If you are considering and/or evaluating Lync 2013, be sure to listen to the eGroup Roundtable Series: Lync 2013.
Our guest was Dale Sayers, Microsoft Partner Technology Advisor, covers the “who, what, where, when, and why” of Lync. He also shares his knowledge of how Lync fits into Microsoft’s overall Office and Cloud Strategy and explains Lync’s integration with Office and SharePoint.
Lastly, Dale talks about the various programs for enterprises who may want to kick Lync’s tires with zero up-front investment. Listen in to hear details.
As always, be sure to subscribe to our iTunes feed to hear all the latest eGroup Roundtables.
As we dust off the first month of the year and look ahead, we wanted to share our top 10 IT Predictions for 2013.
The eGroup prognosticators outline 10 predictions and observations for 2013 around cloud computing, enterprise applications and end-user computing. We listed them out below, but you have to listen to hear the details and justification behind the predictions!
Click the image above to download the recording. As always, you can click to the right to subscribe to our Podcasts through iTunes.
10. Commoditization of hardware increases
9. Hear less about Big Data and more about (just) Data
8. Hadoop will be easier to deploy, manage & leverage
7. Proliferation of mobile devices will continue
6. Document storage becomes more critical
5. Privacy & Security take center stage
4. Will be the Year of the Solid State
eGroup, in collaboration with a few of our manufacturing partners – Cisco, VMware and EMC – hosted a high touch event specifically designed to guide and inform our customer executives on the most critical and impactful innovations.
The Forum, titled “Building Organizations with Technology to Achieve High Performance and a Distinct Competitive Advantage”, took place against the beautiful backdrop of the Inn on Biltmore in Asheville, NC. The content theme focused on “Three Mega Technology Trends: BYOD, Collaboration, Cloud” impacting our customer’s business and how they can leverage for a competitive advantage.
To see more photos from the event, please click here.
We recently sat down with Allen Rittscher, President of Virtual C-I-O, to chat about cloud computing’s opportunity for the enterprise, advantages over alternative computing methods and how C-level executives view “the promise of the cloud.”
The following is the result of our conversation with Allen.
A future post will discuss the trend of end-user computing and how easier access to corporate information, anytime, anywhere and on any device is creating a more productive and efficient workforce.
eGroup: A company executive’s objective is to “do more with less”; how can this be achieved when collaboration and productivity requires the latest technology and applications? For example, incorporating cloud computing, which some believe is hype.
AR: This is an area in which the CEO, CFO and IT management must be in agreement and have a level of trust in each other’s role. Given the CEO’s vision for the organization, IT management will design an effective technology environment to support all staff members in achieving that vision. When this IT design has been created in proper alignment with the business vision / mission, it will be very cost-effective in addition to being a performance and cost-reduction catalyst. “Doing more with less” is the natural by-product of a strategic business-aligned IT environment design.
Cloud computing has grown past the hype phase and is now a maturing option for businesses of all sizes to significantly reduce operating costs. It can also reduce capital requirements for key IT commodities such as email, document management, customer relationship management systems and collaboration technologies.
eGroup: When it comes to enterprise / business goals, what challenges do C-level executives face today?
AR: Today’s C-level executives face the challenge of accomplishing much-needed goals of the enterprise within the confines of annual budgets and resource allocations. Most CEOs, though, are becoming aware of modern approaches to delivering IT services via cloud computing and through the use of global resources. They are increasingly pushing their agendas through means that do not require the same level of investment as in years past.
These modern approaches free up dollars for core technology investments by reducing annual operating costs of non-core technologies. At Virtual C-I-O, for example, we’re helping both small and large enterprises to leverage these approaches to deliver technology based services that are helping control – and in most cases reduce – the operating costs to further generate competitive benefits.
eGroup: What indicators should be recognized by a CEO to prompt a company’s complete IT assessment? How can the CEO and CFO generate a clear picture of total IT expenses?
