Tag Archives: IT Managed Services

Compete or Collaborate… or Both? … the Business of Cloud

Get used to the concept of co-existence

The progressive views about your marketing, your customers and your competition as espoused by Seth Godin are seldom things with which I find disagreement…. he walks a different path that started with his book Permission Marketing (summarised nicely here – and I highly recommend the book of the same name, not to mention all of the rest!).

Seth’s views on de-focusing from your competition – which to me only makes sense since you are unlikely to destroy them and so should get used to the concept of co-existence – and applying that attention instead on what you do, say and sell, (and who you do, say and sell it to) is spot-on… but I reckon it stops a little short. While he is far from incorrect I suggest that if you also extend your focus, wisely with research, planning and networking, you might find additional routes to explore.

In other words, pick which of your competitors merit your applying a different focus and perspective – and a different set of goals – to find and define opportunities to exploit for mutual benefit.

shark-and-mackerel shark
Positioning: Which “mackerel” would you rather be?

Now at this point it’s not unfair to think “mutual benefits, ok… which ones are mine, then?” when you are looking at splitting deals. Truth be told it is amazing how far a little quid pro quo can go and most change their views as this approach is applied. So, if you are open to such things (and don’t mind a few bullet points) then consider:

• Extended Propositions and aggregated references supporting the targeting of larger scale opportunities
• Agile delivery with access to a cross-organisation resource base (the ability to afford to win that big deal)
• Opportunities to share costs to engage and share world-class resources
• Scaled buying power reducing costs, increasing pre-sales support and accuracy
• Extended overall reach and raised profiles all ‘round

Now this isn’t a plug (unless of course you’d like to speak further on the subject, in which case feel free to consider it a plug) but I have use my own “Loop” business model which targets accelerated growth by a combination of co-operative competition and the right planning and preparation to “acquire to grow” or to be better positioned for acquisition… and it isn’t rocket science.

The origins of this type of model are simple and I don’t claim to have invented the approach: Top and middle tier Managed Service Providers continue to succeed and to grow largely by using “group credentials” of co-operative consortiums when going for those big opportunities. And, as markets tighten and opportunities diminish, recent trends are showing those big players extending their reach into the lower-margin and higher competition SME space in search of new business: and they can afford to invest in lower margin accounts especially in a space with an on-going need for cost reductions that makes MSP offerings worth another look.

One opportunity to not miss along the way is the small business distrust of Managed Services and even greater distrust of “big business” – so why not disrupt by aggregating, co-operatively, with your “competitors” (selected based on their capability and offerings; track record and size; attitude and goals; and in some cases geography).

Disrupt things with a Consortium model

Not only effective as a countermeasure, a consortium in this case is a natural disruptor which builds on existing structures and frameworks to deliver bigger and better. Collaboration – of resources, networks and partners / supply chain – will support your targeting larger scale opportunities within newly-aggregated current segments. And, as partners learn to trust and work together, it should enable reaching ‘up’ into the growth space to take back your market from those big players.

There is a Cloud Computing point to all of this: we know the Cloud computing playing field is complicated with platforms, delivery vehicles, orchestration, management and we know even better the complications in customer clarity of both requirements and everything they need to deliver to them. Wouldn’t a clever player crossing both of those complex spaces, in a constantly evolving environment (not to mention a rather challenging economic situation, overall) look to find and exploit opportunities from whatever angles might work (in just the same way as my colleagues, competitors, suppliers and customers worked to bring some joint clarity and awareness on this brilliant Tell me why I should use your Cloud? blog here at Compare the Cloud?)

While I often object to incorrect platitudes packaged as sage quotes, there are as always exceptions to the rule, so let me finish with Sun Tzu and "Know your enemy and know yourself and you will always be victorious" or, as translated by Don Vito to Michael Corleone as “Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.”

After all, isn’t that what networks are for? 

The Business of Cloud homepage

woz

Apple founder warns of ‘horrendous’ cloud computing risks

Steve-Wozniak-appl_2218556b

Woz and I on the same page, as always!

Wozniak told an audience in Washington DC: "I really worry about everything going into the cloud. I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years."

Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs in 1976, was speaking after a performance of The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a monologue about working conditions at Apple's Chinese factories.

The play attracted controversy earlier this year when Mike Daisey, the performer, admitted that he had fabricated some of the stories in the piece. Daisey originally claimed that the stories in the monologue were taken from interviews he conducted with Chinese workers during a visit to the country in 2010.

Daisey, who has since re-worked his script, invited Wozniak to the penultimate performance of the show.

Answering questions from the audience, the 61-year-old Wozniak said: "With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away."

