Thursday, September 24, 2009

Shift In Focus: Economic Downturn Requires Companies to Innovate

Last week at the Mid-Size Enterprise Summit (hosted by Everything Channel), Geoffrey Moore touched upon the subject of "innovate to take market share away from competitors."

According to ChannelWeb’s article, Moore said, “a down economy compels companies to cut costs and focus on maintenance and other mission-critical functions rather than spend money on innovation and projects that come with a possible degree of failure attached…However, many of those mission-critical functions -- tasks that are necessary but provide little overall value to the organization -- can and should be outsourced so businesses can further invest in their core, and innovate in a way that propels the company forward.

That’s the philosophy that we've been educating our clients on. The down economy is actually the time for businesses to start investing in new technologies -- such as cloud and hosted infrastructure -- which would ultimately free up staff and resources that could be allocated to innovation budgets.

Specifically with Pointivity’s iTOS (Integrated Outsourced Solution), it’s an investment into IT centralization, standardization, and resource virtualization. iTOS is now widely perceived by our clients as a business strategy that helps to simplify IT and streamlines their business process enabling more designate resources and time to stay ahead instead of trying to catch up to competitors.

Moving forward, IT’s focus should not be so much on transactional systems, but enablement capabilities, from “computing” to “communications and collaboration.”

Is iTOS right for you? Talk to us.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hosted Application Gaining Trust Amongst SMBs

Early this week, was acquired by Intuit (two years after launching) for about $170 million. Intuit, a $10 billion dollar company is perhaps best known as the maker of Quicken, QuickBooks, and TurboTax.

The significance of this acquisition goes beyond the typical business strategy of eliminating a potential competitor for Intuit but a validation of hosted applications gaining traction in the market. Unlike your mainstream applications such as Word, Excel and email, Mint is a vertical application completely hosted in the cloud. With over 1.5 million users, is a free financial online services that lets users create budgets, pay bills, manage credit card accounts, among other features.

This means more small businesses are adopting and leverage the hosted model to run their financial systems offsite. The packaged software business will continue to flow applications into the cloud as online services becomes widely adopted.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Truth About The Cloud Hype

Do you want your cloud to be internal, external, private, public, hybrid, virtual, blue or green? How about all the "as a service" taxonomy: Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Software-as-a-service (SaaS)or IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS). Are you confused yet?

The truth is cloud computing, as InfoWorld defines it, is "a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT's existing capabilities."

While all the concerns around cloud is interesting, none of the end-user benefits are directly related to whether it’s a private, public, internal, or external cloud. The main reason why companies will use cloud is to gain business advantage by reducing costs and improve productivity. Why would your customer care what cloud it is if it addresses their specific needs?

Furthermore, as technology continues to converge, business owners are looking to partner with IT solution providers that competes on the basis of overall solution value NOT just price. Leading IT companies are focusing on the core issues of cloud computing: Integration. It's a constant evaluation between the trade-off of features versus portability, scale versus control and ultimately profitable concept versus reality.

Which integration approach is right for you? Talk to us.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Meeting SMB IT Priorities

As more economic signs point to the bottoming of this recession, companies are starting to reposition themselves by aligning IT strategy with business goals. According to the latest survey by Forrester Research, top priorities for small and midmarket businesses are "improving IT efficiency and streamlining business processes. 15% say that this is a critical priority while 45% of SMBs say they are working on initiatives around this."

The key take away is that IT strategy is now business strategy. Smart companies are serious about leverage IT to improve all facets of operations. It's about doing more with less by investing in IT to reduce costs and improve performance. Looking ahead, IT solution providers, VARs and MSPs will need to transition into more of a strategic role that focuses on solving business problems instead of technology challenges.

Here are some highlights from the survey:
  • Top goals within IT organizations are improving end-user work force productivity, managing customer relationships, and acquiring and retaining customers.
  • Hardware spending, led by server and networking equipment is facing more cuts than software spending.
  • Software spending is being led by security technologies – 25% of SMBs say they plan to increase spending here while 29% say they plan to decrease it.