What’s the best way of buying Cloud today?
How we buy, develop and implement tech has altered. In the past, most organisations had extensive internal IT teams that were masters of all they surveyed. They would buy IT from a range of suppliers and then implement, largely, custom built, self-assembled solutions. Companies would get what they needed, albeit at a cost, including hefty supplier margins and consulting costs, etc. On the plus side, service was personal and, more often than not, face to face.
Add Covid to the mix and things looks different again in the IT industry. Hosted infrastructure is now critical for most organisations, so how we’re buying Cloud is now of great importance.
The web-based, self-service, ‘point-and-click’ IT supply model, led by the public Cloud hyper-scalers offers limited, if any, communication between supplier and customer. Amazon and others have taken this ‘point-and-click’ approach to another level of sophistication and scale, based on an array of options and a per-second/minute/hour pricing structure.
Yes, it can be quick and easy to access, but it’s largely a service based on proprietary technology customers are accessing, as apposed to making technical choices about the appropriateness of specific technology components.
And all of this is barge pole, as opposed to arms length; often customers are completely unable to speak to a real person. In fact, even chat support is now increasingly being delivered via AI bots.
Once again, add Covid into the picture, and you see that many organisations are now grappling with new challenges, such as a rapidly changing market place and evolving customer requirements that are putting pressure on flexibility, agility and focus. Getting the IT solution you need, when you need it has never been more important. But in an impersonal Cloud market reliant on remote ‘point and click’ supply models, getting what you need when you need it, especially if your requirements change often or you need something a little out of the ordinary, could become much more of a challenge.
Previously, IT departments, with their numerous supplier relationships, were able to find what the business needed, even though this model had costs attached to it, both in time and money. Today you can find almost anything you could want, but often it’s not quite fit for purpose or requires in-depth knowledge of a service provider’s systems to make it work as you want, which can often lead to ‘sticky plaster’ implementations. Fine if you have the internal resources to make this work, but much harder if your resources and budgets are more limited, as they so often are.
In reality, this results in systems, services and solutions being led down the path of compromise for the sake of being able to implement on a particular public Cloud hyper-scaler’s infrastructure. Equally problematic, customers get tied into a provider’s eco system, which, in many cases, requires further costly and time consuming customised integration.
Clearly, this all makes very good business sense to the public Cloud hyper-scaler, but for the customer, if the service changes or it’s unable to meet some new operational requirement (like presence in a specific geographical location), it can lead to huge disruption, cost and delays while the systems are re-engineered.
Companies using self-service Cloud IT provisioning are requiring developers and technical staff to understand billing impacts of development where really their attention should be on the creative process. As a result, costs can often balloon out of control.
In such a competitive market as Cloud, the self-service supplier model is actually limiting competition, which, again, is good for the incumbent hyper-scaler, but not for the customers. As a result, customers are effectively becoming tied to suppliers because of their eco-systems/cost of change, etc. Is this really freedom of choice?
Second generation independent Cloud suppliers, like Flexiion, exist to provide customers with the Cloud solutions that best support their business objectives – what they need, when they need it at a price right for them. The Cloud solutions we deliver are driven by, and only by, our customer’s business objectives, and unlike other Cloud suppliers, they are not based on a set product/service list, predetermined tech approaches or brand loyalty.
Also, we aim to build long-term relationships by working in partnership with our customers. We don’t charge consulting, nor do we require CapEx investment. Our services are priced like the Cloud and we aim to be as flexible as possible, so should requirements change, so does our service.
Take a look Horizon Scan, our library of videos that look at the business implcatons of tech decisions, such as how organisations are using and buying Cloud.
Simon Lofthouse, CMO, Flexiion
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