Wednesday 19 May 2010

Clients And The Cloud

We have been hearing a lot lately about the demise of the in-house IT model and how everything is going to shift into the cloud.

We are hearing this from business leaders, technology gurus, and even surveys.

So, what do our clients really say?

Do they know what HaaS and SaaS mean? Do they know what Cloud means?

Is there an understanding that in-house is the “Buy” model versus the Cloud’s “Lease” model?

And ultimately, will the Cloud really be cheaper than in-house?

In the long run, there is going to be a lot of jostling for our client’s e-mail and data. Control those and there is no turning back.

There are a lot of honest questions that need to be asked without the hype surrounding things.

Those questions are ultimately tied into what is best for our clients.

Philip Elder
Microsoft Small Business Specialists
Co-Author: SBS 2008 Blueprint Book

*Our original iMac was stolen (previous blog post). We now have a new MacBook Pro courtesy of Vlad Mazek, owner of OWN.

Windows Live Writer


Unknown said...

I fully agree. There's a lot of hype surrounding the new trend of marketing buzzwords, and SaaS raises a few really delicate questions, the most important for me being these:
What is the price of loosing control of your information?
The less hassle of server admin is really worth it (from a risk and economic stanpoint)?
What happens to your company if your SaaS provider goes bankrupt?

For me, the answer is clear: no way. I can't sleep well thinking that I don't have total control of my customer's information. One mistake outside my control, and my whole career as a self employed consultant will vanish.

Tim Barrett said...

In the immortal words of Public Enemy and Flavor Flav, "Don't believe the hype..."

Cloud has a place *in* the SMB space, but it isn't *the* SMB space. If people doubt it, just ask any company with small bandwidth pipes, those with confidential data that can't leave the building, non-profits that receive funding in bursts and can't commit to monthly payments of services, those in disaster-prone areas, those who don't trust some foreign company not to accidentally delete all of their data. Not everybody leases cars - some people will ALWAYS purchase vehicles outright. The same holds true for I.T.

Andrew said...

I concur. I am working on developing a Lunch n Learn event around the "Cloud". Although I think it will have some traction w/certain businesses, not every business will benefit. I've spent time in the car business, so I know the analogy well. Would love to get your input on what you think should go into the content for such an event.

Philip Elder Cluster MVP said...

Yes, the Cloud does have its place. The principle spot that I see it fitting into quite well is in companies that are just starting up and have a limited cash flow.

As long as the Cloud services they choose have Terms & Conditions that suit their business, they can move into Cloud services.

They can then look at the cost of those services over the near, mid, and long term to figure out where the cost benefit no longer suits them.

Some companies will look at that cross-over point and contract an IT company to come in and build up their internal infrastructure.


The big thing in all of this is a real-life cost benefit presentation to the business owner.

Get a gross revenue figure from the business contact/owner and break that figure down across the number of users to the point where you can show the business owner the average revenue/hr of each employee.

Knowing how they do business and need to do business with their technology is the key to presenting the best solution that meets their needs and improves their user's efficiency (more $$/Hr).

Also, with that number in hand, it becomes a fairly straight forward discussion about whether Cloud, in-house, or a blend of both best suits the current needs of the business business.