We’re looking forward to another great year, HTG!

As I begin to pack up my bags to head down to Orlando for HTG’s Q4 Meeting, I think about what the last five years have been like for Green Cloud as an HTG vendor sponsor. Not only have we formed fantastic relationships with the HTG team, we’ve established sincere partnerships with other vendors as well. And there have been even more great things to come out of HTG for Green Cloud, like having a seat at the table, talking with best in class MSPs, understanding the needs of those MSPs and exploring potential partnerships.

In truth, we consider HTG as more than a vendor sponsorship, a trade show, or even a partnership. We have built a relationship. The value HTG has brought to Green Cloud is top-notch.

On another note, it will take me some time getting used to calling this group IT Nation Evolve. After five years, this old dog will need to learn a new trick.

What hasn’t changed? For one, our dedication to this peer group and its members is strong as ever, as well as our commitment to be the best cloud department for those that partner with us.

With all that being said, I’m heading to the marketing closet to pack up some cool swag for all of the awesome HTG — er IT Nation Evolve — partners we’ll get to meet in Orlando. Swing by booth #35 near the lounge at Amplify to get some swag for yourself (and some to take home to those holding down the fort)!

Last but not least, if you want to meet up with me one-on-one in Orlando, click the button below.

-JP

Meet JP

Green Cloud’s company culture stands out from the rest. No stuffy offices, no staring-over-your-shoulder supervisors, no inflexible hours. Our workplace is filled with laughs, lunches, beers and trivia; our company balances work life and play time like no other.

We get the job done, but we don’t overdo it. During work hours, we’re comfortable enough with each other to speak freely, allowing innovative ideas to flourish organically. But when the day ends, it’s cocktail hour with the co-workers. We offer criticism, but constructively; we laugh at jokes, but never at each other.

Don’t believe me? Here’s what some of our Green Cloud team members have to say.

“I would describe the culture as collaborative and eager to help others.” – Employee, 2 years 

“At its very core, Green Cloud’s culture emphasizes the importance of each individual’s role in the company’s success. I love the collaborative environment. Employees freely discuss questions, suggestions and solutions throughout the daily workflow. Instead of “You vs Me,” the focus is on “Us,” a team overcoming obstacles together. If you must spend 40 hours a week with people, spend it with those you enjoy being around. I truly enjoy my coworkers and feel challenged to become an ever-improving version of myself by being around them. I can’t think of a better place to work than Green Cloud.” – Employee, 4 years

“Green Cloud is a fun, laid back environment that fosters collaboration, hard work and team work. Every employee is given the opportunity to succeed and grow personally, which helps Green Cloud grow. It’s truly a great place to work.” – Employee, 1 year

“Our office environment is like a family that is full of life and energy that strives for excellence for our partners.” -Employee, 6 years

“Best work atmosphere I have ever worked in. It’s an environment that empowers employees to think and make decisions on their own for the betterment of the business and our partners.” – Employee, 1 year

“Great company culture isn’t something you can create, but something that happens when the great people at your company are given the space to be creative.” – Employee, 3 years

Our company is one like no other. Our culture fosters innovation and our solutions work. Our technology is great, and it gets better every day. That’s why we keep coming back; that’s why we put in the work day in, day out.

At Green Cloud, we treat ourselves to drinks and dinners with one another. We help one another when a grueling task requires an extra set of hands. We offer support to and inspire confidence in one another. We laugh together, work together, succeed together.

Our office is more than a cement building full of computers, desks and wires. It’s full of people who care about each other and the work they do.

Still don’t believe me? Ask us. Join our team.

Green Cloud’s story began on Brown Street, a quaint office full of eager entrepreneurs and tech experts. Back in 2011, our team was small and tight-knit. Today, in 2018, our team is still tight-knit, but our company has expanded exponentially.

We stayed put at Brown Street for a year and a half. Eventually, we outgrew the space and moved to NEXT. The NEXT building, a co-working space bursting with start-ups, entrepreneurs and small businesses, was a good home for Green Cloud for more than five years. After our company had accumulated 570 partners and over 70 employees, it became clear we had outgrown NEXT. The time came for Green Cloud to move — yet again — only this time, we were ready for an office of our own.

In January 2018, Green Cloud took the plunge; we decided to move into Haywood Ridge, a brand new building located on Airport Road. In fact, Haywood Ridge was so brand new that our office wasn’t quite ready when we were. Construction began in January, but our space would take months to complete. Green Cloud was in a bit of a bind.

