A Message from Bob Buchanan, EVP, Sales & Marketing (@bbuch)

Bob BuchananIn his 2008 book “The Big Switch” author Nicholas Carr makes the argument that the cloud will take a similar evolution and have a similar impact as the utility grid. We may take it for granted today, but the 19th century brought the concept of large-scale utility grids delivering electricity to homes and businesses. “Significant” is not sufficient in describing the efficiencies recognized, along with the impact on how companies, regardless of industry, were able to compete against larger organizations with more resources as a result of the utility grid. Carr suggests that the ability to deliver computing power via the cloud, which is made possible due to centralized data centers providing the required power and infrastructure, is having the same impact on today’s economy. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re aware of the market’s rapid acceleration to the cloud with no slowdown in sight. We don’t have to look any further than the public cloud, which, according to Gartner, is expected to grow in excess of 18% in 2017 worldwide, totaling $246 billion. Other sectors, including colocation, are continuing to expand thanks to the concept of “Hybrid IT”, where businesses leverage multiple clouds simultaneously, including private clouds, to support diverse workloads.

What are the real drivers for this massive movement to the cloud? I’d like to think of it as a shift in buying behavior, where traditional IT is being cannibalized by the market’s desire to consume technology via on-demand models. Certainly cost is almost always a factor, yet it alone cannot explain the mass adoption rate of the cloud. In my 14 years of being directly involved with providing data center, hosting and cloud services I’ve observed a variety of business drivers. These drivers include customers looking to leverage their operating budget vs. capital expenditures, the desire to improve on speed to market by turning up servers in minutes vs. days or weeks, and the ability to scale or simply improve efficiencies by paying for what they consume vs. what has been provisioned or made available.

I’ve noticed that until recently this trend has been primarily fueled by the upper-mid and enterprise markets. They were the “trailblazers”, or early adopters of the cloud. I believe this is due to their available resources, including access to both the capital and internal technical talent. Mid-market companies decided that they no longer wanted to manage and own data centers. Thus, those companies entered into outsourcing agreements with retail and wholesale colocation providers. Many others have internal development teams responsible for designing business or product-centric applications. These developers have had good reason to leverage the hyperscale utility platforms of Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure due to their vast marketplaces and available toolsets. The result is that the applications remain within these ecosystems once deployed as Production or Live environments. The organizations often turned to many of the capable service providers specializing in either colocation, managed cloud hosting or managed hyperscale.

But what about the small to mid-market organizations? I’m specifically thinking of those with 25-1,000 employees, especially brick-and-mortar businesses with limited IT resources (that’s the key). Perhaps they have a staff of 10 or less, supporting 700 employees. Or worse…it could be a team of five or even one! It is common for these companies to leverage IT to support each line of business within the organization. I’m referring to the needs and requirements of sales, marketing, finance, human resources, procurement, etc. Often, these organizations fall into one of the following: law firm, accountant, medical practice, hotel or retail chain, or manufacturing or logistics company.

When it comes to cloud, these companies tend to have plenty of questions: with such limited internal resources, how do they even think about leveraging the cloud? How will they migrate their data and applications to the cloud platform? Who will manage the environment once it is on the platform? What about the needs of the core employees? How do they more effectively enable them? Traditionally, many of these companies have sought out assistance from third-party IT firms and managed services providers (MSPs). This strategy typically adds costs without taking advantage of the core benefits of the cloud, and often ensures the status quo of living with “traditional IT”.

So why haven’t these businesses just leveraged the plethora of managed cloud or colocation providers, many of which have solid reputations and service delivery models? The biggest challenge and reason is that these providers struggle with moving down market to serve these organizations. They want their internal NOC and support teams to be communicating directly with a small, defined group of technically proficient individuals representing the customer. This leaves a gap that I describe as the “underserved market”. With a diverse managed cloud portfolio delivered from our global platform, this is exactly where RapidScale is positioned to WIN. 

I’m writing this blog while on my flight to Monterey, Calif. to attend Intelisys Channel Connect 2017. I’m looking forward to a week of spending quality time with many of our valued partners. We are in our final descent and the flight attendant just gave me the evil eye, which I interpret as “Shut down your laptop, now!” but before I power off, I want to emphasize some of RapidScale’s differentiators that make us the managed cloud company of choice in the channel. Before our portfolio and platform, it begins with our sales and marketing strategy. Without our partners, we don’t sell, as we’re 100% partner focused. And finally, we’re dedicated to a culture that allows us to be easy to work with and to constantly improve the customer experience.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us at sales@rapidscale.net or join our October Sales Webinar on October 11th at 9am PST, where I’ll be diving into these topics and more! Register here.

You can also learn more about the ideal RapidScale customer in my October TechTalk below:

 

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