He added: "I want to feel that I own things. A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

Asked about Labour conditions in China, where Apple and virtually every other technology company, including Samsung, Microsoft and Sony, makes its products, Wozniak said: "We know we [customers] have a voice. We can speak but we can't act like, oh, Foxconn is bad or Apple is bad."

He said he believed conditions for Chinese workers would improve as the country grows richer.

Wozniak, who now works for memory company Fusion IO, invented the Apple I and the Apple II. He left full-time employment with the company in 1987 though he remains on the payroll.

 

Apple founder warns of 'horrendous' cloud computing risks – Telegraph.

Stealth-Cloud

The Rise of the Stealth Cloud

"… good reason why the internal IT department cannot ‘knock-out’ application as fast as a nimble start-up"

Stealth-Cloud

The Rise of the Stealth Cloud: read the original (Ian Gotts blog here)

The rise of the Steath Cloud

One element of the debate was the rise of business initiated cloud computing, which the CIO may never hear about.  Something I'm calling the Stealth Cloud

Cloud Computing seems to have struck a chord in a way that ASP, OnDemand, SaaS and all the previous incarnations never have. Every analyst is blogging and tweeting about it, there are a slew of conferences, and a surprising number of books have already been published.

And there is now more than one sort of Cloud. There are Public Clouds and Private Clouds. I propose “Stealth Cloud” should be added to the lexicon.    As the name suggests is does its job – quietly, unseen, unnoticed.

Silver lining?

So business people are embracing the ideas of Cloud Computing. Why? Because they can see immediate value from the applications and services being offered.  And with technology becoming easier to develop there seems to be no limit to what is being provided in the Cloud, all packaged in a very compelling, fun user experience. 

Consumers are business people too

So when the individual is provided with these elegant services as a consumer it is inevitable that they bring them to work. With services such as on-line backup, project management, CRM, collaboration and social networking all available through a browser, is it any surprise business users are signing up and ignoring the staid and boring applications provided by the IT department.

Hence the rise of the Stealth Cloud.  Services being consumed by business users without the knowledge, permission or support of the CIO and the IT department.

The widening business IT divide

Too much has been talked about the Business IT divide. But unfortunately the Stealth Cloud has driven an even greater rift between business and IT.  It is exposing, as far as the business are concerned the lack of flexibility, agility and responsiveness of IT.  From IT’s perspective who can see the risks (operational, compliance and integration) of using some of these Cloud services, is simply underlines how cavalier and naïve the business users are.

Unfair rap

Corporate systems are costly to build and maintain. They are mission critical and need to support the entire operation.  So there is a good reason why the internal IT department cannot ‘knock-out’ application as fast as a nimble start-up.  The IT department is spending 80% of its time and effort ‘keeping the lights on’ and the remaining 20% on providing new solutions that are robust, scalable, secure and integrated into the core applications. How many of the ‘new’ Cloud providers are truly enterprise ready?

1 more reason: Pragmatism…. Cloud computing: Four reasons why it isn’t taking off in Europe

This article – citing Gartner information, of course – blames privacy, policy and the Euro… I reckon there is a lot more to it and that these issues are not entirely to blame: we have a more pragmatic, ‘look before you leap’ attitude in UK and EU business (I have spent plenty of time embedded in both and have experienced both sides of leading edge)

The reality is that a great deal of ‘leading edge’ enterprise computing lags 1 – 2 years behind the American market (similar but slightly shorter lag exists between the USA and Canada, by the way: 1-2 years behind the US adoption curve).

This is not wrong (or maybe it is, but that is a different argument). More importantly, this IS NOT NEW so why are these ‘pundits’ acting as though they’ve uncovered a hidden truth? If you have access do a quick search within the Gartner info base and chances are high you will find essentially the same article, but perhaps written about SOA or something of that nature which Canada, the UK and the EU all, typically, adopted and adapted after our American counterparts.

See the article here

I was interviewed on the same subject on TelecomsTV, which can be viewed on my website.

Some of this is starting to give fluffy white clouds a bad name…

I would have thought it 100% the other way ’round, David: the public cloud is oversold and often the wrong choice

But that it doesn’t have to be that way 😉

As for your statement that “private clouds have indeed been a path for vendors to sell more hardware and software” the operational realities of how physically the private cloud is delivered (yes, physical: it is all on the ground somewhere… nothing is really just off in the ether) belies your statement.

See, it is not always separate hardware. Separation can occur logically… there is a subtle but significant difference and it is all based on, defined from and the commercial realites calculated on the actual requirement.

