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Technological change is happening at such a pace that it’s getting difficult to remember when things started happening. A year or so ago there was another phrase being brandished around causing our CTO to shout out that he’d completed yet another line on his iPhone’s ‘Buzzword Bingo’ app – ‘the cloud’.

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing

Of course the concept is nothing new – reducing cost, simplifying IT management and improving flexibility by hosting stuff centrally has been around for a while, although described in other terms. More recently however, it seems everyone’s talking about ‘the cloud’ and how you need to get your head into it if you’re selling to businesses. It’s easy to see why too. The analyst, Gartner, predicts a 19 percent increase in cloud services revenue globally in 2011, even if it’ll only account for 2.3 percent of the entire IT market spend. A massive 83 percent growth by 2014 is forecast too.

As a voice or data reseller though, it’s important to keep your feet firmly planted if you’re going to entertain spending even more of your valuable time and resources (and money) marketing ‘services in the cloud’. The one thing that underpins the successful sale of cloud-based or hosted services – whether they offer VoIP, software apps, email or something unique – is the stability, performance and reliability of the underlying connectivity infrastructure.

Weak foundations don’t make for impressive skyscrapers. Neither do weak network infrastructures support business-critical hosted services. Fortunately, the quality of connectivity services has been improving but you shouldn’t assume that all connectivity is made equal. Indeed the diversity and complexity of emerging connectivity options, coupled with many ISPs’ leap onto the cloud marketing bandwagon, has left many resellers confused as to what’s available from whom and how well it’s delivered and supported.

As a reseller you need to ensure you properly understand the business and technical requirements of particular cloud services. You also need to be completely confident that your connectivity services provider has the infrastructure to support them and delivers consistent, reliable performance. You’ll also want to feel confident that they have the technical knowledge to support you and your customer.

When Entanet first started to consider strategies for emerging voice and data communications needs, we recognised that we’d need to implement a strong, high-performance, nationwide network that would provide a solid platform upon which our partners could deliver reliable solutions, today and in the future. This meant making very significant investment in building a network over which we have full control. But without that, we could never have hoped to provide the stable, consistent and reliable performance that is needed to support hosted voice, security, managed network services, data mirroring and backup, and the many other services that resellers are now looking to deliver through the cloud.

There is a huge variety of connectivity options available now to support customers’ objectives. Market forces have brought the cost of Ethernet over fibre within reach of a greater proportion of SME’s, while Ethernet over copper via EFM can provide an even more cost effective option if the conditions are right. We’re now also seeing broadband offer Ethernet-type speeds and traffic prioritisation options. Critically for customers though, they differ in terms of service guarantee and this goes for ISPs’ underlying networks too. Resilience, capacity, performance and stability in your connectivity supplier’s network are all immensely important if you’re using the cloud. Customers that take-up cloud-based services will soon get upset when their applications become sluggish or unpredictable, or if they have difficulty in using their hosted voice service at a crucial time. Potentially, they could lose business and if you’ve provided the cloud-based service and the connectivity to support it, you’ll be the one asked to explain.

If you’re already looking into the cloud then, you need to get definitive answers from your comms supplier to some pertinent questions. What exactly is their next generation access strategy; how does their network support cloud adoption; how flexible are they in meeting increasing bandwidth demand; and what assurance can they give around maintaining high service delivery standards?

All the talk about ‘the cloud’ being a huge opportunity for the channel definitely isn’t just hot air. In fact the potential is very real. Hosted services give resellers a new and exciting way to add more value and for customers to develop sustainable long-term business. But the value of a cloud-based solution will soon evaporate if the communications infrastructure beneath it isn’t stable. So, if you are looking to soar to new heights in the cloud, make sure you keep your feet on the ground and choose the right partner.

Have your say!

What do you think about ‘cloud computing’? Do you think it’s just another buzz word or do you think there is real potential in what can be achieved? Let us know your thoughts by leaving us a comment below.

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One Response to “Don’t get dizzy in the cloud…”

  1. I am commenting on this article from year 2017, and let me tell you, Cloud computing is very much popular among those in the digital corporate world. The fact that technology, internet, and social media play big roles in the business scene and in people’s daily lives, no doubt Cloud computing hit its mark! Many have ditched their on-premise setup for a more convenient Cloud-based platform (SaaS being the most popular).

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