AR: Understanding all IT costs, including the “hidden costs” of acquiring and maintaining IT assets, can help reduce unnecessary expenses and move funds to other key areas. The old adage “until you measure, you can’t control” applies here. Inaccurate IT spending analysis leads to waste, improper budgeting and low cost efficiency. Always include direct and indirect costs in IT analysis. As part of a comprehensive IT assessment, technology actual costs as well as planned costs need C-level visibility.
eGroup: How should we define “cloud computing”? Do you believe that company top management has other definitions?
“Cloud computing” has many different definitions in today’s market. For the small to medium sized business owner, they should view the “cloud” as an avenue by which they acquire key IT systems for email, document management, customer relationship management, accounting, etc. On a per-employee basis, where a monthly fee is paid to acquire the technology, cloud computing can keep the technology current. For key functions like backups, accessibility and mobile enablement are built-in benefits.
In larger enterprises, “cloud computing” takes on many different meanings and is generally viewed as a means to deliver systems to employees and clients over the internet, buy processing and data storage on an “as needed” basis and a means for acquiring non-core technology like email and document management.
eGroup: What are the primary concerns, objections or misunderstandings that C-level executives have about the cloud?
AR: The primary concerns among C-level executives are cost, reliability and security. These concerns generally stem from a misunderstanding of what the cloud actually is. Most misunderstandings are around what is known as the “public” cloud and that is generally associated to services such as Gmail. An executive’s worry usually comes from news reports regarding security breaches or system wide outages.
What most C-level executives fail to think about is that those same instances can and do happen in their own company. In many cases, the measured SLA is actually less on internal systems than a service provided by companies like Google or Microsoft. Today, cloud providers are delivering services in a capacity which typically offers greater service levels than internal resources and generally do so at a lower operating cost. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, “What Every CEO Should Know about the Cloud”, addresses these topics as well.
eGroup: How can we effectively educate top management on the cost, security and efficiency advantages of “the cloud”?
AR: Educating top management is happening in many different forms today. Company IT executives have gained a better understanding of cloud services as they struggle with the relentless imperative “do more with less.” Many reputable technology research sources like Gartner and Forrester have expanded their coverage of topics regarding the cloud and not to mention articles from the Harvard Business Review, Forbes and other management publications.
To gain a better understanding on cost, organizations will need to learn more about their own IT spend and ultimately get their IT costs down to an employee. In having information about cost of IT by employee, a company can effectively analyze the cost on a per user basis which most cloud providers charge by user. Security, on the other hand, is something that needs to be researched and compared against internal capabilities. Cloud providers such as Microsoft and Google are housing their cloud based infrastructure in Tier-3 data centers, similar to that of the banking industry. So, in many cases, an effective cloud strategy can not only create greater cost savings, but greater efficiencies and greater security as well.
Allen Rittscher serves as President of Virtual C-I-O, a Jacksonville, FL-based IT strategy consulting company, since its founding in 2012. Previously he served as Chief Information Officer for Volt Information Sciences, Inc., a Fortune 500 HR services company, and President of ProcureStaff Technologies, a software development company. Prior to that, Mr. Rittscher held information technology management positions with MPS Group and Barnett Bank. He earned his BS degree from the University of North Florida and MBA degree from Jacksonville University. For more information on Virtual C-I-O, visit www.virtual-c-i-o.com.
Upcoming Webinar with Live Q&A – Wednesday July, 25 2012 – 1pm EDT
IT departments have long struggled with employee demands for larger mailboxes and easier access to their data from anywhere on any device – while faced with the unfortunate realities of managing legacy messaging platforms, which are difficult and expensive to maintain and support.
Join us as we discuss how to bridge the gap by moving messaging and collaboration to the cloud, and see the powerful new features and functionality of VMware Zimbra 8.0, the newest version, in action. During this live event, we’ll showcase:
• Integrated unified communications, enabling click-to-call with voice routing, click-to-chat and visual voicemail
• Connecting users to their personal clouds through a smarter mailbox that manages the flow of data from email, voice and social networks
• Managing ITaaS in the cloud era with enterprise IT security controls for account provisioning, dynamic distribution list creation and more
BONUS: Live Q&A with the VMware Zimbra product management team
The time to move to the cloud is now!