Cloud computing is moving into its second generation, with all the advantages and challenges that brings, according to Jimmy Sheahan of Ergo. Rather than seeing saturation in the market, instead Sheahan points to a sector that is in a state of flux.
“We are not seeing saturation,” he said. “What we are seeing is that we are entering what I would describe as the rationalisation phase of cloud computing. We are well past the ‘dipping the toe in the water’-type scenario. We are moving into a second generation, with customers adopting more and more workloads.”
The end result of this will be what Sheehan describes as a hybrid state of equilibrium.
“What I mean by that is that we see customers who are adopting what are obviously platform-specific server solutions infrastructure in public, but who are also building out private cloud scale-out environments,” he said. “So, depending on what they need to run and where they need to run it – and what it needs to look like and what demands it needs to serve – what they have is an extended cloud that covers both public and private, and has the same scale-out, management and economical leads.”
In Sheahan’s view, there is a lot more to be done in terms of public cloud.
“Organisations in Ireland could be leveraging a lot more from public cloud platforms such as Azure. We are currently seeing enterprise organisations yielding great success from that type of platform,” he said. “We are very conscious of working with our clients on the best ways to design, execute and run those platforms. When you are engaged with clients who are working in this way, you need to have very strong management systems, you need to have automation, and you need to have hyper scale that delivers economical returns.”
This trend, Sheahan believes, is changing the nature of the client/provider relationship.
“A lot of the responsibility rests on the service provider’s shoulders. At Ergo, we would never be happy to arrive in and have a customer conversation just at a technical level about something like this,” he said. “We do still encounter scenarios where a customer has investigated something a little bit already, and only then reached out to us to say ‘listen, I want some technical expertise’. We can certainly provide that, but we would go out of our way to get insight into the customer’s business strategy, because we don’t want to be missing an opportunity to add value to that customer. So from the very first moment we arrive on site, it is customer-centric.”
As an example, Sheahan cites Ergo’s focus on business case development, including return investment models.
“One of the mistakes I have seen in the past is when a customer basically says: ‘Listen, I want a cloud solution’, and takes a point in time view of that. But that is a very risky thing to do,” he said. “What you should be doing is taking a step back and saying: ‘Okay, what is the best way to deliver this solution; what will deliver the business outcome that we are looking for’. Without having that initial pause moment, you are missing out. Our customers have access to the resources that we have in terms of our consultative experience, and we will always encourage them to use it.. “inevitably, what we find is that once we go through that kind of discovery phase with the customer, we are actually enriching them with collateral documentation, business case documentation, and a much better handle on not only what they need to do with cloud today, but what that will look like and what the impact of that will be over the next couple of months and years.”
Meanwhile, the barriers to migration that currently exist for companies using cloud services continue to weaken, with the result that increased competition in the market will result in better rates and conditions.
“In general a lot of walls are being knocked down in relation to cloud migration. That’s going to make it easier for companies to move their business between providers according to their needs. It’s injecting a lot of competition into the market. It’s a good time to be shopping for these kinds of services,” Sheahan said.
He also believes mobility isn’t going anywhere fast as an industry driver.
“Serving real time information back to the customer from the cloud is definitely something that’s going to continue to grow in appeal. Everybody is talking about mobility and in particular about the issues that can surface around identity and rights management as a result of embracing mobility,” he said.
Ergo works extensively in this space, providing managed enterprise mobility (MEM), SharePoint, Office 365 and System Center Services with its own integrated FlowForma smart business process management software.
This software handles processes such as expense claims, capital and operating expenditure, holiday request forms and many other workflows where hard copies of documents get created unnecessarily.
This enables clients to cut down on the unnecessary use of paper and streamline business processes that previously required forms to be filled in and filed.
In addition, Ergo supports mobile device management and rights management services. Customers can remotely secure and wipe data from devices if they are mislaid or stolen, based on customer policy requirements.
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