A similar and related misunderstanding that consistently confuses the business / technical relationship (creating more CIO v CTO arguments than could be imagined) is that of virtualisation…

Business view: it is a single blade running multiple instances of a machine so we should pay for a single computer

Tech reality: yes, it is a single blade running multiple instances of a machine but each of those virtual machines requires software licenses, needs to be monitored and managed as though it were a separate machine. It costs less physically but not from a process perspective

You can read the original article here

 

Content Insider 231 Clouds Everywhere

The sections of this article could easily, by the same author, turned into a book called on cloud reality .. you may not like the flow but if you start to squirm when reading it, don’t worry: we who were in charge of these things last month are still in charge of them this month so idiot-boy decisions aren’t (typically) being made!

G0od enough to publish here .. and tweet it and mention it on LinkedIn

 

Content Insider 231 Clouds Everywhere.

Don Quixote

Reasons why I hate the term ‘cloud’ (via IBM)

Four reasons why I hate the term “cloud” ..from the IBM Cloud website… ( I wish I had written this article!)

Four reasons why I hate the term “cloud”

I think most readers of this blog probably know there is no single “cloud.”  Saying something is “on the cloud” is about as specific as saying something is “on the Internet.”  This term isn’t going away – but that’s okay, because I really like hopeless causes.

They might be giants, but they’re probably accountants out to get me for this blog entry.  

So, here are some reasons why you might want to be a little more specific in your communications than “the cloud,” especially if you’re a service provider:

  1. There isn’t a single cloud. 

     

    As mentioned above, many people think in terms of the cloud, not a cloud.  A friend of mine recently got on Apple’s iCloud and told me that he was on “my cloud.”  Well, not really.  It’s better to say “IBM SmartCloud Enterprise” or “Amazon EC2 Cloud” or “Apple iCloud” than “the cloud.”  Even within an organization, it is certainly possible that there would be different private clouds for different purposes.  IT professionals and leaders might not even be talking in terms of “cloud” in a few years because it will simply be the way computing is done!

  2. There are many types of cloud. 

     

    This is similar to the previous reason – but I already said there were four reasons, so tough luck.  In addition to cloud services being offered by different vendors, IBM internally offers a private development/test compute cloud, a private storage cloud, a private desktop cloud, an analytic cloud, and many others.  These all meet the NIST definition of clouds, but they are for significantly different purposes and have significantly different architectures.  Although they could possibly be integrated at a high level to appear to be one cloud (by having all services through the same portal), underneath they would still be separate infrastructures, and the use cases for them are so different that such integration might not help much.  To stretch the definition of “integrated” a little, they’re already “integrated” in that they’re all available through the same web browser using corporate credentials.

  3. Many people think that “the cloud” is magic. 

     

    Admittedly, many people think computers are magic, but even some people who are very familiar with computers are blinded by “the cloud.”  One friend of mine (who is brilliant) nonetheless thought that “the cloud” could automatically take any existing application and magically spread out the workload so that it could scale out.  Not true; the application would have to be written as a “cloud-aware” agent capable of requesting more resources, and would probably need a cap on it to ensure that it did not incur too many charges without approval.  He was rather disappointed to find out the truth – that cloud computing is simply a different model with the same old mundane computers beneath it.  I enjoy crushing dreams and expectations, though.  Which leads us to my last reason:

  4. Talking about “the cloud” implies that it’s a thing rather than a service model. 

     

    As I mentioned, per the NIST definition, cloud computing is a model for computing services.  To me, the most important piece is on demand self-service, meaning that you can use services in an automated fashion without waiting for another human to help you unless something goes wrong.  Practically anything that meets these requirements can be used or sold in a cloud model, even some things that have been around for years!  What’s different here is that the number of these services is growing so quickly, the interfaces between them are standardizing somewhat so that different services can be swapped in and out for different purposes, and that these services are able to make use of other cloud services in an automated fashion.  The biggest impact of cloud computing might not be in humans requesting services, but in cloud agents requesting services on behalf of humans!

I don’t want to sell short the promise of cloud in any way; after all, the difference between a diamond and a lump of coal is simply one of arrangement, and the cloud computing model is leading to some amazing new business models and strategies.  But you should think in terms of what you can do with the cloud model, not what “the cloud” does.  Using “the cloud” is waiting around for someone to create a service you can use, like Gmail or iCloud backups.  Embracing the cloud model means that as a cloud service consumer, you can build cloud-aware applications that allocate and use cloud resources on your behalf.  As a provider of service, embracing the cloud model means thinking of innovative ways to provide services to your clients in a self-service, metered, elastic manner.