cloud trends for last year[/caption]
One of the primary benefits I offer to support my customers is insight and expertise for Cloud and IT services for business. I develop my insight and best practices for clients through working closely with a wide breadth of supplier partners that create the trends in their technology. These IT innovators range from the largest public companies earning billions of dollars each quarter to small entrepreneurs providing IT services to small and medium sized businesses (SMB). Staying current with technology is vital to my customers. Once a year I like to take time to review the trends for the cloud and IT. Here, I will describe recent trends by the primary technologies that are my focus, Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and IT Managed Service Providers (MSP).
Much of the change that occurs in IaaS is created by technologies and services delivered by the cloud hyperscalers such as AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. They have created environments that are open to virtually all operating systems and software applications. In a similar fashion, the regional data centers and cloud providers I partner with have evolved to hyper-converged platforms. Hyper-converged platforms create a software defined IT infrastructure that replaces some of the traditional components of cloud such as storage area networks (SAN) or networking components like firewalls and switches. This trend has also spread to private clouds for organizations that create their own cloud infrastructure on premises.
In addition to hyper-convergence, most IaaS providers have also capitalized on traditional technologies like bandwidth that allows them to better compete with the hyperscalers. These include cloud configurations with a fixed and budget friendly cost structure for data transaction cost or egress. Many hyperscalers customers have been shocked by a low initial cost that rises quickly as their data requirements increase. Most of the trends in IaaS happen first at the hyperscaler then move downstream to the regional cloud providers as they reach general acceptance.
UCaaS, or hosted IP phone service, has experienced exponential growth with both business users and the cloud providers. The purchase of BroadSoft by Cisco early in 2018 has led the way for many very cost effective UCaaS solutions with enhanced communication features. It is becoming apparent that providers are beginning to reach a critical mass of prospects where the product is being commoditized and the price is a key component of the buyer’s decision process. There have been a handful of providers that have been able to differentiate their UCaaS services through integrations with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software or other SaaS products. Additionally, some innovative software developers have intrigued customers by taking an “out of the box” view voice communications. Companies like Dialpad, created by ex-Google engineers, have guided their customers to rethink the idea of UCaaS as more than a phone system hosted in the cloud. They have created a new age open communications platform that integrates all the enterprise communication tools. Their solutions often create a voice communication platform without a traditional desk phone. Whatever the technology or provider UCaaS has become ubiquitous. When the business accepts the OpEx model of monthly rental for voice communications the advantages of UCaaS are undeniable.
Managed Service Providers (MSP)
In my work to provide guidance to my clients for the best alternatives for cloud providers I often uncover needs for tradition on site IT services. These needs are most often driven by a loss of IT personnel or rapid growth of the company. I wrote an article earlier this last year, Is the MSP Model Right for Your Business, that covered this subject in greater detail. The trend described in the article continues to evolve toward a partner-like relationship between MSP and customer covering the full range of services such as an internal IT department would provide. This mindset is effective if the MSP listens to the customer’s needs and is flexible enough to customize their offering to their specific requirements.
As I stay close and communicate frequently with my supplier partners, I stay abreast of the provider’s changes and how they relate to the industry. I look forward to 2019 as a time of continued growth in cloud computing offerings. As the technology matures it will provide more opportunity to display how the cloud will add value to the business’ IT strategy. Understanding these trends of technology as they evolve will allow Two Ears One Mouth IT consulting to provide valuable insight to clients for years to come.
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