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In this episode of Channel Insider: Partner POV—your source for untapped opportunities and unfiltered opinions in the IT channel—host Katie Bavoso speaks with Maribel Mendoza, Head of Product, and Mike Fontaine, Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of LucidPoint, a leading VAR (value-added reseller) and hybrid cloud consultancy company.

This recap encapsulates the lively discussion on leveraging FinOps, AI, and managed services to help clients navigate their cloud journey, showcasing LucidPoint’s commitment to delivering high-touch, customized solutions for customers.

From fighter pilot to tech leader — Fontaine’s journey

The conversation begins with an introduction to LucidPoint, a boutique cloud consulting company founded in 2017. Fontaine, a former fighter pilot, shares his tech journey from working at NetApp to starting LucidPoint, despite three of his four kids being in college. He shares the valuable lesson he learned along his journey and summarizes it by saying, “It’s never too late to pursue your dreams.”

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Understanding LucidPoint’s boutique approach

The term “boutique” at LucidPoint signifies personalized and detailed assistance to clients. This approach ensures a deep understanding of each client’s needs and challenges, creating a unique value proposition compared to larger providers. It means deep engagement with clients and tailored solutions.

“When I think about boutiques, I think about white glove, high-touch service. So we always want to be the Nordstrom, not the Walmart. We’re not the type of folks you want to throw something over the fence, and we’ll throw it back. We want to be engaged and involved in that high-touch,” Fontaine explains.

Exploring LucidPoint’s services: Cloud consulting and FinOps

Bavoso, Mendoza, and Fontaine discuss LucidPoint’s core services, which revolve around cloud consulting at various stages of the cloud journey, from initial migration to optimization and ongoing cost management. The spotlight is on their FinOps (Financial Operations) offering, which addresses the complexities of cloud spending and budgeting, similar to managing personal finances properly.

Mendoza highlights the significance of FinOps and how it was born out of listening to customer needs. LucidPoint offers a unique blend of advanced technology, AI, and human expertise, providing contextualized recommendations to help clients better understand and manage their cloud costs.

“As our customers mature in their cloud, we want to be able to provide them with new services that they need, which is FinOps. So, to help them manage their cloud costs on an ongoing basis, I like to think of it as analogous to my spending budget at home, where I might have a set amount that I want to spend on groceries or utilities or an emergency fund,” Mendoza explains.

“And so for our customers, really listening to them and understanding where their goals are and how do we bring in our fit-ups offering to help them better understand their cloud costs, get better visibility, and really focus more on cost control and understanding so that they can then budget and forecast appropriately.”

Relationship with Google Cloud

Bavoso asks Fontaine about LucidPoint’s relationship with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Fontaine responds that LucidPoint is a premier-level partner with Google Cloud, which places them in the top 3% globally in terms of partnership status.

He highlights that LucidPoint engages significantly with Google Cloud, undertaking various projects and services within the platform. Fontaine mentions that while they also work with Amazon Web Services (AWS), they focus on mastering their offerings with Google Cloud before expanding further into other cloud service providers like Azure.

LucidPoint’s new managed service practice

Bavoso inquires about LucidPoint’s managed services practice, and Mendoza explains that LucidPoint has recently launched managed services, focusing initially on their FinOps service tailored for Google Cloud. She mentions that they offer three tiers of FinOps services aimed at helping clients manage and optimize their cloud costs. Additionally, LucidPoint provides premium support for Google Cloud customers across three tiers, ensuring comprehensive and responsive assistance for their clients.

Looking ahead, Mendoza indicates that LucidPoint is also preparing to launch similar offerings for AWS, including FinOps for AWS and AWS support services. This expansion demonstrates LucidPoint’s commitment to evolving its managed services practice to meet clients’ growing needs across different cloud platforms.

Impact of AI and technology trends on customer decisions

Bavoso delves into the significance of AI and emerging technology trends in influencing customer decisions within the channel and technology sectors.

Mendoza responds by acknowledging the prominence of AI in clients’ considerations and their eagerness to leverage it strategically. She articulates, “I think AI is on everybody’s mind right now: How will we use AI? How will we use AI in a strategic way? How do we ensure that we don’t fall behind as others around us and other businesses are starting to use AI?” This underscores the increasing demand for AI-driven solutions to drive innovation and competitiveness among businesses.

Fontaine further elaborates on the role of AI within LucidPoint’s offerings, stressing a human-centric approach. He says, “We always want to be a people-first organization. What we feel like is always having a human on top of AI.” This highlights LucidPoint’s commitment to integrating AI technologies intelligently, leveraging tools like vertex AI for cloud cost recommendations while ensuring human expertise guides the decision-making process.

Mendoza and Fontaine’s insights underscore the growing importance of AI and technological advancements in shaping customer decisions and influencing strategic business outcomes.

Engaging with LucidPoint

CIOs or IT professionals looking to engage with LucidPoint can visit their website or contact their sales team for further information and assistance.

Watch or listen to the video/podcast featuring Katie Bavoso, Mike Fontaine, and Maribel Mendoza for deeper insights. Follow us for upcoming interviews featuring solution providers and thought leaders, alongside exclusive episodes and opportunities. Don’t forget to hit that like button and subscribe!

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