Microsoft-focused MSP Fuels Growth with SherWeb
Managed Service Provider
Office 365 Dynamics 365 Azure
Rija Raharinosy wanted to boost his sales in the cloud, but he wasn’t sure he could get the help he needed as a Direct CSP Provider with Microsoft. So, he turned to SherWeb for help.
Rija is the Vice-President of Sales and Alliances at Solulan, a Managed Service Provider (MSP) with 5 offices in Ontario and Quebec. The company had been selling hardware servers for almost 20 years and found itself in a tough spot when Microsoft started pushing the cloud. Solulan had to act fast or risk losing some of its more than 200 clients.
The company found the help it needed with SherWeb’s partner program. Rija met SherWeb at a Microsoft event about two years ago and decided to take the leap with an Indirect CSP Provider. It was a smart move. Solulan has transferred about half of its client base to the cloud and plans to increase its cloud revenue to 80 percent by the end of the 2019 fiscal year. And Solulan, a Gold Microsoft Partner and Managed Partner, has been able to maintain its relationship with Microsoft.
"We’re very specialized in the Microsoft story. We don’t resell any other cloud solutions, such as the Google story or AWS or any of that. We decided to invest solely in the Microsoft cloud. It’s been a win-win situation for everyone."
The results speak for themselves. Solulan now has thousands of seats for Office 365, more than a dozen clients for Azure and several thousand dollars in monthly consumption for Azure. The company’s profits have also been increasing by about 40 percent year over year thanks to its recurring cloud customers.
Learning How to Sell the Cloud
"We made the change to invest in the cloud offering about two years ago and we’re now fully seeing the effects of that strategy change," said Rija. "It’s a matter of survival. Most of our customers are looking for cloud solutions. If we didn’t jump on this bandwagon, we would definitely miss the train."
But boarding that train wasn’t easy. First of all, Solulan had to learn how to sell the cloud. Rija said he appreciated SherWeb’s efforts to educate its partners and pointed to the wealth of resources at his disposal, such as the high-touch approach from his dedicated Account Manager, SherWeb product webinars and local events which enabled him to meet other partners face-to-face. He said Accelerate, one of the first SherWeb conferences he attended, taught him a lot about reselling his current product offering: Office 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure.
“SherWeb has been very involved in our growth. The trainings are very important to us as it helps us grow our product knowledge and position the products accordingly."
Solulan has also partnered with Mandarine Academy to provide an Office 365 training portal to its clients and partners.
A Good Selling Machine
Rija said SherWeb’s Product Experts played a key role in helping his company feel at home in this new market. His dedicated Account Manager walked his team through the entire process of selling the cloud and provided on-demand training about SherWeb’s products and services.
“I like the fact that SherWeb is very sales-focused. We’re very sales-focused and having people who understand how to support sales people is very important to us. SherWeb is really a good selling machine. You really understand the needs of partners such as us.”
Rija has also taken advantage of SherWeb’s Market Development Fund (MDF), a pilot project that provides funding for partners to develop and execute customized marketing programs.
Penetrating a Niche Market
Rija said he’s been able to use MDF funds to create an infrastructure management program for a local car dealership. The program includes telephony solutions, Office 365 and deploying workloads in the cloud for Azure.
"We’ve had a lot of success with car dealerships in the cloud, so we’ve partnered with SherWeb to help us. We’ve invested a lot of marketing resources to try and penetrate that market niche."
Rija said Microsoft Canada often asks Solulan for help with complex projects that require integration with Dynamics 365. SherWeb is helping Solulan develop the necessary expertise.
"The SherWeb team has helped us develop a sales strategy around Dynamics 365. We’re doing a lot of events with customers and SherWeb is always there to support us, putting together events so we could speak to a maximum number of customers."
Branded Portal Saves Time
Solulan bills about 1000 clients every month, a process some people would describe as an administrative nightmare. Rija said having access to SherWeb’s user-friendly portal made all the difference for both him and his customers.
“This portal has really been a big hit with our customers. One customer in particular kept calling me and stopped calling me the day after I trained her how to use the portal and ordered directly from it. This portal became a big hit for her.”
So, what kind of advice would Rija give to resellers who are still on the fence about moving their clients to the cloud?
"Keep an open mind. Partner with other companies. You can learn from them. In this day and age, if you don’t partner, you’re going to die."