By Andrew J. Drag
With the shift to Office 365, service providers will need to move from hosted Exchange solutions to reselling Microsoft Office 365 services. Exchange Online is quickly replacing not only the hosted Exchange solutions, but also many enterprises’ Exchange on-premises deployments. As of October 2017, Microsoft had more than 120 million mailboxes in Office 365, having a 10 percent constant growth every quarter. By FY ’19 it is estimated they will have two-thirds of their commercial customers moved from on-premises deployments to their cloud. This presents a problem for service providers offering managed or hosted Exchange or SharePoint solutions in terms of lost business. The end users also have a hidden problem. Their data may be replicated for high availability and there is no provided solution for data recovery.
To fill the void, service providers engaging in the Microsoft Cloud Service Provider Program have the ability to act as an aggregator for Microsoft and resell cloud services. However, this only partially replaces the revenue lost from no longer offering these services themselves.
Microsoft offers great services at great prices and helps reduce the overheard of running your own Exchange, SharePoint and file sync and share products. While part of these offerings is a guarantee of high availability, many customers are not aware that Microsoft does not offer a native backup solution. They also may not know that they are responsible for the management of their cloud data. On the surface it is difficult to see or understand these gaps in the Microsoft offerings. This presents a unique opportunity for service providers to proactively identify their customers’ need and in turn recover their lost revenue through these new opportunities.
Some service providers may already have a solution to protect customer’s data, but do they have a single solution to protect all three of the core offerings of Office 365 as well as additional enterprise data? Managing multiple point products makes it more time consuming and costly to manage and even bill their customers.
If a service provider is already acting as an aggregate, they are likely helping their customers migrate to the cloud. However, once the user is in the cloud, what added benefit will the service provider add? Without having a differentiator, the service provider will look less attractive in the eyes of the customer. As more and more migrations take place, the service provider may be collecting a fee for the Office 365 account management, but not much else. Eventually these customers will be lost. It seems dire and at first appears the only solutions are to become a reseller or to load up on products from multiple vendors to satisfy business needs.
Those solutions are far from ideal. Rather than go that route, service providers can educate customers on their data management responsibilities. This is especially important in those highly regulated sectors and opens the opportunity as being their data management and cloud expert. Microsoft isn’t known as a backup and recovery company, which translates into limited offerings. Make mention that compliance could come into play especially in regions where a secondary offline copy of data is required. Let customers know that a recycle bin on the desktop of a server was never an excuse to not perform backup and that using a recycle bin in the cloud is exactly the same.
Make the customer aware that they are responsible for their own data, and they’ll recognize the need a solution for backup, recovery and compliance. Once a customer is operating in the cloud and consuming applications as a service with no administration of hardware or applications to worry about, these customers don’t want to add new infrastructure or administer a new solution to protect that data, let alone that which may reside on-premises. Customers will have more services and applications than just Office 365, customers tend to have databases, virtual machines, and other cloud applications as well. Those other applications can’t just remain unprotected.
This is where service providers can fill the gap by providing backup, recovery, compliance, accessibility to data, as well as migration services. The headache of loading up on multiple point products, training staff across them, managing licensing, figuring out billing, having multiple portals for customers to use, or designing a custom portal is something nobody strives for. A single solution to cover all these needs sure would be the most sensible route.
Enter Commvault. The Commvault Data Platform has been designed as an expandable solution for all encompassing data protection needs and is constantly expanding in its capabilities. The Commvault Data Platform offers the benefit of a single, easy to use interface that protects Office 365 along with Azure/AWS VM’s, RDS instances, other cloud applications, as well as enterprise applications. For service providers, Commvault manages all of this with ease. Commvault software has native multi-tenancy, allows for end-user self-service, delivers easy to read and customizable reports for billing, among many other benefits. There are too many benefits, in fact, to list.
With such a wide array of supported products being continuously expanded, service providers can increase their service catalog while staying ahead of the competition. Having such a large portfolio of services also allows service providers to attach to new customers they may not have normally targeted by offering a range of plans at different price point. The Commvault infrastructure is designed to maximize hardware use keeping those costs down. Licensing costs are spread across the entire platform and training is significantly reduced, unlike what would be required when pulling multiple point products together piecemeal. By using Commvault, service providers can increase their customer base and drive higher revenue, all while keeping costs low.
Adding O365 Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) also reduces the risks their customers would have. No fear of lost data, customers being in non-compliance with regulations, or to an extreme, loss of business. Commvault provides the insurance policy that customers need when dealing with business critical data. While many service providers are noticing the impact of the migration to Office 365, offering Office 365 BaaS is an opportunity to recapture your revenue, attract new customers and elevate your data management and cloud expertise.