How B2B Tech Startups Limit Customer Reach Opportunities by Ignoring Multi-Cloud

Ruth Yakubu
Feb 13 · 5 min read
b2b multi-cloud scale

Many B2B startups make the mistake of choosing one cloud provider to build, deploy and sell their cloud solution service. As a result, in the long run, they start losing sales deals when they come across potential businesses or enterprises that use another cloud provider in which their solution does not support. In addition, this deal loss happens because they failed to take into account that some companies only prefer using a Azure, AWS or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) as their cloud provider, which makes it difficult to integrate the startups’ solution with their customer’s existing cloud workloads. This lack of portability when designing and building their solution service, makes it challenging for the startup to just lift-and-shift their solution later to support other cloud platforms. Offering a multi-cloud solution allows startups to offer a more flexible option for businesses when it comes to choosing a cloud computing services for performing tasks that best fit the businesses’ objectives without having to commit to only one cloud provider. This article discusses key areas where using a multi-cloud strategy helps in building one solution that works on more cloud environments; generating more sales; and having more customer reach.

Multi-cloud architectures provide more flexibility

The pitfalls of building a B2B solution on only one cloud platform is that the application design becomes rigid and makes it difficult to later extend it to support other cloud providers.

Building a product solution is where most of the time and money is spent. It takes a long time to plan, design, build, test and release a product to market. However, when startups finally realize that they need to go back and restructure or re-build the original solution in order for it to support other clouds, this can disrupt the user experience of the existing solution and additional time and cost to build for other platforms. In some cases, the cloud services used by the B2B startup are so tightly-coupled to the one cloud provider they have chosen, that it makes it difficult to easily transfer the same implementation to another cloud provider. This waste of time would have been avoided if the B2B startup team factored a multi-cloud approach in the very beginning.

Code Portability expands multi-cloud support and customer reach

Code portability is crucial when designing and building a B2B cloud service. This gives the startups the ability to build one cloud solution that can work on many cloud environments with minimal changes. This also makes it easily for the startup to update and manage their code in one place; instead of having different code versions for each cloud platform.

When building a B2B application, taking into account that using docker containers and Kubernetes is valuable for most multi-cloud solutions. It makes it easy to build containerized applications in one environment and be able to deploy the application into multiple cloud environments. This could be where the startup’s main business logic is, and they can use Kubernetes to deploy, scale and manage the application solution.

In achieving consistency, choosing a common open-source technology across cloud providers is another good design approach. To illustrate, the startup may be planning to use an open-source relational database like MySQL to store data. In this case, Azure Database for MySQL, Amazon RDS for MySQL and Cloud SQL for MySQL will be a good solution to choose in order to get the consistent capabilities that MySQL provides in a multi-cloud scenario.

Furthermore, depending on what product solution the startup’s B2B service provides, they need to identify how businesses will utilize their solution to integrate with their workloads or system. For instance, some customers will need a consistent way to provision service infrastructures across the different clouds; or may want access to proprietary services from a specific cloud provider. As a result, for every cloud service the startup decides to use in their design approach on one cloud provider, they need to try to find a similar service in other cloud providers. For example, if their solution needs to store objects like images, videos or documents, they can choose to use Azure Blob, Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage.

In all these scenarios, Azure, AWS and GCP provide similar services most of the time that serve a common purpose for their customers. Plus, by using multi-cloud in their design approach gives startups more customer reach by being able to support and integrate with proprietary services they already have in their preferred cloud provider and workloads.

Use cloud platforms as a sales channel

As a B2B startup, getting contracts or subscriptions with small businesses is great, but landing a deal with large enterprise is a major revenue boost. However, one of the challenges startups face is the ability to have a large sales team to approach many potential businesses to sell their solution. In addition, depending on the type of service the solution offers, it is sometimes difficult to reach businesses in international markets with just the startups’ sales team. In turn, this slows their business growth.

The huge benefit is, Azure, AWS or Google Cloud Platform have customers and partners globally. For a startup to be able to publish their solution service in a cloud Marketplace like Azure Marketplace is an enormous exposure to hundreds and thousands of businesses, because they can leverage new customers from this global ecosystem which will help increase sales and scale their business growth. As a result, offering their b2b solution on multiple cloud providers marketplace multiplies their revenue stream.

To conclude, a startup should not limit where their sales or customers leads are coming from by choosing just one cloud provider. For B2B startups, getting access to top enterprise customers worldwide is beneficial in scaling their business while transacting in multiple clouds to increase their revenue faster. In addition, providing businesses with the option to use a product solution regardless of what cloud provider platform they are using gives the startup more customer reach. This is achieved by the B2B startups evaluating the use of multi-cloud at the very beginning of their product solution design and build phase. This helps them to identify how their product implementation can increase more customer adoption; resources they have available that can help them increase sells; and having code portability to make it easier to deploy one to many cloud platforms with minimal changes to the source code.

Microsoft Azure

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Ruth Yakubu

Written by

Sr. Cloud Advocate @ Microsoft

Microsoft Azure

Any language. Any platform. Our team is focused on making the world more amazing for developers and IT operations communities with the best that Microsoft Azure can provide. If you want to contribute in this journey with us, contact us at medium@microsoft.com

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