The Future of Digital Agencies is in the cloud, and it’s more accessible than you think
The cloud is everywhere. It’s the here and now. It’s the future, and it’s super relevant for Digital Agencies. The opportunities are limitless, if they want their business to thrive, that is.
It’s true to say that history repeats itself, with cycles of great change. Change which defines a new era and revolutionises our world. This new digital world goes far beyond how you’re hosting your client’s websites. The cloud is changing the way we, as users, interact with companies we buy products and services from. The way we communicate with our family, friends and colleagues, and how we learn and work.
Thanks to the cloud, technology is now more accessible. Companies large and small can make use of technologies like AI and machine learning, Big Data and IoT, to improve their business processes and decision making. For Digital Agencies, it’s the opportunity to embrace the cloud as part of their strategy and become their customers partner in this era of change.
A changing landscape? It’s almost unrecognisable
The pace of change has been astonishing over the last 40 years. There’s a whole generation who don’t know life before the internet; record players, 4 tv channels from a box with knobs you had to turn, and no pause button! A life when advertising agencies ruled, when products and services were immortalised in print, errors and all, at least until the next edition or print run.
Over the last 20 years, the landscape has changed even more dramatically. The digital revolution was just the beginning. As technology continues to evolve, so do its users. From baby boomers, to millennials, and the internet from day one – Generation Z, we’re using digital resources like it’s second nature.
Now is the time for the cloud to have its day in the sun, so to speak. Gartner predicts by 2021, we’ll be spending $302.5 billion worldwide on public cloud services. If you and your customers aren’t, chances are, you may not be around to tell the tale to the next generation.
This rapid pace of change is challenging for even the most forward-thinking businesses to keep up with. New cloud technologies are popping up on an almost daily basis, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all it has to offer, and hard to stay on top of it.
Where’s there’s challenge, there’s opportunity. Digital agencies who can accept that the way business is being done is evolving, are those who open themselves up to the opportunities this presents.
Is this change for the sake of change?
If you do the same thing, you get the same result. Utilising cloud technology isn’t about jumping on the bandwagon and putting ‘cloud’ in front of everything you do, it’s an evolution of your business model. Or least, it should be, if you truly want to benefit from everything the cloud has to offer.
For starters, it’s not about discarding everything you do now, it’s about adapting that experience and knowledge into a cloud-based offering that enhances your existing USPs. Without this, you run the risk of your customers pigeon-holing you as a supplier for one aspect of their business, or worse, moving everything to a cloud embracing digital agency.
You don’t need to go all-in and transform yourself into something unrecognisable. Instead, focusing on your core strengths and knowledge of your own customer landscape is a key component to future-proofing your cloud success.
There are so many facets in cloud technology, that there’s no single overriding benefit, there are many.
Different industries use technology in different ways, and in this respect the cloud is no different. For Digital Agencies, regardless of the customers they support, there are several great reasons to make friends with the cloud. Let’s explore a few of these.
You can make it your own, or their own
Any successful business knows that you can’t be all things to all people. That’s the beauty of the cloud. It’s multi-faceted, enabling you to make it do what you need it to do. This could pose a challenge in itself; a blank canvas can be daunting. Using your existing core skills and experience, coupled with a marketplace of available products and services you can tailor how you use the cloud to complement your customer needs.
Get to market faster
This brings us nicely to how quickly things can happen in the cloud. In spite of popular misconceptions, cloud computing is not about commodity, it’s about the availability of out of the box features. What once took weeks or months to develop, can now be done in days thanks to the rich feature sets of the Big 3 public clouds. The availability of familiar tools allows you to use your existing development skills and expertise, using a robust and secure infrastructure.
We’ve always had data, now we can use it
You no longer need to guess the future. You can use the cloud to analyse all of the data your customers collect to create meaningful insights which drive informed decision-making. Your great ideas become strategic directions, further deepening your relationship with your customer, from digital advisor to strategic partner.
A recurring revenue model
Using the cloud creates a totally new revenue stream. By offering your customers cloud-based services, you’ll be generating revenue month-on-month, and the more you use it, the more revenue you’ll generate. Even better, billing isn’t complicated, and you can see your usage down to the last byte.
Keep clients and win new ones
How do you turn these into tangible benefits? First look at your existing customers. Whilst some could appear set in their ways, the power of suggestion could get those cogs turning. With the continued chatter about the cloud, and a persuasive partner that they already trust behind them, change may not seem so daunting. Identifying simple but solid areas where the cloud can enhance what they’re already doing is just the beginning.
Confidence in the cloud, and a digital partner who can deliver solutions, builds stronger relationships. Digital Agencies who are savvy can benefit two-fold, by developing repeatable solutions that will attract new customers.
Hiring staff is a whole different ball game
Everyone knows, you should always hire people better than yourself, and this is certainly true when it comes to the cloud. To really understand what’s possible, available, desirable, you need someone in the know. Someone who lives, eat and breathes the cloud to drive your business forward.
Such skills don’t come cheap, and you need to be aware of the competition you’ll face in attracting the right people. According to ITJobsWatch, there’s been year-on-year growth for the amount of Cloud Solution Architect roles available during the last 3 years.
It doesn’t just begin and end with the technical skill set either. You’ve got to be able to position and sell your new capabilities. That means a tech savvy sales team who can interpret your customers’ needs into a buildable solution. Ideally, a repeatable one you can package and resell to your larger customer base.
Then of course, there’s the support. Do you want the distraction of providing 24/7 support. Or do you look outside your own walls, and find a reliable partner who can provide this?
All of this investment is high and leads to the question: to recruit, or to partner? Whilst in-house means you’ve got resource at your fingertips, do you need it? This really depends on your own cloud strategy, and how you can support it.
What you’re good at, but not as you know it
Fundamentally, the cloud won’t just change who you hire, it will change your agency portfolio. Rather than being seen as a replacement, the cloud is a means to enhance what you’re already doing brilliantly. You know your business better than anyone else, and you know what makes you’re your customer tick. Cloud technology is accessible, available and isn’t just for IT providers. It’s the opportunity to create an even better version of your business, one that is future-proofed and prepared for the growth that embracing cloud technology can bring.
Powerful partnerships to drive cloud growth
Just as you can power the growth of your customers by acting as a strategic partner rather than a supplier, think what a strategic relationship with a cloud business could do for you. With a strong tech partner by your side, you’ll have the confidence you need to push digital boundaries. Whether it’s developing IP or creating new routes to market for your agency. Partnerships provide you with more skills, more support, more experience and a larger portfolio to offer. All of which allow you to enhance your relationships with your customer, and ultimately, generate more revenue.
We’ve been working directly with digital agencies for more than 10 years and over that time we’ve honed our expertise around the value-add technology we can bring to their clients and agency business models. We pride ourselves on one open, collaborative, people-based approach. We’ve created digital agency specific managed services, solution design and delivery, plus tier-less 24/7 technical support to complement your cloud needs. Which is why we’re the digital agency partner of choice, time and again.
It’s a brave new digital world out there, and for those digital agencies with the desire for it, the opportunities this presents are boundless.
The cloud has the power to build your business into a future-proofed, strategic partner your customers rely on and trust. Data insights and business intelligence are making it easier for businesses to make informed decisions and develop strategies to take advantage of these opportunities.
The cloud isn’t a one size fits all model, it’s what you want it to be. Knowing how to mould it takes experience and technical capability, and that is really all about who you know. Partnering with a specialist technology who understands the digital landscape you operate in is vital to successfully navigate your journey with the cloud.