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ChannelTrends: From Coffee to Cloud, Quality is a Winning Philosophy by Brian Sherman on Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CompTIA Blog

ChannelTrends: From Coffee to Cloud, Quality is a Winning Philosophy

Rather than take the low cost route, savvy entrepreneurs focus their differentiation efforts on the quality, usability and convenience of their product and services portfolio. Starbucks serves as a great example of an organization that took the high road, creating an extremely successful business selling a drink that virtually every restaurant and corner store carries. Who would have guessed so many people would stand in line every day to pay $5 for a single cup of coffee? Apparently, the Starbucks founders did, as the three developed a successful strategy with a focus on excellence in the beverages they serve as well as the overall customer experience.

While the masses may flock to the lowest price, companies that deliver quality services and products also attract a sizable audience. Of course, businesses that focus on excellence are more likely to succeed in the long term, building the customer loyalty and profitability levels needed to meet future growth goals. Strong fiscal health permits greater flexibility and creativity and gives management teams more resources to broaden their promotional and sales activities. While low-price strategies tend to limit those operations, the excellence-differentiator approach has the opposite effect when properly executed.

That lesson is good one for IT professionals to consider when crafting their cloud services model. While pushing a Starbucks-style pricing differential could be a difficult proposition in most competitive markets, solution providers can focus their energy on building and delivering a quality portfolio of services. When IT businesses pay more attention to their specific customer needs and design premier systems and support plans that enhance the overall cloud user experience, they’ve created a real differentiator. With the proper marketing, support and sales people and procedures in place, the opportunities are endless. 

How do providers get started when they want to build a cloud practice that stands apart from the crowd – in a good way? The best method for distinguishing any company begins with acquiring industry certifications and relevant business credentials that not only enhance its skills and efficiencies, but elevate its professional reputation. Accreditation and authorizations offer a number of status-enhancing and promotional advantages to solution providers. For those looking to set themselves apart in the latest service delivery field, CompTIA recently introduced a new tool to assist in that quest – the CompTIA Cloud+ certification. This carefully crafted individual accreditation was designed for experienced network, storage, system and data center administrators and other professionals who are working with cloud and virtualized environments. Any IT business looking to build and promote a formidable new practice with these specializations should encourage, if not incentivize, its team members to seek this designation. 

As cloud becomes a greater part of the corporate IT infrastructure, more businesses will be looking for expert guidance to tailor and implement a variety of solutions to meet their unique needs. With the growth of mobility and remote office technologies, more organizations are shifting their system architecture offsite and their reliance on Web-based technologies is also projected to increase. When solution providers promote their business expertise in these areas, as well as their team’s related certifications, more opportunities are sure to come their way.

The recently released CompTIA Fourth Annual Trends in Cloud Computing end-user study confirmed several of these trends, including several positive developments that VARs and MSPs should be paying close attention to. For example, approximately half of the organizations surveyed indicate that they are becoming more reliant on Web-based solutions for data storage (58 percent), business continuity and disaster recovery (48 percent) and security (44 percent).

Before moving any of those business-critical solutions to the cloud, companies must have confidence in the people and the organization making the migration. Providers with a commitment to excellence and the ability to communicate the high value of their services are likely to garner the attention of those potential clients. Whether aspiring to be the Starbucks of solution provider businesses or just looking to increase application capabilities, the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification will help any IT business meet its future practice goals. 

Brian Sherman is founder of Tech Success Communications, specializing in editorial content and consulting for the IT channel. His previous roles include chief editor at Business Solutions magazine and senior director of industry alliances with Autotask. Contact Brian at

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