June 23 2011

Preparing For The Cloud in Philadelphia

Posted on the 05:16 pm under Business,Cloud Computing,Uncategorized by Darren Boyer

Almost 200 IT support companies converged in Philadelphia this past weekend to review numerous aspects of their business and help prepare for the coming changes in technology that will impact our customers.
Some of the speakers included Paul Chisolm CEO of mindSHIFT technologies who spoke very candidly about how the largest managed service provider in the world operates and delivers network management services primarily to organizations with 10-200 staff. Approaching 100 million in sales and in his 8th year at the helm with the company it was interesting to hear that this business was far more difficult to operate than growing Colt Communications to 1 Billion in sales when he was CEO for that company. He also spoke on how his acquisition strategy does not involve rolling up companies. He commented that he has fought mindShift’s board of directors for 8 years that IT service companies cannot be bought out, consolidated, and then have IT Services delivered at a lower price point than a small shop. To a business owner considering how they want their technology supported I believe this is very valuable information. If a 100 million/yr company says I can’t deliver quality IT support at a lower cost than a 5 man shop it provides insight that having technology support a business’ operations is more about process and service than it is about economy of scale.
Several other providers who are widely regarded as best in class also spoke and shared their insights on how they manage operations and customer service. Among them was Ted Swanson of IT Solutions in Philadelphia and Mike Chaput of Endight Technologies. Their comments very much echoed mindSHIFT’s CEO in that they deliver network management not as a ‘one man does it all’ support structure but as a ‘our team and our process delivers the best overall impact to our customer’s business that we know how to deliver’. Several providers commented that with the right process, tools, and support structure it is not uncommon to have less than 1 support request per end user per month for their customers.
Some very lively discussion was also held on the impact of cloud services on the future of IT companies. Several of the larger companies and others in the room were already delivering hosted servers, hosted exchange, virtual desktops and managed phone services. What was very interesting was the consensus among anyone experienced in the business that cloud based desktop solutions were not less expensive than existing PC desktop solutions. Most agreed it is more expensive and the risk of large amounts of downtime increase significantly. Ted Swanson described it well by saying, ‘I have less bad days but when they are bad everything is really bad.” In describing the experience of his customers who use cloud based desktops. Joe Panettieri of MSP Mentor was also present and warned all providers that as this new technology is being introduced pay close attention to vendor’s financial strength and backing. He was very concerned that an IT support company could find a hot new technology, help move an aspect of their customers businesses to the new technology and then one day find out that the new technology they had been using is owned by a company who ran out of cash and has gone out of business. This could be especially troubling for a small organization in Grande Prairie. If their technology vendor ceases operations how would they get their data back….

Written by Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer

Darren Boyer is the founder and president of pcit.

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