Ask the Experts: Where Do I Start With Customized Cloud Solutions?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle talks about customizing cloud solutions with Matrix’s President Neely Loring. Learn more about the ratio of customers that require customized cloud solutions versus plug-and-play cloud solutions and the first steps to getting started from Neely and the Matrix team here:

Andrew: Okay, guys. I’m really excited about being able to have this conversation with one of our esteemed faculty members. Please welcome Neely Loring. Neely is the President of Matrix, one of our cloud suppliers in our portfolio and one of the smartest guys I know in this industry. Neely, welcome.
Neely: Thanks. Good to be here.
Andrew: All right. I want to ask you one question. When it comes to cloud and designing solutions for cloud, give us a sense here of how much of a solution for customers is typically shrink wrapped–off-the-shelf, plug-and-play kind of stuff–versus customized to meet a customer’s requirements. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Neely: Sure. It’s kind of like, “What’s the meaning of life?” Each one is going to have a different answer. For the most part, in very general terms, we look at it as they’re all about 80% the same and 20% different. That 80% is they have to have servers that allow you to connect. They have to have somebody doing monitoring and being able to respond. But each customer is going to have special components of their business–how they run it. The point here is how we take technology as a real asset and mold it around the business. That’s the point–and so how they do business, going in and exploring the way that their workflows are, soup to nuts, then answers that question. It could be 60/40. It could be 90/10.
You do have some extreme cases on the very, very low end and the very, very high end where it’s, “I want these components. You can’t change it,” but that’s not really the customers that we’re targeting as a group. We’re all targeting that mid-market, so imagine it’s in-between the two bookends. I’d go with the 80/20 rule.
Andrew: Makes sense. With that, that’s a fair amount of customization that has to happen on every deal. What’s the expectation that a Sales Partner should have if they’re working with you or one of our other cloud suppliers? What would you recommend to them? Do they need to be expert in figuring out the customization piece, or can they lean on resources like you and your team?
Neely: I’ll tell you: the people that we see succeeding and closing the biggest deals do exactly the outsource of what they don’t know. What I’m saying is, you find the opportunity, that’s your job; then bring in the specific expert–maybe desktop, maybe voice, maybe other pieces. But the Sales Partner needs to remember that they’re the glue that sticks all this together; so bringing in the right components early on after the first call. When you hear the word cloud, you need to reach out and pick some experts, so that we can really dig in and figure out who the right supplier is even.
Andrew: Got it. Got it. Makes sense. Bottom line, if you’re working a cloud opportunity, bank on the fact that there’s going to be a lot of customization involved; so get the smart guys to the table early on to have them really help drive that conversation around what part of the business solution needs to be customized.
Neely, it makes sense. Thanks so much for your time, guys. Neely Loring, again, part of the faculty here at the Cloud Services University. President of Matrix, headquartered out of Columbia, South Carolina. Make sure that you check out their learning center. We’re big fans of them. Neely, thanks for your time and your wisdom, as always, my friend.
Neely: Thanks for having me, Andrew.
Andrew: All right. Good selling.