Twenty years ago, when I started in IT Security sales, times were different times in so many ways…or were they?
At that time, I would speak to customers who didn’t have a leased line or broadband let alone a firewall, and to be frank, it was an easy time to sell. Time moves on and so does technology, so today it is almost impossible to find a customer without a firewall, on the gateway, at the perimeter or even within the world of Software Defined Networking (SDN).
Amazingly though, some things don’t change. Vendors still want their share of your IT budget. When competition is strong you receive more innovative products at better prices, you can be more agile with your IT infrastructure to help you grow or shrink your service offerings on demand. You can now truly deliver applications in so many ways that if anything, deciding what you want to do is harder than finding out if you can do it, and the way that you pay is also changing…. or is it?
Have you heard of any IT rental companies? They deliver anything from servers to iPads and TVs on hire. Their websites typically talk about the advantages of IT rental and the benefits are ubiquitously listed as:
- Avoid Budget constraints
In fact, you could almost rent anything, from washing machines to cars to holiday homes. Renting had all of these benefits and was a finance model which suited a lot of people.
Today, Xtravirt works with most of the major cloud providers and assists both our channel partners (from vendors to resellers and everyone in between) and our direct customers in understanding the opportunity that is available today, to deliver infrastructure, applications, desktops and then implementing the solutions as well as supporting them through a managed services function. The messaging that we support from the vendors includes all of the above benefits, with extra emphasis on saving money.
Moving from capital expenditure to operation expenditure is seen as a sure-fire way of delivering that critical ROI and TCO number. We also throw in a few additional lines for the millennials amongst us like:
- Increasing collaboration
- Reducing carbon footprint
- Improving work life balance
- Better security
- Better control
- Ease of implementation
So why have I even been thinking about this? I like to think that Xtravirt sees the lion’s share of customer transformations throughout EMEA because of our collaborative partner eco system, but in truth, cloud adoption is in its infancy as far as most corporate or enterprise customers go. Typically, the adoption of cloud-based infrastructure is framed around consumption and Xtravirt has spent a long time with its partners establishing process and best practices for them to engage in the market with customer consumption planning. When the vendors say that you can buy more compute with a credit card, it is easy to recognise that consumption planning or direct spend is one of the biggest challenges in controlling the monthly bills.
The hardware vendors have had a lot of experience in offering models, from finance programs that incorporate cute caveats that mean you might not even have to pay until your infrastructure hits a certain utilisation rate, but there is still a gap. The gap sits between the aggregators and the platforms. One of the key benefits being seen is the ability to move workloads dynamically across cloud providers and be able to instantly switch between platforms depending on the deals being offered. These aggregators or single integrator providers (like VMware®) really do provide an incredible opportunity to extend, migrate, move or achieve the benefits listed above. And yet we see our partners and customers struggling to align the technical capability of the tools to the business and commercial benefits demanded today.
Xtravirt iterates its engagement process consistently to produce better outcomes for our partners and customers. Typically, we have found, to ensure a smooth transition to the cloud and avoid an uncomfortable bout of Cloud Consumption Constipation, you should:
- Know your business use cases – the importance of aligning the business drivers to the business use cases cannot be under-stated.
- Validate your plan – investment in a thorough proof of concept process will help you avoid costly pitfalls before it’s too late.
- Take a commercial deep dive – align all of the above to the consumption billing models available and ease of integration into your existing business infrastructure.
Next, and very importantly, you should look at the consumption planning and ask yourself the following questions:
- When will you be using this new offering?
- What does scale and capacity do during the year?
- Is the consumption linear across the term of the agreement?
For all kinds of reasons, it is unlikely that consumption will remain linear, so you can get hurt by increased billing early in the project lifecycle. It is just as easy to over-specify the solution and burn even more money. Indeed, Xtravirt has worked with multiple customers to help take them back out of the public cloud due to overspend on the consumption and a lack of supported planning when adopting the platforms.
The market is saying that you should be adopting the cloud. The market also says you will receive a load of benefits and clearly, they might be right, but will they be right for your organisation?
Xtravirt has helped hundreds of businesses, including the vendors themselves work out how to best undertake a cloud or infrastructure transformation. Being vendor and technology agnostic means we will always find a solution that best suits your organisation.
Contact us and we’d love to speak with you to help relieve the pressure and achieve the benefit.
Xtravirt recently won the VMware Global Professional Services Partner of the year award. We have more certifications and experience than you can shake a stick at including four VMware Master Services Competencies (MSC’s). We work with and are accredited across all of the major cloud providers to deliver transformation projects and have literally loads of customer success stories that we can share with you.