In today’s rapidly evolving technology landscape staying relevant is a major challenge for many organizations. Cloud services present a clear path to staying ahead of the curve. Ensuring customers are cloud ready is central to ongoing success. IDC predicts that by 2020, public IT cloud services will account for a whopping 58% of the $355 billion combined spending on traditional plus public cloud applications, development and deployment tools, infrastructure software, storage, and servers?  Additionally, the growth of Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a testament to the power of the cloud. With over 1 million active users, revenue of $4.5B in Q3 17, and 40% year over year growth, the public cloud phenomenon is indisputable. 
Develop a Path to the Future
If you weren’t “born in the cloud” don’t worry. With proper preparation, you will be poised to take advantage of the cloud momentum. But as with any significant market shift, you must carefully plan and adopt a forward-thinking business model. This can’t be an “all or nothing” strategy. In fact, we find our most successful partners take a balanced execution approach – keeping one foot firmly planted for today, but also planning for the future of cloud. This strategy satisfies use cases we frequently see, such as customers that utilize a virtualized private cloud with AWS at play for part of their infrastructure, such as disaster recovery.
The days of “one and done” deployments are over. Customers are looking to channel partners to join them on their journey to the cloud, and to help them drive business value and agility over time. Channel partners that are successful in staying ahead of the curve have adopted a new services-oriented mindset that adapts to these new customer demands. Consider the following strategies to help you take advantage of upcoming cloud opportunities.
Adopt a “Land-and-Expand” Sales Model
A major challenge associated with shifting – from traditional, on-premises, IT solutions to cloud sales is – revenue is generated over time and the initial price is lower. Remember it’s a marathon, not a sprint. To experience long term success, you must employ an uncompromising commitment to working alongside your customers as trusted advisors – recommending high-value services that are critical to their digital transformation and software-defined environment.
Sell Projects, Outcomes and Services – Not Products
When it comes to cloud services and hybrid solutions sales, the technology lends itself to a consultative, services-based approach. However, you will require buy-in from your entire organization for this shift to be effective. For example, Marketing and Sales must promote forward-looking benefits and nurture prospects and customers along their buying journey. Technical staff and customer support must go above and beyond to position themselves as skilled partners. And finally, it’s essential that senior leadership and Finance embrace changing revenue models
Encourage Digital Transformation Today
VMware partners are poised to offer a modern, balanced approach to IT infrastructure that leads to digital transformation for customers. Help pave the way today with VMware Cloud Foundation.
Transforming how IT is delivered through unified, automated data centers is the holy grail of digital transformation, and a software-defined data center strategy is a big part of this evolution. Today, we’re giving channel partners more tools than ever before to digitally transform the data center with the release of Cloud Foundation 2.3. It offers a collection of software-defined services for storage, compute, networking and security – and cloud management capabilities for automated delivery of traditional or containerized applications. Plus, your customers have the flexibility to deploy on-premises, as part of integrated systems from major OEMs or through VMware Cloud on AWS™. For more information, please visit “Introducing VMware Cloud Foundation 2.3 – The Simplest Path to Hybrid Cloud.”
Prepare Customers for Extension to the Cloud
As the public cloud gains momentum, our relentless commitment to the expansion of rich capabilities on VMware Cloud ™on AWS continues, and our announcements at AWS re:Invent demonstrate our dedication to the future. There are several improvements including expansion to AWS US East (North Virginia); a new service for disaster recovery; and expanded scale, network connectivity and security capabilities. Plus, migration to VMware Cloud on AWS will be faster, seamless, and less disruptive through VSphere vMotion, AWS Direct Connect, and VMware Hybrid Cloud Extension.
Partners should ensure their customers’ vSphere environment has been upgraded to vSphere 6.5 Update 1 which provides the best foundation for VMC. Look for complete details on the Upgrade Center. Starting this process as soon as possible is highly recommended due to the upcoming End of General Support of vSphere 5.5.
VMware Cloud™ on AWS includes vSphere 6.5, NSX, VSAN, and the vCenter management suite. Visit Partner Central and take advantage of the extensive training and support resources available to prepare for the future in the cloud.
 IDC, Cloud Evolves to Cloud 2.0, https://www.idc.com/promo/thirdplatform/fourpillars/cloud
 Forbes, Sunny Clouds: AWS Quarterly Revenue Hits $4.5B With Growth At 40$; Azure Hits $.93B, Growth at 93%, https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2017/10/25/sunny-clouds-aws-quarterly-revenue-hits-4-5b-with-growth-at-40-azure-hits-93b-growth-at-93/#31