Several years ago I broadcasted a poll on LinkedIn gauging professional colleagues’ and acquaintances’ opinions on the hype vs. reality of “Cloud”. It was relatively early in, so the verdict was still out, and the response was fairly mixed.
Fast forward and Cloud is something that won over techies and adventurous users; it was trickled to and widely embraced by the consumer first, (see YouTube, Facebook, Gmail, eBay, oh yeah- LinkedIn) and the Enterprise later. Despite this fact, change management continues to be the key to a trouble free journey to the enterprise Cloud- much more of a strategic consideration and much less of an afterthought.
That verdict on the reality of Cloud is now in, and as many of us in IT suspected, it is much more than hype and more like a revolution; spawning similar revolutions such as Big Data (verdict is still out for some, but those in “the know” recognize the pattern): the proverbial “tip-of-the-iceberg”. Though after passing through the boardroom and making it through Finance, one of the last hurdles in your enterprise migration is actually getting your users to embrace the change.
Here are some benefits that we’ve found from experience make the changes more enticing, and therefore easier overall:
BYOD- People love their tech gadgets, and by using your own iPad at work it not only makes users comfortable but gives people a way to almost play “hooky” from their ball-and-chain PCs and laptops
Processes- Cloud can automate and streamline many of the tedious and disruptive functions your users would love to see gone. Oftentimes we see members of an enterprise salesforce who can perform quotes, sign contracts, etc right from their tablet
Teleworking- Statistics show that because people feel more conscientious about the fact that they aren’t in the office, they are more diligent about time spent working from home, including leveraging that wasted commute time
GTD- We work primarily with Google and Google Enterprise technologies, and find that features like Google Hangouts, live simultaneous Document editing, respond to email by chat and more help keep things flowing as opposed to users jumping in and out of multiple systems
Change Management is all about planning and being proactive. Every enterprise is going to be different, and one thing that goes a long way is leveraging your Comms and/or HR teams to conduct polls and put the feelers out before the whole ball gets rolling. There is also technology out there that can analyze and report on way your users utilize your current systems for data that ends up being valuable in migration scenarios.
Above all, work closely with both the stakeholders and the IT management team to ensure that you have the “Before” and “After” views for your Architecture and your Corporate Culture when all of the changes take place. Strive for universal governance and resist siloed clouds for different services within the organization.
If you have any questions on cloud, cloud migration, change management or related subjects feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Neither the concept of Cloud, nor that of Big Data really need introductions at this point in the Enterprise Game. Cloud is consuming the enterprise across business process, applications and more, while data is the first name of the “data driven Enterprise” and is created to the tune of 2 1/2 quintillion bytes a day, prompting investors to bet the farm on the concept of efficiently mining vast amounts of data to identify unforeseen relationships missed by competitors gathering the same crop to edge the others out.
The symbiotic connection between Cloud and mass Data creates infinite opportunities in the Enterprise, but also a long series of headaches for roles ranging from the (obvious) CIO and CFO to these days even including the COO and CMO.
Data can be farmed to outperform, reign in BPs, avert risk, consolidate systems, increase efficiency, streamline mergers, cut wasteful spending, modernize IT, identify potential markets, boost innovation, on and on… But do you really need all of that data? Who determines what is kept and discarded- or what is the value of what isn’t trimmed vs the cost of storage and backup? Have you seen the cost of the heavy lifting for juggling data of this size? The processing power needed for Enterprise-sized data is Enterprise-priced for on-prem and owned (-even colo) data centers, and then you have to plan, build, manage and scale it all on top of that.
That’s where Enterprise Cloud and the “Back-to-the-Basics” concept of Cloud as a utility come in. Cloud backed by a provider such as Google has the on-demand power, scalability and elasticity needed by the Enterprise on an as-needed basis with wholesale prices. This comes with multiple, redundant, secure data centers managed by the best in the business, and all wrapped into the same price to deliver what the Enterprise really needs: actionable and data-driven business insights.
‘Michael J. Franklin, Professor of Computer Science at UC Berkeley, remarked that [Google’s] BigQuery (internally known as Dremel) leverages “thousands of machines to process data at a scale that is simply jaw-dropping given the current state of the art.”’
Google states that “BigQuery is a web service that lets you do interactive analysis of massive datasets – up to billions of rows. Scalable and easy to use, BigQuery lets developers and businesses tap into powerful data analytics on demand. BigQuery works best for interactive analysis of very large datasets, typically using a small number of very large, append-only tables. For more traditional relational database scenarios, you might consider using Google Cloud SQL instead.”
For some actionable insight into BigQuery, take boo-box as an example. boo-box is an advertising network with clients like Intel, Fiat and Unilever that places 3 billion ads across 350,000 sites on just a monthly basis that uses BigQuery over MySQL and Hadoop to gain all but real-time insights into their business.
White Stratus is leveraging BigQuery to help Enterprise customers in sectors like retail to drill in on the who, what, where and why of their customers- live, as it happens, improving supply chains and streamlining their teams. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possibilities laid out by the powerful combo of Cloud and Big Data for the Enterprise.
If you would like to hear more about Cloud, Big Data, Google or BigQuery for the Enterprise please contact email@example.com
Contact: Tim Drury/White Stratus FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
White Stratus Becomes a Google EMEA Premier Partner
Premier Partner Status Offers Greater Integration Possibilities To Enhance Services
2-22-2013 Manhattan, NY: White Stratus, a Global Enterprise Cloud consulting firm, announced today that it has become a Google EMEA Premier Partner. White Stratus received training, support, and deployment services from Google as a participant in this program. The White Stratus team was also given access to APIs for integrating Google Apps into clients’ business operations.
