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Clearing the Air: Why Hybrid Cloud is Right for your Clients [1:00:39]

Learn why hybrid cloud solutions work for you and your clients.

Knowing how and when to guide your customers towards cloud services is making the difference between surviving and thriving in SMB IT. Join Bill Hersh, Solutions Coordinator as he focuses on what today's SMB clients expect of their IT and how you can meet those expectations profitably. From the cloud to far behind the corporate firewall, it's a different IT world; let's make sure that we're all ready to meet today's IT challenges head-on! Watch this webcast as Bill:

  • Identifies the top issues, IT priorities and challenges facing SMBs in 2016
  • Introduces technologies that specifically address these challenges
  • Reviews specific solutions to enhance SMB storage, networking and overall business simplicity
  • Recommends strategies and tools to help you grow your VAR business by offering hybrid cloud solutions
  • Answers your questions during the live Q&A session following the video webcast
Cloud got you curious?

Do you all have a good "Business Assessment Check List" framework?
We have our Business Assessment Checklist and Business Assessment Follow-Up templates available in the Resources section of a previous webcast, VAR Best Practices: Building Your Business By Doing What's Right For Your Customers. The webcast goes over our recommendations; you may also find value in a later webcast, Conversations With Clients.

Are there any good and effective simply CRM solutions for a SMB?
There are, indeed. There are also CRM solutions that scale nicely from small business/minimal use the whole way up to large organization/use CRM for everything. From our perspective, we recommend that any of our VAR partners interested in CRM start by purchasing the Microsoft Action Pack and implementing that software into running their businesses. The Action Pack gives you access to both on-premises and cloud-based versions of most Microsoft products, including servers, Windows clients, Office products, Office 365, and Dynamics CRM. If you have the bandwidth to consider beta-testing products, we also recommend trying out Microsoft's Project Madeira, found here.

What vendor partners offer site surveys and how do they work in terms of cloud solutions?
NETGEAR offers free site surveys for clients and ZyXEL offers the tools to conduct your own site surveys. If you are interested in either of these offers, please let us know at

What if something happens to the cloud? I won't have access to my data.
Agreed, you don't, much the same way that you don't have access to your data if your local server goes down, if your power goes out, or if you are not in the office with easy access to a local server. The key differences are A) the cloud is much more robust than a single server anywhere, and so is far less likely to go down, and B) a local server does not offer financial reparations if it is down over an hour, which Microsoft does for their cloud customers. That being said, we continue to recommend a hybrid cloud scenario, where workloads are shared between on-premises resources and cloud resources.

Biggest problem I have run into, is marketing, per user, solutions to a high turnover customer. Is there a sales solution for this problem?
A cloud solution is actually ideal for a high-turnover client. By using CSP-housed cloud solutions, your customer is taking advantage of what Microsoft calls “utility billing”, much like your home electric or cable bill. In this model, the customer is only paying for what they use in any given month, so if they have fourteen employees in one month, are back down to twelve in the next month, and up to sixteen the month after that, they pay for the number of employees that were using their cloud applications and resources in that month. This works very well for seasonal companies, too, like accountants in the spring approaching tax season and retail stores over the holiday season as they bring on seasonal help and then reduce workforce again afterwards.

Does hybrid cloud offer all these solutions, such as managed hardware, managed software (CRM, ERP, etc.) or do we have the opportunity to load customers own software into the cloud? Compatibility?
Hybrid cloud is a lever to take advantage of these things, not a way to offer them. Hybrid cloud is simply blending your traditional on-premises infrastructure with cloud infrastructure in a way that offers each customer their best ROI for any given investment. The ideal net result, in our mind, is better business processes for your customers, with less spend on those processes, while freeing up capital to implement additional technologies that may have been waiting for free funds.
Who owns my data when it's in the Microsoft data center? Clients are fearful that when they store data in the cloud they don't own it anymore.
This is not a new question, and I can answer only for Microsoft and D&H. The simple answer is: your data is your data, using any of Microsoft's cloud infrastructure does not change that. You can get much more detailed verbiage from Microsoft's Cloud Privacy page, found here. If you have further questions on this sensitive subject, please contact us at

