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Monday, May 21 2012

Cloud Computing and the Tech Industry Through the Eyes of Treb Ryan

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Thought Leader Series with Treb Ryan, CEO of OpSource

treb ryan opsource400Treb’s perspective on the Cloud hype was fascinating. He had a simple no nonsense approach to explaining it last month when we sat down to discuss current industry trends and how Cloud is affecting businesses.

“First of all not many people even know why it’s called Cloud. When you look at the structure and architecture of the system you realize that it’s because of the way people drew the diagram and the internet was on the top “in the Cloud.”’Simply put . . .  it’s just a term for the internet. He notes that there are a few major key elements to helping deliver the Cloud: Availability, immediacy and expandability.

Treb continued to explain that you realize that Cloud is less about the technology and more about how people are using the technology. The generation of users who are engineering the workforce all grew up using the internet and kids are now using technology 5x more than older generations. It means that it’s immediate and anytime anywhere and any place. Cloud is now being used for business purposes; they are not going to back to client-server anymore than we would go back to using mainframes. There is a need for businesses to use Cloud with invention of iPad and smart phones, now people are requesting Cloud for their businesses since it is integrated into their personal life. Business and people want everything instantly. The discussion that followed included Treb’s thoughts on:


What people want from the Cloud:

1)       Constant change – We need update immediately when released, we want access to our data from anywhere.

2)       Cloud never runs out – Prior to Cloud you need licenses or servers but now it doesn’t run out, you can click and add as much as needed when you need it.

Overcoming Objections from Traditional Client-Server Users:
  • Help them understand how they are currently doing things. The change to Cloud is usually minimal from what they are currently doing and it just takes a little information to help them realize that they are already using cloud somewhere in their business.
  • We address the issue of losing control of your data. It is sitting in another data center but its like when you put your money in a bank, are you losing your money by putting it there? No, in fact it’s probably more secure than having it in your own possession.
  • Finally, you don’t have to sell that much, because business end users are used to Cloud even if the business isn’t. For example, when talking with someone in storage, most likely your users are using dropbox.com and their customer users are using other storage areas as well. Because your users are already doing it and that data isn’t secure, you need to provide a Cloud solution within your company. That way if that employee were ever to leave they can’t walk out the door with your company data. You need to offer a place to store your company’s data where you have access to it. Consumes are used to getting what they need and when they need it, so as a company you need to provide the right tools for them aka Cloud.
If you are currently in a client server environment what do you do to start to move to the Cloud?
  • Start with the elements that the client is already using the Cloud, and then provide a similar business option for Cloud.  Clients should understand that some things are only done in the Cloud like conferencing for example.  Don’t try and put the things that don’t fit into the Cloud, there are some things that won’t. Also, keep in mind that all companies won’t need everything in the Cloud, but there are a number of applications that will help your organization such as mail, company collaborations etc.
Telecommunication Carriers and Cloud -What are the biggest impacts on Telecommunications Carriers traditional business from Cloud architectures?

We have worked with Telco on and off for years and obviously Cloud impacts everyone, if you use it you are not buying a basic router anymore, but it affected telecom first and that industry was immediately impacted by the move to Cloud. The traditional companies that are moving aggressively into the Cloud are being affected the most. What makes it exceptionally tough in the telecom world is that you can break them into two groups . . .

1)       Operators- They know what they are doing and process the information

2)       Developers- They are writing the actual program

The big change now with Cloud is that you have to-do both.  You have to be able to program and be the developer too, and since the evolution of Cloud is so new there are not tons of people who are able to do both of these skills. Many large companies operate this way ex) Google, Facebook, however in the business world companies like Oracle are not doing it yet and so that’s where OpSource comes in and help them with the development side and help them with their operations. Telecom understands how to sell their product and make occurring revenue.

Finding the Right Talent – At the rate the technologies changing, how do you find the right type of specific qualified talent?

It’s almost impossible to find experienced people out in the market. It’s hard to find people with Cloud experience because the technologies are so new. There is combination of factors to finding the best talent: the best is to acquire talent early in their careers to develop your own staff and promote them internally but that can take years and years. The other way is to go out and find people who have the skill but that’s hard, so seeking outside expertise is very important. It’s really hard to find the right person even with the significant amount of people looking for jobs in the tech industry. You spend a lot of time looking for that right person with the right expertise.

Grassroots Approach to Cloud Adoption – Many Cloud vendors and service providers take the grass roots adoption approach or “freemium”/open source.  Since Cloud architecture adoption is a complex process requiring understanding entire IT organization what are your thoughts on grass roots adoption a loss leader for higher cost/value enterprise sales?

This is the most under reported part about Cloud. The generations who use tech different also buy things differently, it’s immediate. If you want it you can buy it – you can, want to just try a demo – you can, instantly. The days of spending six months with a sales rep and reviewing the products is foreign to people now. People who use the Cloud expect to buy on the Cloud.

Cloud Buying Behaviors:

People don’t want to take a bunch of time talking with a sales representative – they want to buy it now. That behavior is comfortable for the customer and they actually end up spending a lot more. Customers like being able to commit to paying month by month or even like Amazon who charges an hourly rate. It’s not as big of a commitment. The whole thing is that you can just use it for when you need it.  For example, the smallest invoice OpSource ever sent someone was for .07 cents and with that you get all of our support 24/7 etc. The concept behind it is that they will keep using it because it works and the need it. You don’t have to spend time locking them down. The customer expects this type of business model.

In regards to increase sales and repeat customer transactions, this is ideal because with an existing customer you negotiate less and also discounting is far less with your existing customers.  As far as online vs. sales rep purchases, he said obviously you do online sales because that how people want to buy today. At OpSource they have structure in place that lets them do online sales and also a real person who reach out after the purchase. We have someone call each person that buys our services, to make sure everything is going ok and they enjoy the product, they then they ask if you want to buy something more or upgrade their service. This creates new opportunities with current clients and opening the door up for easier negotiation since there is already an established relationship. He said that they like to have that personal touch because people enjoy speaking with someone and it helps retain their service. You have a relationship with the customers and make it more personal than just a transaction.  

Private Clouds:

At OpSource we just released a private Cloud and so yes I believe in them. However, we did just talk about the benefits of the cloud: it’s immediate, flexible, API’s access and one of the most important things in Cloud anything that you can do in Cloud you should be able to program to. But a private cloud you are really just buying hardware and software. 1) It takes time 2) it costs a lot 3) its not ubiquitous and you have to do a lot of work to get it up and running.  Often times it ends up benefiting the hardware companies more.  So what we are saying is, it doesn’t have immediacy, hard to share and collaborate.

However with that being said, there are compelling use cases for private clouds. . .

1)       Laws – There are laws about where data is stored, for example, Canadian companies cannot store their data in the US and there are laws about being in specific data centers – such as governments cannot keep their data out of their own data centers.

2)       Latency – If you want to use Cloud to talk to the data sources that takes time. You need to do that a low latency. Coast to coast it takes data to travel 56 milla-seconds- and that’s simply too slow to run intensive transactions. You can’t have the database here and the server across the country because it’s just too slow. Therefore you might need to your data in your datacenter with a private Cloud.

3)       Customization – Cloud only works because everyone buys the same thing. The amount of variety for purchase is amazing. You can get hire quality storage, more servers etc … but it has to have enough people want it. But if you have a private cloud you can do whatever you want. You can do a lot more than what you can do in a public cloud. Public cloud is kind of a one size fits all.