While cloud services aren’t exactly a new idea of service delivery for Canadian organizations, there is still much to be desired.
Right now we are seeing a strong offering of IaaS services, the odd SaaS (as in the case of big Blue and their Microsoft partnership) and managed (hosted) network services such as WAN optimization, virtual PBX and security.
The great thing about this is that we are seeing some traction in cloud providers in Canada to offer these types of services, but we’re not quite there yet. The reason is that decision makers in the provider space are still trying to figure out the business case for cloud.
The biggest disconnect I am seeing is the failure to link all these disparate solutions together. Right now most services are offered a la carte, from different corporate divisions (Security, UC, Network) and there is no alignment. I would love to see a provider who is not afraid to start from scratch and realign services to vertical, but don’t expect it from the larger, slower moving providers.
Here is where the little providers have a chance. By realigning services to vertical markets, you can build service portfolios that speak to these groups individually. For example, if you decide that education is a good market, you can build services that address the unique needs of education (BYOD, content filtering, security/privacy) and offer a solution that provides all the components for them to outsource their IT services. After all, what sense does it make to recreate the same thing in-house when you are under-funded, under-staffed and have better things to focus on? As a provider, if you are able to say “We understand your market. We know these privacy and compliance issues are critical, integration between systems (standardization) is a must and that you struggle to keep up with students thwarting your security controls.” Why wouldn’t an education organization at least hear you out? It not only saves them money, but saves them tons of hassle and headaches and they can offload everything knowing it makes them compliant to whatever controls they need to be compliant with.
Replicate this across other verticals using the same story and your value proposition has gone from “We sell everything to make you more productive/secure/innovative” to “here is what we do to secure educational organizations like yourself.” Who doesn’t want someone else to deal with vendors and figuring out the best solutions, selling internally to make sure everyone is onboard to fund the project.
By relying on cloud providers to give them the right technology mix while taking advantage of an OPEX vs CAPEX situation means these organizations can actually focus on their core business instead of wasting time figuring out what everyone else is doing to stay ahead of technology changes.