Nowadays, cloud computing, unified comms and virtualisation are the technologies most in demand but it would seem that the public sector will not be the sector who are most interested in them.
According to a recent Pearlfinders Index, which monitors trends and opinions in the IT world,virtualisation remained the most popular area for investment, and more customers were looking to move to the cloud.
But in terms of buyers of IT support the industry/manufacturing sector was followed by retail and financial services with public sector lagging well behind.
To meet the customer requirement the skills that these new adopters are looking for include an in-depth knowledge of software, hardware but also managed services and outsourcing capabilities.
When quizzed about what they hope IT to deliver the users had some specific aims with supporting growth and improving efficiency at the top of the wish list.
The attitude towards virtualisation has changed with it no longer being seen as just a route to saving money but more as an option to introduce greater flexibility.
In just the latest few months of the year the reasons for deploying virtualisation changed with cost cutting dropping down the list of priorities.
In a recent interview, one of our customers said, “The drivers behind virtualisation work have changed massively. Cost cutting is certainly not our main reason. We are more interested in looking at virtualisation as a way to improve the flexibility of our operations and enhance storage/DR infrastructure as part of a previously planned hardware refresh. Also high priority for us are reasons of sustainability.”
Another extremely intersting development is that for the first time the data back from Pearlfinders shows a stronger demand for desktop rather than server virtualisation.
One of the benefits to this technology which is no longer being seen as the new kid on the block is that smaller firms are more willing to embrace what they now percieve as a tried and tested product. The influence of Microsoft’s Hyper-V, VMware and Citrix in driving demand is also being seen across the sector.
If we look at Unified Comms the results were surprising with the public sector remaining a strong buyer for the time being.
A forward thinking IT manager at one of our customers said, “The growing penetration of hosted or cloud-based VoIP and UC platforms is driving uptake among SMEs and I am starting to win the battle when it comes to convincing the business that a hosted UC solution can be both cost-effective and high quality.”
The adoption of hosted VOIP is particularly interesting with a fairly significant spike in interest in Q2 2011. Reduced telephone call and line rental costs, including free
calls between all users within an implementation, the high level of business telephony functionality for all users with absolutely no maintenance and support charges, the minimal CAPEX outlays whilst moving towards a future-proof technology in which the investment is protected with free upgrades, the seamless integration of multiple locations with improved productivity and work-life balance through flexible working and finally built in business continuity with disaster recovery solutions out of the box, all conspire to present a compelling business case.
Another of the technological developments that should start coming through is the extension of video conferencing and messaging opportunities to tablets with the iPad, Samsung Galaxy and now Dell Streak all being more widely adopted by business users. The upside is that many of these services are very quickly integrated to support each others features so expect to see tight integration between the hosted VOIP proposals and the these new messaging opportunities.
The Ubiquitous Cloud
Finally, the area of high interest in the current market which will come as little surprise is cloud. Cloud is still being hyped by numerous vendors and even some of their partners including ourselves. The technology is certainly being used and deployed more widely but a debate about the preference for private rather than public clouds exists. One could argue that there is a high degree of crossover between all three of these fields of technology and where they intersect most greatly is what we call the cloud.
Some users are perhaps a bit cynical about the cloud viewing it as another name for a virtualised data centre but overall the trend towards some sort of hosted solution seems to be gathering pace. The sector which seems to have embraced the cloud most fully is the financial services sector when some large banks made the move to the hosted environment in Q4 of 2010. For the rest of the potential user base however there are still concerns that will have to be overcome. Within enterprise organisations, concerns over the security and uptime of public cloud-based solutions remain, as does nervousness over running mission-critical applications in these environments.
Another issue is the ongoing debate surrounding the use of the word ‘cloud’. It has too many definitions and we have actually found that many of our customers are reacting negatively to the word when it’s used.
The rise of the SME sector as a user of virtualisation, cloud and UC is yet another milestone in the mainstream adoption of these technologies and we at Rustyice Solutions are sure that this trend will only increase.