer retention, something that is primarily driven by a deeper understanding of their business needs, ongoing satisfaction and service uptime.
Partners help their customers better understand their own needs and ensure that the cloud platform they choose is designed to directly support these. Simply, CSPs are commoditising the cloud by supplying a large number of jigsaw pieces or components, whereas partners take the time to understand customers’ requirements and put the pieces together.
It would be impossible for AWS, Google or any other large CSP to create hundreds of thousands of customised solutions and service models for each customer, while still making a profit. Because of their size, the best they can do now is continue to innovate at the top and maintain service uptime while letting their channel partners provide the individualised value for each customer.
Mark Randall is chief customer officer at Bulletproof.