Everything-As-A-Service And You
Maybe you haven’t heard yet about the idea of Everything-As-A-Service. HP has been talking about it, as has Verizon. Those two giants in particular are executing strategic initiatives in that direction, but they’re not alone, and we’re taking notice over here at Looks Cloudy. Vlad Mazek and I talked about it Friday on the Looks Cloudy Weather Report, but in general it’s not garnering a huge amount of attention. It should be. Everything-As-A-Service is a big deal, and could be the next big “game changer” in the channel.
EAAS is pretty simple, really: it’s as-a-service delivery of all the technology solutions that the user needs. Forget hybrid cloud and disparate standalone services. It’s Everything. As a service.
According to HP’s website, “In simplest terms, the cloud is the next evolution of the internet. Through the cloud, everything will be delivered as a service, from computing power to business processes to personal interactions.” Continuing, “…we have laid the groundwork to offer an integrated cloud ecosystem…”
EAAS also means “single source.” The ultimate one-stop-shop for technology is just around the corner; giants like HP and Verizon are working around the clock to fill out their portfolios to include Everything. As soon as possible.
Verizon has recently announced Google Apps For Verizon, which provides connectivity and office productivity for the user in the office and on the go with Verizon-connected devices. Verizon already has significant market share with small business broadband, but knows that part of their small business client’s technology budget is being spent on office productivity software (among other things) elsewhere. For the average small business, that “elsewhere” could be you, the solution provider. In no uncertain terms, Verizon want to take the Google Apps (or alternative hosted productivity suite) sales opportunity away from you.
Monte Beck, vice president of small-business marketing for Verizon, says in the Google Apps for Verizon press release: "Think of Verizon as a virtual CIO providing the total business solution consisting of all the key productivity tools needed to help business owners meet their business demands, and impress existing and new customers."
Yikes. Aren’t we supposed to be the Virtual CIOs?
Who wants to compete with them?
Is there anything we can do about this?
Some of you reading this may be managing your clients’ vendors like wireless carriers for them as a part of a service agreement or management plan. If so, kudos. In a specific sense, you may have a better shot at deflecting the marketing that Verizon and others will be conducting to try to poach your accounts. In a general sense, solution providers and MSPs like you who deliver those sorts of services have stronger and deeper relationships with their accounts that are less likely to be affected by propaganda from a carrier like Verizon. Because the effective end result of vendor management is making multiple relationships for multiple services look and feel like one, unified technology and support relationship.
Listen to last week’s Looks Cloudy Weather Report Podcast with Andy Fisher of Myriad Technology Solutions to find out more about one company that has mastered the art of managing vendor relationships and keeping the competition out.
EAAS would definitely qualify as “the next big thing” that we’ll see coming down the pike in the next few years. I expect you’ll continue to see changes up at the top, among big carriers like Verizon (like the recent acquisition of Terremark data centers), as they collaborate and bundle services together to create these single-source solutions, and though I hope I’m wrong, I also expect we’ll see some significant client attrition among solution providers who aren’t delivering “vendor management” for third party services.
As we’ve said many times before, this isn’t going to happen over night. Don’t freak out. Cloud computing adoption has been slow, and is still in pretty early stages in the small business. You’ve got some time (but not much, so hop to it!) to work on strengthening and deepening your client relationships if you need to.
Start talking with your clients about the services they aren’t getting from you. Ask a few questions about how happy they are with their cell services, their web hosting provider, whatever. You may just be able to score a few more bucks on a commission or an annuity agreement, add some more value by helping your client get a better deal or better solution, and and further competition-proof your relationships by moving in the EAAS direction yourself.
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.