Curious about what steps to take to migrate a part of or all of your business to the cloud? faveo AG, founded in 1995 with over 40 employee’s based in Essen Germany, decided the time was now to embrace the cloud and commit to the Microsoft Cloud Story. A NAV Partner for 9 years, they leveraged a startup approach, and with a scrappy team of 5 successfully developed faveo365 targeted to meet the needs of SMB’s.
I met with a group of amazing partners during a recent visit to Germany. One such partner, faveo, was a typical NAV partner. To get started in the cloud, Christoph Eberz, Owner faveo AG, and his team sat down two years ago and asked “Where should our position be in this new market? What solution can we offer in the volume cloud business?” They came to the conclusion that part of the answer was to leverage Office 365 and Azure. In partnership with the Microsoft Team that included PSE’s Dirk Stelzner and Torsten Staschik, PTS Schimon Mosessohn, PMM Thomas Kombrecht and DX Daniel Heckmann, they passed the RAMP Transformation workshops and launched faveo365 in July of this year.
At the six-month mark, Eberz knew it was really a go. Still, as Eberz and his team progressed, intensive market research was required to determine what segment they should target. They decided a horizontal approach would be more successful vs a niche vertical approach. Combined with the Office365 story, this direction gave faveo365 a much broader perspective and has provided a great narrative for upselling as they span all different types of industries. It is a clear unique selling proposition for the German SMB market with Office 365 attached.
Eberz says that faveo365, a pure 100% multi-tenant solution, is a clear differentiator. It has an onboarding package and flat fee that is valid for 90 days. In the first 90 days a company starts live with everything included making it easy for a company to get up and running fast.
Whenever you access faveo’s website, a chat window pops up. Internal sales people monitor the chat window 24/7. What has seemed to really gel with their target audience is the anonymity that the chat window provides. Eberz explains, “The chat window allows a person to flirt and get a sense of the product before taking the next step to a deeper conversation. It’s easy to shop from a far and get a basic idea about the product. The chat window lets them know that when they are ready, they can speak with someone. This allows a relationship to begin and transform to a deeper relationship when they are ready.”
“What is very crucial about the cloud business is that customers expect more care from you. The cloud customer is more demanding and has more ambitious needs and expects to be treated with immediate attention. If a customer signs up for news or a webcast they are asking to be contacted. This is a signal that they want immediate attention.”
While it was easy for faveo to make the change and get into the cloud business, it was not without challenges. For one, they needed to get used to a new form of delivery. For example, 80-90% of their work is done remotely using webcast/web-based meetings. This is not as common in Germany although it is more and more becoming a rich solution.
There were challenges within the organization too. Eberz determined that is was critical to the success of their journey to create a new team that was solely focused on building faveo365. He leveraged a startup mentality beginning with five people. The team has grown to over 45. All were fully committed to build the solution and now it is their full time job. He recruited young, talented graduates noting, “it was very important to have separate teams and not have old dogs do new stuff.”
All-in-all it took a total of one year to form the idea and take their solution through to implementation. Throughout the process Eberz emphasized that communication was key. The rest of the company needed to hear how things were going and be brought along the journey as well.
What three things does Eberz recommend when moving to the cloud?
- Think about which segment to leverage (volume vs vertical)
- Build out your marketing practice so that you can do it on your own and not require an external agency
- Just do it
“Most importantly, just do it and do it now! You need to act fast once you are online with a solution. If you wait – it’s too late.”
Currently, faveo365 is available only in the German market.
If you’d like to connect with Christoph Eberz, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.