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The past six months have seen customers accelerate cloud adoption and the use of hosted tools that can help them deal with the challenges of working during the coronavirus.
For many, this is going to be a turning point, and even as the “new normal” emerges, the move to cloud will prove to be a more permanent legacy of Covid-19. The pandemic might have a profound impact on customers, but it’s also the moment for the managed services community to evaluate their position.
There continues to be a high proportion of MSPs that offer a limited number of cloud services, with many putting their toes in the water but avoiding going too much further. The current situation has challenged that mindset.
“Not only can the businesses not come to the office, but the MSPs that service them could not come to the office either,” said Joseph Landes, chief revenue officer at Nerdio.
“A lot of these MSPs were saying they wished they were able to operate remotely and that they were running a Windows virtual desktop so they could service customers the way they should,” he said. “It has caused MSPs to rethink their role in the ecosystem.”
“I always like to say, and I’ve said it a lot more since the pandemic, that if you are an MSP and are not in the cloud, you are very behind,” said Landes. “You will ultimately fade to an irrelevant nature if you are not able to offer a cloud service to your customers.”
He said that it had seen a “big transition” from MSPs in the past few months, as they realised they needed to embrace the cloud and that customers of all sizes were demanding more cloud services.
Building cloud practices in Azure
The supplier specialises in helping MSPs build cloud practices in Azure, and in many cases build on the steps they have taken to provide customers with Microsoft 365.
“Prior to Covid, I felt that one of my primary jobs at Nerdio was to be the chief evangelist of Nerdio and go to events to talk to people about why they should build a cloud practice,” said Landes. “It was my number one job to convince them, but I can tell you that after the pandemic [outbreak] I don’t have to talk as much or convince as hard.”
But there continues to be a need for education, with many MSPs misconstruing what it means to really be in the cloud.
“If you look to most MSPs, about 85-90% are using Microsoft 365 for their clients – but very few have moved to Microsoft Azure,” he said. “That’s why you shouldn’t be confused and say ‘I’m in the cloud’ because you are offering Micrtosoft 365, because that’s only step one. Step two is going to your customers and taking those dusty servers out of the closet and saying, ‘We’re not doing this anymore: it’s time to move to the cloud’.”
Landes warned against running headlong into trying to deliver cloud without getting the foundations right, but said that more MSPs were getting the message about the need to change.
“There’s a phrase I like to use, which is ‘move fast, but don’t rush’, he said. “I think a lot of MSPs are trying to move fast but they don’t necessarily want to rush into it – but they are definitely rushing faster than they were six months ago.
“I believe that if you’ve been thinking about it and putting it off, you are already behind, and you need to catch up very quickly,” said Landes. “Microsoft Azure is a world of abundance right now, and a world of opportunity.”