It may be a little controversial to say that we have a problem with the term ‘cloud’. It’s not just because we’re being overladen by the huge number of meteorological marketing puns written in virtually every industry article. The term is just somewhat vague, to say the least.
Let’s state the obvious and explain that ‘cloud’ came from the internet. So it’s a very mature concept. Then, thanks to both providers and business consumers, it became ‘Cloud-as-a-Service’ and the suffix ‘as-a-service’ has been attached to everything from ‘software’ to ‘platform’ and ‘infrastructure’. The key word here is not the beginning part of those well- known modern day phrases, but the most frequently used word – Service.
For providers this is often a big part of their differentiation from competitors. Yet there are lots of analysts who dismiss service as a differentiator because everybody uses it to describe their offerings and therefore no one actually manages it. We’re not going to beat about the bush here, we think this is utter rubbish. We have to be allowed to differentiate on features of our service otherwise what would separate one provider from another?
Marketeers would probably call it Service-as-a-Service. Everyone knows the cloud gives companies flexibility, saves capital by switching to an operational cost model and is generally considered to make things easier. However, the true value lies in engaging with a clued-up service provider. One who has a broad portfolio and willingness to integrate with external services and also provides the consumer with an actual human being to talk and plan with. The flexibility of cloud doesn’t negate the need for someone to think about how it all fits together.
When businesses start to look heavily at cloud, engaging with the right suppliers is as fundamental as hiring the right staff if you were to do it yourself. Get that wrong and you end up paying for both. In committing to cloud as a strategy, many companies don’t realise the significance of the step they are taking. ‘As-a-Service’ doesn’t mean you don’t have to worry about how something works. Instead, you have to worry about who’s on the other end of the line when it doesn’t.
It is simple to fix a problem when you connect to a local server that you own yourself. Not so straight forward though, when the CRM system is hosted somewhere on the internet, then it loses connection with your billing system which is hosted somewhere else, and the only contact details you have are email addresses.
You need a provider that understands your requirements, your systems and how they work together. A single point of contact to find out what’s wrong, when it will be fixed and advice on reducing the risk of it breaking again. We call it Hero-as-a-Service. We don’t like phrases which mean nothing. But when a potential IT disaster is turned into a victory that customer will be a hero in the eyes of their superiors. And the provider that offers the best service will be theirs’.
If you’re looking to learn more about how cloud computing can impact your business and are visiting the Cloud World Forum at National Hall Olympia 26 – 27th June 2013, drop by the Pulsant stand and we can explain a bit more about Hero-as-a-Service. We also have a whitepaper you can take away with you.