Why does it take so long…

Maybe you’re a nerd like me.  I fell in love with Apple after watching Steve Jobs product announcements.  The Word-Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) keynote has become must see-TV*.  First Steve Jobs and now Tim Cook take the stage annually to tell everyone all of the new features and functionality coming to iPhones, iPads and Macs in the fall.

Once the magical date comes up on the calendar office traffic comes to a stand still.  WiFi networks slow to a crawl as everyone downloads and installs the updates**.  The next couple of hours are spent like a child with a new toy.  Learning how the new features work. Looking for the changes in the user experience.

On the other side of the spectrum is Android.  Much like Apple, Google hosts an annual developer conference, I/O.  And like Apple they show off the latest and greatest features being planned for the latest flavor of Android to be released in the fall.

This is where the similarities end.  Unlike Apple devices which tend to receive annual updates for at least 3-4 years, only select devices running Android receive the updates when Google releases them.  Within weeks of the software’s launch, Apple routinely sees the majority of their user base has updated.  On Android the user base is much more fragmented across multiple releases.

In fact as of today the majority of Android devices are using a version of Android which is 1-2 years old (source: Click Here)

There are many reasons for these delays.  While Apple maintains a direct to the consumer relationship.  Google works through Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) partners such as Samsung, LG, Motorola and others. Once Google releases the software, the various Android manufacturers must then customize it for their implementations, or skinned versions of the OS.  Once the manufacturers have completed their testing your carrier must test and customize the OS for any “value added” software they install***.

Is your infrastructure fragmented?

Would you compare your enterprise IT to Apple or Google?  Do you wonder why your business software seems like it hasn’t been updated in years?  Are you solving evolving business challenges with the latest features & functionality as soon as they are available?  Is your infrastructure at risk running years old software?

Much like the Android ecosystem, corporate IT groups are extremely fragmented.  The software & infrastructure used to run the business is often neglected.  The old adage “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” was applied as budgets were cut, staffing levels lowered and your poor IT group is left trying to keep the lights on.  In the mean time your competitors are potentially attracting more talent, providing better customer service and growing their business by leveraging technology innovation.

Rise of the Cloud

During the recent economic downturn many businesses looked to a new “technology” to solve this challenge.  And the vendors selling this “technology” called it the cloud.  The sales pitch went something like this:

“Instead of investing money to upgrade all of that legacy software, pay nothing up front.  Just a small per user fee per month.  Add users or subtract users as you need them.  Instant cost savings!”

I will not dispute any of the above is true.

Flag on the play

Awe come on Ref!  You have to be kidding me!  Hear me out!

I will readily admit this can sound weird coming from someone who has made a career managing, installing and then selling on premise solutions.

And I can already hear from some of you out there.  In copper you trust.  The cloud never goes down in price! And an on-premise solution eventually pays for itself!  And what about reliability?

CapEx vs. OpEx

Most on-premise solutions require a capital expense (CAPEX).  You buy the software, hardware & implementation services and then depreciate the cost over a time period (3-5 years).  Most cloud solutions require minimal if any capital expenditures.  Instead the bulk of the cost is a monthly subscriber fee per user, which is considered an operating expense (OPEX).

An on premise solution provider will tell you some version of this.  If you depreciate the cost of their proposal over 3 to 5 years, there will be a time when you save money compared to the ongoing costs of cloud.  And a pretty chart later certainly shows the cloud and on premise lines crossing.

Upon further review

In fact one of the main benefits of a cloud based solution is a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).  All too often TCO is calculated on an incomplete picture.  On the internet there is a popular infographic that really paints this picture:

The crux of this argument really boils down not to the “technology” of cloud but instead how you consume the services. An on premise solution generally requires adjacent investments in hardware, software and training.  A cloud based proposal requires much less adjacent investment, leading to a lower cost of ownership.

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish?

