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Saturday, 27 August 2011

Is it the Cloud that is hurting SME IT Support Providers?

There is a lot of talk now at the small business level about the "cloud". Those in the world of IT have known about this for some time but it has finally filtered down to the business owner who has heard wonderful things about 24/7 computing and how "it" never fails.

If your business sells on premise solutions and support/maintenance post sales then surely this is your death knell sounding isn't it? After all who needs Small Business Server and Microsoft Office when we have Google Mail and Office 365.

Well perhaps this might be true for some, I have seen some of our customers move to this type of solution, but to be fair they were mostly consultancy level business with maybe three or four employees. Is a cloud based service better for them and save them time and money because they have no on premise server to worry about and less support costs to pay for? The answer is yes!

Now don't get me wrong, I do not want to lose customers, far from it. What I want to do is always recommend the best solution for my customers and if that means for some of our smaller customers recommending a cloud solution because it is best for them then we will do it. The value comes in that we offered the best solution and people talk to people, word gets around that we do what is needed for our customers and that brings in new business, business that does need our helpdesk, our managed services, our great customer service.

So we thought if people want hosted email, hosted SharePoint, no backups to worry about and 24/7 uptime why don't we provide it too? So we do.

We can offer our customers who want a hosted solution, one that is designed for what they need. Many big cloud players are very much out of the box stuff and our customers have custom needs and these change all the time, they need techs who know what to do and how to do in like it was yesterday.

Want Exchange in the cloud? Keep SQL on premise for MRP? Managed Services for Anti Virus, Internet Threat Protection and Computer Theft Tracking? Yes we can do all this, Google cannot offer this and nor can Office 365.

The cloud is awesome and I use it all the time, our helpdesk is cloud based, so is our project management and CRM. Our email and Sharepoint is on premise. We have a mixture and its likely you will too.

You can have your cake and eat it with the cloud and on premise, you just have to know which slice goes where.

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