Why do I have to move all of my customers to the cloud?
You don't. There's no reason to move all of any customer's business to cloud, unless they will see efficiencies and growth from making the move. What we're seeing is that most small businesses are able to see financial benefit with no loss in productivity or profitability by moving some workloads to the cloud. At the same time, we're seeing that many customers feel better when they start slowly, moving some of their business to cloud while leaving some of it on traditional servers on-premise.

I won't move my customers to any cloud services because cloud services are insecure.
Nowhere near true, at least with any reputable cloud vendors. Bear in mind, Microsoft Azure and Office365 both include end-to-end encryption standard for all packages, HIPAA compliance, SarbOx compliance, and two-factor authentication for users. Do you have all of those technologies set up for your customers? Possibly, but unlikely, and why? Because they are complex technologies that require a lot of management and hand-holding, all of which are included for all customers at no additional charge.

My customers won't pay for any managed services; they don't see the value in them.
This is the single-most-offered objection that we hear. There are a couple of angles to this. First, managed services are not for every client, but they do offer value to most clients. Second, a big part of making the move to managed services is making your customers understand the value that you bring to their business. Please note, if all that you provide your customers is product fulfillment and you have no strategic relationship with them, you have more work to do. Third, we are all familiar with client turnover as new businesses enter the marketplace and old businesses leave it. The needs expressed by businesses being launched today are far different from those given by businesses launched a decade ago. If you are not prepared to meet those needs, you will find your customer base shrinking. Our goal today is to avoid that shrinkage.

I don't think that my customers need most of this stuff. I don't understand why you keep pushing more than my customers ask for.
While some small businesses are happy and profitable with very little IT, the fact is that growing small businesses and more mature medium businesses are looking for ways to be more competitive and successful. There are a number of ways to become more competitive, but the two most common and the easiest to implement are A) dropping price below anyone else's and B) using technology to offer more value to the end-customer than the competition can. Dropping price is easy, but it's not sustainable; at some point, it WILL cost you your business. Technology, on the other hand, allows a business to tailor their offerings, whether products, services, or a combination, to the exact audience that they want. It also enables that business to understand their end-customers better than the competition does, allowing them to avoid making unwise investments and to laser-focus on what that customer really wants. Can you stay in business selling file servers and repairing PCs? Sure, lots of people are. At the same time, the businesses with money to spend and the intelligence to understand that they must differentiate are going to migrate to those VARs that can make technology a competitive differentiator. That leaves all of the "mechanics" fighting over fewer customers, and those customers are the ones that don't want to spend money. You can follow the logic from here.

We would like to move in the directions that you guys talk about, but we're not sure where to start, and we don't want to spend money on tries-and-misses. Can you help or direct us to someone who can?
Absolutely, we can do both! First, we can offer the recommendations that we see working for hundreds of VARs all over the country; contact us at and we'll go over your exact situation and what we see as the most economical ways to improve your business. Second, most of the vendors that we recommend have excellent partner programs, most of which include demo programs, marketing materials and direction, and a ton of technical support. We can go over this when you contact us, or you can simply let us know who your preferred vendors are (or which categories you don't have preferred vendors for) and we'll get you connected to local vendor reps and directions for signing up with their partner programs.

Feel free to contact the Solutions Lab team at or contact Solutions Lab team members individually at their contact information below:

Bill Hersh
Bill Hersh, Solutions Coordinator
800.877.1200, Extension 7626

Trevor Schubert
Trevor Schubert, Solutions Specialist
800.877.1200, Extension 7976

Chris Phillips
Chris Phillips, Solutions Specialist
800.877.1200, Extension 7976

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