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Cloudy with a Chance of Murkiness

(Business Before Technology) Permanent link

When they came up with the word the "Cloud", I'm thinking they (whoever "they" are) were looking for a way to package this nebulous thing that would be accepted easily as opposed to something more appropriate - like the "Swamp" or the "Sandbox" or "that place that we can't quite describe where we want you to store everything you have and never have to worry about anything IT again".  I can only imagine the guys from Amazon, Google, and Microsoft behind a mirrored window watching focus group after focus group trying to come up with some lovely addage so that they could get everyone to buy into it.  The Cloud.  Close your eyes and imagine a white, puffy, soft, and warm place.  It certainly evokes a positive image way more than the reality of the unknown that it currently is.  I don't say this in any condescending or negative way.  Really.  I actually mean it in the most affectionate way.  Unfortunately, "The Cloud" means so many things to so many people that it's about as murky as the letters "IT". 

What exactly is the Cloud?  Well, it's so interesting to me that I've heard so many different ways it's been described from so many different people lately.  If you use Gmail, your mail's in the cloud.  If you use Dropbox, you're in the cloud.  I recently heard from someone in IT who said none of these are "the cloud".  He told me, to him the cloud means complete virtualization of everything down to the desktops.  So, anything less than this is NOT the cloud.  Intel sells a "Hybrid Cloud Solution".  There are "Virtual Private Clouds".  Again - this is the murkiness I was referring to.  Way too many different definitions.

For those of us responsible for managing IT, right now the negative related to the cloud really isn't about the loss of work this "evolution" looks to be (at least for those of us who don't provide IT as a commodity).  Nor is it about the loss of control - over the systems we manage nor the client relationships we value.  At this point in time, I believe the most difficult thing is helping our clients and prospective clients understand the complexities of this change and to properly and valuably navigate the waters of this change for them.  And it certainly does look to be a significant change.  What will work for one type of business may not work for another.  And what will work for one size business may not work for another.  And what will work for one business process for one business may not work for the exact same process for another business.

Beyond simply the initial capital costs, the ongoing maintenance costs, and ultimately the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), what we're seeing as significant differences between the Cloud and on-premise solutions is more about the impact to work flows, overall computing functionality, security of information, etc.  Things that really make a difference impacting the productity and efficiency of the staff of growing companies.  While this move to the Cloud certainly looks to be a way to continue to promote the ever increasing value of IT, as experience has shown us navigating these waters alone or just with the channel selling to end users will end up with IT as a commodity for our SMB friends.  Which will ultimately mean more and more businesses losing the ability to further leverage technology to its fullest.  And this is where we, our clients' Trusted Advisor, always fit in - providing that bridge between the technical solution and their business needs.  Business Before Technology - We Get IT!


There you have it. While I added an extra one, the first six should be enough for you to ensure you’re not being taken for a ride.
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I haven't read the book yet..I want to now. -_-
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What I mean by this is - similar to our clients and similar to our competitors, one of our key objectives is growth. But as I look around at others in our industry and some of the "so called" experts,
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What I mean by this is - similar to our clients and similar to our competitors, one of our key objectives is growth. But as I look around at others in our industry and some of the "so called" experts,
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While most smartphones are purely personal, we're seeing more and more of these devices being connected into the networks we're managing. This means more and more of them have company information on them - emails, texts, documents, etc. So, what does this really mean? Well, from the IT channel's perspective it means MDM
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For example, as I discussed in my previous blog, everything requires ongoing maintenance and administration - so there are always related costs to anything you implement. This (ongoing maintenance and administration) is one of the most significant components of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Again, being penny-wise and pound-foolish means doing something like buying a firewall from Fry's that's meant for your home
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It's one thing to aim to be "better" than our competitors, but it's another to be seen as "Best in Class". This not only goes to the services we provide, how we deliver those services, the value we provide, but ultimately to the performance of our company as a business. Being in business for 17+ years, we've seen a lot of trends come and go.
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Before you ask yourself - Do I have an "IT guy" or a "Trusted Advisor"? - first you have to ask yourself, "do I care?" If you don't, then there's no doubt that you have an "IT guy". Regardless of what he's capable of, if that's all that you're ever going to see him delivering, then that's all he's ever going to be. If you do care, then even before you ask yourself what you have, you have to consider what you want.
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There you have it. While I added an extra one, the first six should be enough for you to ensure you’re not being taken for a ride.
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What exactly is the Cloud? Well, it's so interesting to me that I've heard so many different ways it's been described from so many different people lately. If you use Gmail, your mail's in the cloud.
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First, a prospective client who was in the process of leaving a competitor (for lack of attention) called and let us know that their Anti-virus system had just expired and was looking for our input on what to do about it. There were questions like: "should we renew it or move to our recommended solution earlier?
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About the Author
Craig Pollack
Craig Pollack Blog Profile Image Craig is the Founder & CEO of FPA Technology Services, Inc. Craig provides the strategy and direction for FPA, ensuring its clients, their business owners, and key decision makers leverage technology most effectively to achieve their business objectives. Craig focuses on ensuring that the technologies implemented by clients are "business centric" and key components of their businesses' success, and that this approach is shared by every staff member of FPA.
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