Fortunately, in the summer of 2018, we found ourselves in a temporary home for a little over a month at Immedion. Albeit cramped at times, our team learned the value of working closely with one another. We grew professionally; the space at Immedion allowed us to easily bounce ideas back and forth between one another and gain a greater appreciation for one another’s various roles at Green Cloud.

Then, finally, Green Cloud packed up and headed to our permanent work home. September 25th — the day of our official Ribbon Cutting ceremony — began the start of a new chapter for Green Cloud. The best part about this new office? We have room to grow and further expand our company.

We could not be more excited about what the future has in store for Green Cloud Technologies. Take a look at our new office below.

Green Cloud Technologies “Green Cloud”, a Greenville-based cloud technology solutions provider, opened the company’s new Greenville, S.C. headquarters with South Carolina economic development leaders, county and city officials during a ribbon cutting ceremony today. Green Cloud was founded in 2011 by IT, telecom and communications veterans who created a successful business model completely focused on building partner networks and providing customers with world-class servers, backup and recovery solutions.

Today, Green Cloud is one of the largest independent channel-only cloud IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) providers in the country with an expansive suite of Cisco Powered, cloud-based products, services and support that are scalable to applications of any size — from SMBs to enterprise-class organizations. The company’s new 14,470 square-foot headquarters features semi-private workspaces with ergonomically designed workstations, a large open meeting space with high ceilings and natural light, a technology-rich multimedia studio for audio and video productions and a high-tech security system with smartphone office entry.

“Our new, modern office will accommodate our projected growth and build on our culture of innovation, teamwork and collaboration so we can continue to deliver sophisticated, cloud-based technology solutions to our customers,” said Green Cloud CEO and Co-Founder, Keith Coker. “Green Cloud’s accelerated growth over the last eight years is directly attributed to our talented, innovative and customer-centric employees, and today is a celebration of their contributions as we prepare for future growth.”

Green Cloud was ranked 73rd on Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500 in 2016, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing private companies and was an Inc. 5000 honoree in 2017 and 2018. In 2015, the company was named the number one SC Fastest Growing Company in 2015, and Energage named the company as a Top Workplace in SC in 2017 and 2018.

In my previous post, I discussed how today’s customers are eager for solutions. Business-owning customers want to spend their time running their business and not on solving complicated IT problems; they WANT to pay you to make IT easier.

That all sounds great, but again — how do you secure those clients?

Iteration. MCSPs must constantly communicate with their clients in a more personal way. Dashboards, reports, email blasts, automated tickets and generic vCIO content is great. However, it is not enough to create a tailored solution with the complexity required at this point. Clients need a plan; they need to be able to absorb this massive transition slowly. You must create a progressive technology plan that takes them from where they are to where they need to be, leading to higher acceptance and better retention.

Start with your knowledge of their business. If you don’t have this knowledge, get it. Based on their vertical, their maturity and their concerns, start with what matters most. Compliance? Data Security? DR? Mobility? Scalability? Pick something to be the hub of your plan; something that justifies all the change and the necessary action for the client, or also justifies the early steps that don’t seem like they are immediately solving a problem. It won’t be the same for all clients. It needs to manage their concerns and reduce anxiety around the coming changes. In other words: solve a problem. Give them a plan that makes their business more efficient, not just cloudification. Once you have this, communicate, communicate, communicate — not just QBRs or automated communications. Sell the plan, get their buy in and share what’s next and why it’s important. Remind them why this is happening every step of the way.

The critical steps will be the following, regardless of your justification:

Identity management. You are going to be distributing their services to the best place for the job, but this can’t add 20 different logins to their daily life. As you roll out the rest of the plan, start with single sign-on and access control from the beginning. As a bonus, select a provider that adds SaaS utilization management so that you can be efficient with the clients’ spend on SaaS — Okta and MetaSaaS, for instance.

Accelerate. Implement SDWWAN for reliable and responsive connectivity to the cloud – VMware’s Velocloud for instance. This will reduce the time that you spend managing the network connections that are critical to the solution, and it will keep the experience solid as they rely more heavily on the cloud via their WAN.

Secure. Secure the solution with a managed NGFW and SOC solution. Protect the endpoints — don’t just trust a firewall, no matter how next generation it may be. Belts and suspenders. You want to start out secure, not by bolting it on after a breach or compromise. This is the first step that will feel like they are making progress. If this isn’t done right early, it will lead to similar failures as discussed above with the WAN. Cloud is inherently secure to end users. You don’t want to misstep and have them question the solution mid-way.

