Ask the Experts: How Much Data Could I Lose in a Disaster?

Welcome to Ask the Experts, brought to you by Cloud Services University. In this video, Intelisys’ SVP Cloud Transformation Andrew Pryfogle discusses the right questions to ask customers when developing a disaster recovery plan with Bob Buchanan, Vice President of Windstream. Visit Cloud Services University to learn more about how to create a DR strategy for your customers:

Andrew: Okay, time for another Ask the Experts session. I’ve asked Bob Buchanan, Vice President of Channel Sales at Windstream Hosted Solutions, to jump back in the studio with me. Bob, welcome back, man.
Bob: Thanks. Thanks for having me, Andrew. Appreciate it.
Andrew: All right. We’re in our Advanced Data Networking Solutions Professional certification track. A big section of this is dedicated to this area of business continuity and disaster recovery. It’s kind of a hot topic for many customers. You hear terms like DRaaS or disaster recovery as a service. Windstream Hosted Solutions is a significant player in that market, and I wanted to get your perspective on this. As a Sales Partner that is interfacing directly with a customer, what role can a Sales Partner play in kind of helping an end-user customer develop a DR strategy? What are your thoughts on that?
Bob: I think it’s the perfect opportunity for Sales Partners to really position themselves as a consultant. It takes more than just asking the question to your customer base, “Do you have a DR plan?” If you really can get them thinking about the business impact, it’s going to guide you in the right direction. So rather than thinking about speeds, and feeds, and all the great things that are in your portfolio to solve a problem, if you really can get the customer, your customer, to think about, “If I had a disaster, how much data could I lose? How long could I actually be down? And what would the impact be?” If I ask the IT resource and the stakeholder in IT, would the answer be different than if I ask that to the head of sales, to the head of finance, to the CEO?
Our experiences are, they are different because if those systems and applications are down for a prolonged period of time, how does productivity from a sales perspective affect it? Can invoicing go out? Ultimately, what’s the impact to your customers? Cash, the oxygen of the organization. Once the customers get challenged that way and start thinking about the business impact and conduct a business impact analysis, they’re going to have a clear path to really making the right decisions around DR. Other than that, looking at . . . Once they embrace that discussion, trying to understand and identify and define the applications of the most critical, and then tiering those applications prior to you actually even presenting a solution.
Andrew: Interesting. So there’s a different kind of restoral expectation based on different types of applications. Interestingly enough, and I think it’s a big pearl that you just talked about there: The expectations from customers are different based on the title of the person you’re talking to.
Bob: Absolutely. I think that they’re looking through, in many cases, their world through a different prism. So if I’m the head of sales and I’ll look in my world. If our CRM system went down, if we weren’t able to access email, in my world that’s a mission critical problem. The head of IT at Windstream, while that’s a big issue, they’re not going to feel, and they understand that if those systems go down it’s a big problem, but they don’t necessary feel the same pain that I do at the front line.
Andrew: Yeah. Interesting. Very, very cool. So those are conversations that partners can easily drive with customers. It sounds like it’s another area where they can also easily differentiate, versus a lot of sales guys out there that aren’t really taking the conversation to that level.
Bob: Yeah. If you can successfully move the conversation away from . . . You’re going to get there eventually, it’s going to lead back to the technology, but move it away from the technology at first and really focus on the business. How does that business go about? Why do they exist? How do they make money? What is the business workflow within that organization and what are the systems that support that? If you can understand how they’re leveraging IT to operate that organization, you’re going to have a pretty comprehensive discussion and one that’s going to result in, most likely, in some opportunities.
Andrew: Love it. Yeah. Great stuff. Great stuff. Hey Bob, it’s always a pleasure to have you join, man. You always have some great insights for us. Thank you.
Bob: Appreciate it.
Andrew: Good deal. Guys, that’s Bob Buchanan. He’s Vice President of Channel Sales for Windstream Hosted Solutions, one of our go-to smart guys here at the University. Do make sure you dig deep into the learning center for Windstream Hosted Solutions. Great stuff there. If you study it and spend time, invest some time there guys, you’ll get smarter about how to close these big deals in the cloud with Windstream Hosted Solutions. Good selling, guys.