Should You Buy or Build Cloud Solutions for Your Customers?

Brian Garoutte

In the last few articles, we’ve discussed the benefits of cloud computing for your end customers. Whether cost savings, security, scalability, or simply allowing you to scale without overhead or additional staff, the benefits of embracing the cloud are plentiful.

The next question is what are your opportunities in the cloud other than ready-to-sell solutions like Office 365, SharePoint Online, CRM Dynamics. In this blog, we will talk about how you can service your customers and whether you should “buy” and resell cloud services or you should help them “build” their own solutions.


Why neither “buy all” or “build all” is ideal

Dropbox started file hosting and sharing by hosting those files on AWS datacenters. After nearly ten years of scaling and expanding, Dropbox now builds its own cloud infrastructure to have complete control over the performance, reliability, and overall user experience for … 500 million users and is storing 500 petabytes of data.

“The scale that we’re operating on is one that very few other companies will get to,” said Akhil Gupta, vice president of Infrastructure for Dropbox. He admitted that most companies would not see a huge benefit from building their own infrastructure. It took Dropbox two and a half years and personnel investments to build their infrastructure from scratch. Certainly a different scale, but a “build all” strategy requires significant time and resource investment, regardless of size.

“Buy all” is an alternative approach that is possible for most managed service providers. IaaS cloud computing offers infrastructure services that work well for most workloads. “Buy all” offers MSPs a quick, easy way to drive profitability from the cloud without any overhead investment of staff training. However, “buy all” only offerings are easy to be replicated by competitors.

How to create your IP with “buy and build” approach

In most cases, the combination of “buy and build” will give you the best return on investment – save time and resources on tasks that can be automated, while you can focus on customizing features and bundling offers your customers demand.

Leverage a third-party service first (buy), and then customize, package, and resell it as your own solution (build). The management of a cloud platform or cloud application involves several questions. Many of them can be answered and taken care of by third-party vendors. For example:

  • Cloud Infrastructure: Microsoft Azure can offer you 99.95% availability, so you are free of any data center management tasks.
  • RDS Hosting: MyCloudIT can give you an end-to-end platform to deliver your future cloud applications, so you don’t have to worry about the connectivity, user gateway, user management, app schedules, and so on.

Focus on your core competencies and let others focus on theirs. By leveraging Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platform-as-a-Service technologies you can save time and money from managing and monitoring the hardware and hosting services, and focus on delivering what matters to your customers.

In short, unless you are operating at a large scale with lots of customization, or you are serving mom and pop shops with basic email, desktop, and application needs, you should view the cloud as a “buy and build” opportunity to create your unique cloud offerings.

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