Cloud computing has become a catchy phrase in the recent years. Big players in on the market are rolling out their offers. Even the hard headed non-believers, such as Oracle, retracted their opinions and went with the flow.
According to research done by Merrill Lynch cloud computing market is growing rapidly. Early in 2009 the firm estimated the market to reach $160 billion by 2011. While some analysts believe the estimates are too generous, there is no doubt, the market is growing fast.
So what does Cloud Computing mean for an average IT services provider and their client?
Most SMBs are running their IT in a never-ending cycle of hardware and software purchasing and upgrades. In most cases Small Business needs to balance between cost and performance and so their systems remain in a constant state of construction. Every business owner either heard about or dealt with an expensive computer disaster. This pushes them to reluctantly buy faster backup drives, more secure firewalls, more storage, more monitoring and more disaster prevention. Once they’re done with the safety of the data, business owners are reminded that the new version of the software has been released. The new version is faster, safer and comes with the new features that users need so badly. Unfortunately, the new version only runs on the new hardware. It seems that this cycle could be coming to an end. Many of the new clients we meet ask us about online backup, cloud based CRM systems, hosted e-mail and EMR systems. The word had spread, and in the new economic times the need to save money dictates most of the IT decisions.
In many regards this technology shifts the paradigm of IT provider as an inseparable part of any decent sized business. A managed service provider is now becoming a utility service, rather than an unofficial department in the company. IT providers have adapted with the help of the key players on the Cloud computing market, and now provide set-up and training services for products such as Google Apps. For many MSPs a call regarding Google Aps setup could result in a more fruitful relationship. After all, users’ PCs still need care. Larger companies with a budget can roll out offerings of their own. Tech Team Manhattan has been servicing a number of medical practices which use a certain EMR solution, that doesn’t offer a hosted solution. After encountering a few more potential clients who were astonished by the cost of in-house EMR deployment, the decision was made to deploy and roll out a hosted solution which could satisfy the needs of smaller practice.