Thriving in a Disruptive Environment – Delivering Hosting Services Amid the Clouds

A lot of the exciting business thinking, and writing, out there has to do with “innovation” and “disruption.” People in general pay the most attention to the businesses that are innovating and disrupting traditional modes of doing business.

Hosting providers are in a business where innovation – in products, in processes, in technology, and in a wide range of other areas – is a major factor in success.

Individual hosters aren’t often identified as disruptive businesses, yet hosting is a market facing major disruption. I am speaking, of course, about Amazon, the great disruptor, which has been doing to the hosting business for years what it originally did to the retail business.

Amazon began disrupting the hosting business back in 2007. That that disruptive force has evolved from just AWS into cloud in general, though Amazon remains the market leader by a wide margin. But that disruption continues via the main characteristics of the cloud – self-serve, scalable, utility-billed infrastructure.

While some hosting providers had the means and the motivation to create cloud infrastructure solutions of their own early in that transition, a significant portion of the hosting business has been slow to develop a strategy for competing in a hosting market defined, in part, by the new realities of the cloud.

But the need for that strategy is becoming more pressing, as the technology and the business model around cloud infrastructure has evolved to past the period of experimentation and hype, to the point where infrastructure as a service is a viable option for small businesses and enterprises. Traditional hosting customers, in other words, are willing and able to put workloads into the cloud.

Hosting providers face a challenge in confronting the disruptive forces that are changing the way that IT outsourcing customers – even their own existing customers – consume IT resources from service providers.

So, how do hosting providers set themselves up to thrive in a disruptive environment? There are a lot of right answers, but inaction is not one of them. It is time to make a move. This is the theme of HostingCon this year – an event designed to help hosting providers adopt technologies and strategies that will help them to thrive in a disruptive environment:

– Identify your true strengths and where the big public clouds have you beat. Focus on the strengths.
– Build product sets and service bundles that focus on the unique needs of your customer base.
– Figure out where your customers are already using AWS, and where they’d buy a competing service from you.
– Find the gaps between public cloud and managed services.
– Partner with the right companies to create new opportunities.
– Develop a strategy around hybrid cloud solutions.
– Explore the opportunities in private and “enterprise grade” cloud solutions.
– Focus on regulatory requirements and industry/government compliance standards.

It’s a theme you’ll see reflected, of course, in the educational program, but also in the exhibit hall, and the general attendance, where you’ll find partners who will help you get there.

For managed service providers and traditional hosters developing a strategy for thriving in a market being disrupted by cloud technology and cloud delivery models, HostingCon is a perfect place to make the connections that will help them do so.

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