So is cost savings the only reason your business should consider cloud?  Heck no!  The original story comparing how Apple and Google provide software updates is a fantastic analogy for this decision.  While the cloud can deliver cost savings the more compelling benefit for most businesses is the innovation which can be driven through the cloud.  As software vendors release new features, functions and patches these are available to your business shortly after launch.  Your business can leverage this innovation to squeeze costs out of the budgets, improve internal engagement and extend customer satisfaction through new technologies and channels.

Devouring a Whale

In the wildly popular television series House of Cards Frank Underwood is a schemer.  The past three seasons have seen Frank scheme his way from Majority Whip of the United States House of Representatives to the Vice Presidency and then becoming the President.  Starting with the opening scene of episode 1 there is a feeling that a broader picture is unfolding.  Passed over for the position of Secretary of State, Frank begins planning his revenge.  In one scene Frank is discussing strategy with his chief of staff, Doug Stamper.  He urges Doug to see the larger picture instead of the small challenge in front of him.

“That’s how you devour a whale, Doug.  One bite at a time.”

Evolving the infrastructure you have built your business on is akin to devouring a whale.  Do you try to consume it in one bite?

All clouds are not created equal

The cloud is not a technology.  As previously defined the cloud is a new delivery method and consumption model for technology.  Not every business is ready for every element of a cloud based solution.  And even if you are, where do you start?

These questions become even more confusing when you consider your options.  Some vendors offer only cloud based solutions, meaning you need to devour the whale in one bite.  This all or nothing approach can introduce risk to your business as you migrate to the cloud.  Other vendors offer cloud and on premise solutions, which sounds great in theory.  However many times the technology behind the cloud option is radically different than their on-premise solution. Meaning you sacrifice features based on the delivery mechanism.

The Avaya difference

At Avaya we believe in devouring the whale one bite at a time.  An orderly transition from an on-premise CAPEX based solution to a cloud based OPEX solution reduces risk to your business.  Behind Avaya cloud offers are the same award winning team & customer engagement solutions deployed at many customer sites today.  We can create a public, private or hybrid cloud solution around your business needs by asking three simple questions.

Where do the assets live?

Maybe your business is one which is risk adverse, like a bank.  You’re concerned with an emergency occurring at one of your branches.  The thought of the internet connection acting as a sole lifeline to emergency services keeps you up at night.

No problem.  Avaya Private Cloud Services can still migrate your core services to an off-site data center.  At the same time you can deploy a branch survivable gateway at these locations.  Providing peace of mind in the event of an emergency.

Who owns the assets?

Maybe your business is ready to move to a full OPEX model of consuming services.  Avaya Private Cloud Services can develop a model where you only pay for the users and services you consume on a monthly basis.  The benefits of an OPEX cloud.  The flexibility to deploy assets where needed to ensure business continuity.

Who manages the assets?

Instead of your limited IT resources focusing on non-revenue generating activities like system monitoring, management & maintenance these tasks can be assigned to Avaya Private Cloud Services.  Now your IT group can instead focus on how innovation can solve real challenges facing your business.  All with a lower TCO.

Interested in learning how Avaya can help your business migrate to the cloud?  Leave me a comment or reach out to your Avaya Business Partner today!

* Prior to Apple streaming these keynotes through AppleTV, I would be breathlessly reading blogs on launch day to hear what Steve announced.  I’d still watch the replay after mesmerized.  My children will never know the struggle…

** If this describes your wireless LAN on launch day, we need to talk.  The Avaya Wireless LAN allows you to manage this right at the antenna to ensure smooth sailing for your business applications while allowing (or denying) your employees the updates.

*** The scourge of Android as far as I’m concerned.  I remember the first Galaxy S.  The Verizon Wireless variant of the device actually REMOVED Google from the user experience and replaced it with Bing.  Add to that the fact that I can use Samsung Wallet on my TMobile Galaxy Note 5 but a peer using the same handset on Verizon Wireless cannot is inexcusable.  Now that OEMs are slowly minimizing or eliminating their skins, this is the major challenge facing the Android ecosystem today in my opinion.

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