There’s no denying it – cloud has arrived. Cloud technology has seen adoption grow rapidly in recent years and is expected to be even bigger business. Forrester (News - Alert) expects public cloud services to be worth $236 billion by 2020 and, if the new year hasn’t sunk in yet, that’s just three years away.
Many solutions providers would do well to consider shifting to an as-a-service model rather than sticking to selling and shipping software as a product. We’ve seen many of the big players shift to this model and find success.
Take Adobe (News - Alert), for example. Instead of charging thousands of dollars for perpetual licenses, they repackaged their software as Creative Cloud. Users subscribe to get access to the entire Adobe arsenal via subscription. The cheaper subscription price made it more accessible for individual creative professionals, increasing legitimate use and curbing piracy. Creative Cloud is estimated to now have 8 million paying subscribers.
The need for consumer education
As more solutions providers commit to this shift, a key aspect that businesses need to pay attention to is consumer education. For B2B companies offering enterprise-grade solutions, the selling process requires compelling ways to turn prospects into clients. While products that cater to small businesses and consumers can still do away with free tiers and how-to user videos posted online, this doesn’t necessarily work for complex enterprise-grade solutions. Users need to be immersed before they can appreciate the value these complex systems bring.
Until today, many B2B enterprise solutions providers still have “portable” rigs that sales and training engineers lug around across locations in order to do trainings and product demos. But with cloud technologies, it is now possible to ditch these physical servers and host their training environments in cloud instances.
Shifting to the cloud makes sense. For those involved in such business activities, this means that they need not tie down resources in physical servers (that may see downtime) and only create instances when needed.
Turnkey solutions to the rescue
The competition between Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure has driven cloud pricing down. Instances can be created on demand and cheaply. But flexible as these cloud resource providers are, plenty of configuration still needs to be done for these to function for training. Features such as user management and communication need to be integrated for the setup to be an optimal virtual laboratory.
This is where turnkey solutions come in. While cloud resource providers like AWS and Azure can readily give you the components on demand, turnkey cloud solutions like CloudShare automate the whole process of setting up virtual environments while providing the necessary training and demo functionalities.
Here are some advantages of turnkey cloud solutions that make them viable choices for training and sales-driven organizations over generic cloud resource providers:
- Speed. Generic cloud services can give you the virtual environment part in seconds, but setting up the lab component can take time. Turnkey solutions have templates readily available which you can use and customize. Virtual labs can be ready in a matter of minutes. These templates also save more effort over the course of time since you can simply replicate your lab setup instantly, which is handy if you conduct training and demos often.
- Management. Perhaps the most critical part of any virtual lab or even product demo is letting the users immerse themselves in your system through hands-on interaction. Hands-on demos give them the chance to truly experience the software in real-world settings. On top of that, facilitators can effectively guide users on their use and address queries and concerns through communication and collaboration tools in real time.
- Flexibility. Turnkey solutions can create environments that simulate actual deployment scenarios (if the client eventually opts for an on-premises or hybrid deployments) since you can choose computing resources (like CPU, memory, and storage) and stacks will be used in each instance.
- Cost. The speedy deployment and user management tools already make turnkey solutions a viable investment. Cloud-based deployments can easily help save on the need of setting up on-premises infrastructure just to hold training or conduct a product demo, not to mention the risk of moving around physical hardware. Many of these services are subscription-based, giving you the option to simply avail as needed.
Focus more on the business
Adopting turnkey solutions ultimately wins you the freedom to focus on what matters more for your business. Training or sales teams can worry less about preparing infrastructure and dedicate more time in critical functions such as delivering helpful content and connecting with your customers. It’s never a question of whether or not a business is competent enough to create things from scratch. In the end, it’s the results that matter.
Edited by Alicia Young