SaaS offload. Find the needs best served by SaaS. No need to migrate a legacy app that is in need of refresh and unable to realize the promise of the cloud due to its shortcomings from age. Don’t force it. Ask yourself, “Does the SaaS alternative really solve their problem?”

Migrate. Migrate their legacy apps to IaaS. Migrate their desktops to DaaS or a workspace solution. You won’t be able to replace everything with SaaS. It’s not the best solution for every workload and forcing it will just decrease the clients’ efficiency and happiness with the solution. DaaS and IaaS will give their legacy applications the SaaS-like feel of mobility and accessibility. One more note: Don’t force DaaS until everything else is in order. It’s another place you can undo a lot of trust if the predecessor tasks are not solid and complete.

Protect. Don’t forget a DR and backup strategy. That’s another place that clients think is magic in the cloud. Backup SaaS data, replicate IaaS data to multiple regions. Have a DR strategy for remote working. Don’t undersell the value of having a DR plan for not only major natural disasters but things like holidays, inclement weather, moving offices or growing quickly.

Measure and improve. The cloud offers an endless stream of information about your clients’ workloads. Use this technology to continually improve through discussions of changes to their business, growth of resources, continued migrations to SaaS, auditing, etc.

Above are some tools to help with the planning of such a strategy and communicating the value. It’s time to evolve. It’s time to change the game again. You will differentiate yourself and secure long-term clients.

One of Green Cloud’s core business principles is our dedication to helping our partners succeed. That means we do whatever it takes to ensure we address their business needs and are responsive when they require assistance with something… No matter what it is. Our Channel Management team is a great example of Green Cloud’s partner commitment and exemplifies our strategic approach to building relationships in the field.

The chief objective of a Channel Management team is to help Green Cloud partners incorporate a new sales and delivery practice into their existing business. For many partners, the cloud remains unfamiliar territory and they often have many questions: How am I compensated? What internal operational changes do I need to make? How are the products supported? How will my employees get training?

From pre-sales engineering to service delivery and support, the Channel Management team goes into the field to interact directly with our partners. They’ll answer any and all of their questions and remain on-site to address any partner needs as they ramp up their cloud practice. We help identify where a Green Cloud solution-set fits into the partner’s core competencies. From there, we assist them in driving more value for their customers by combining their solutions with Green Cloud’s hosted products. The resulting product is often a totally unique, multi-vendor hybrid.

Early on, we recognized that face-to-face interaction with our partners is critically important to their success in the cloud. We’ve therefore made it a strategic goal to create and place Channel Management teams in the field where they can do some real good in helping our partners. The Channel Manager at the heart of each team is centrally located to serve an entire region of the country. Our Partner Success team then supports the Channel Manager with more targeted assistance to handle simple partner issues, while the Channel Manager travels to wherever they are needed most, typically handling large-scale matters like quarterly business review and cloud adoption procedures.

Channel Manager Mac McClenathan is based in Nashville but travels several days during the week to visit partners. There, he discusses the realities of their business: what’s working and what’s not, and where Green Cloud can help resolve any issues or obstacles they face.

For a lot of our partners, the cloud is a totally new business model, and they need help figuring out how to incorporate that into their practice,” says Mac. “We can provide lots of assistance to them in adopting the cloud, and we also use our experiences to help them avoid the typical landmines that can sink a new venture. It’s hard to do that from behind a computer screen or over the telephone. Simply put: face-to-face matters.”

The Channel Managers provide day-to-day partner support, such as in-office sales training, sales engineering, project quoting, resolving technical issues, and even meeting with customers on a partner’s behalf and conducting data center tours. Additionally, they are a vital piece of our channel development strategy by networking and attending events to recruit partners and making themselves available to meet partners prospects who want to first vet Green Cloud as a potential provider.

The impact of Green Cloud’s Channel Management teams can be measured in the success rates of our partners who engage with them. Their success speaks to the greater level of service we provide our partners, versus using one of the enterprise providers like AWS where the partner is merely “a tiny fish in a gigantic pond.” Rather than simply sticking a partner’s ticket into a work queue, Green Cloud is willing to stand by their side to assist with any issues or opportunities that arise. All of this effort is designed to give our partners peace of mind and deliver a personal level of service “touch” that enterprise providers don’t.

L to R: Jonathan Philipsen, Phil Nelson, Mac McClenathan, Paul Lee, Stephen Rieck, Colin Young, Daniel Cooley