White Stratus provides businesses with technology services aimed at moving their IT environment to the cloud. ”We see Google’s Enterprise suite of offerings as a quick win for our customers wanting to generate value from the cloud- in EMEA, and globally” says White Stratus CEO Tim Drury. “The costs are minimal and the benefits in terms of efficiency gained through real-time collaboration are enormous.”
White Stratus plans to offer Google based software solutions to new customers and their more than 1000 existing clients in the financial services, technology, telecommunications, hospitality, retail, and logistics industries. The company continues to develop partnerships with other web-based application developers to provide a full range of enterprise business software in the cloud. With Google applications such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and integrated IM, users can stay connected and work together with ease. Google Docs and Google Sites offer word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and website creation tools. These allow employees to share files and collaborate in real-time, keeping versions organized and available wherever and whenever users work. In addition to assisting with migration and integration, White Stratus also provides ongoing development, innovation, service and support and specializes in enterprise-specific solutions such as intranet/social, document management, big data, cloud platform and custom workflow.
About White Stratus
White Stratus is a leading provider of software development, system integration and business consulting services to help enterprises realize the benefits of cloud computing. White Stratus products and services are used by over 10,000 enterprise customers globally. White Stratus is a Google Enterprise Partner with offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Sydney. For more information, visit http://www.whitestratus.com.
About the Google Apps Reseller Program
The Google Apps Reseller program includes resellers, consultants, and independent software vendors that sell, service, and customize Google Apps for Business for their clients. Businesses receiving Google Apps through an authorized reseller can benefit from customized support. To learn more about the Google Apps Reseller program, go to www.google.com/a/xyz.
White Stratus is a trademark of White Stratus. All other company and product names in this document are the property of their respective owners.
Google, Google Apps, Gmail, Google Talk, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Video are trademarks of Google Inc.
In today’s world there are two basic models for cloud computing: One is utilizing a particular application for a particular purpose, SaaS; two is the process of developing applications with the specific purpose to run an app engine, IaaS. Now don’t get me wrong, both of these service models have a wealth of positives about them, but they are inherently limited by definition. What you are essentially doing here is creating building blocks and placing those blocks in an environment specifically designed for them to succeed. The blocks do what you intended for them and the environment thrives because of it. What limits the services is the lack of flexibility of the blocks. They are extremely rigid and stubborn applications which, in the end, are forever constrained to their singular task in their singular environment.
The progression forward when dealing with this inflexibility issue is to get away from a predefined solution and move towards raw computing power, and that is what Google Compute Engine is. In the past 4 years, Google has begun a movement away from traditional server sellers such as IBM, HP and Dell and positioned itself as the world’s fifth largest server maker. The cloud-based, elastic environment Google created has the potential to be best friend to everyone from garage startup to enterprise corporation:
Example #1: Steady State Organization
A technical solution company has been around for 4 years now and is well established. Their clientele has grown at a steady rate and in turn their number of employees has reached 50. They have a discovered that at their peak work hours they will need about 100 servers to support their entire business model. They had the capital, so they simply went out and bought the servers. What management didn’t consider is the servers rarely, if ever, run at 100 percent. According to Gartner research, Server utilization is often at the low end of the performance range, averaging between 7 and 15% of their potential power. In addition, they are only performing account process for about 3 hours each night, and sit dormant the remainder of the time.
The servers filled an immediate need and the company could afford it, so they can live with the down-time of the servers. What they fail to understand is that by moving these servers into Google’s Compute Engine they would have had a much more dynamic conversion of capital expenses into growth profit. The cloud enables a firm to pay only for the servers while they are using them. The servers would stretch out to the power of 100 servers during peak work hours when everyone is in the office, then scale back down as people begin logging off at the end of the day. By doing so capital IT expense is dramatically decreased.
Example #2: Startup Organization
A Government agency is following the growing trend towards e-government and online service for citizens. Their initial intention was to start online conveyancing and transactions of property sales. In the old world it would take a 5 year, 75 million dollar binding contract to accomplish the goal with an IaaS solution. Again there would be the inherent risk that would be taken on by either the agency or a service provider, lets say IBM. With a million transactions per year, the agency will pay IBM just 15 dollars per transaction. Pretty sweet deal right? Wrong. The deal may seem advantageous at first glance but, this same function could be created in the cloud for one-hundredth of the cost.
Furthermore they cannot easily repurpose that infrastructure when they decide to cut ties with IBM and cancel the project. In all likelihood they could end up having to pay IBM even more money just to come and take the servers away for them! This far too much risk for an organization in the public sector to endure.
If they take their same business plan forward into the cloud model the risk immediately vanishes. They can start with 1 transaction that requires about 1 hour of processing, and thats all they will have to pay for. From there the number of transactions/processing can build and the servers will expand and retract as needed. On top of that, they are free to walk away from the infrastructure whenever they want, with no cancellation fees or useless, space-consuming servers lying around. Further, speculative startups that are unsure of their business model can confidently use cloud based IaaS to grow as the opportunity grows. The engines will scale up or down as your business needs dictate.
Example #3: Need to Start then Eventually Shut Down
The need to begin a project that has a designated and limited run time is not uncommon. Whether you’re business is managing a transition from analog to digital TV broadcasts or running a promotional website for the Summer Olympic Games, the need to quickly create and easily shut down a process is an absolute must. When you are managing a project like this with Google Compute Engine, there are a number of glowing qualities that will enable a smooth and successful project. During the development of the necessary infrastructure you can utilize the cloud to test interim and potential platforms. You can move specific testing environments into the cloud, without transferring the entire business over. This allows for something of a trial-and-error process in designing your platform. If an idea is created in the cloud then deemed unsuccessful there will be absolutely zero decommissioning costs and you can simply wipe the slate clean and start again.
Now if this situation is carried out in the old world IaaS, it is a completely different story. If, after a month of developing a new website you find that there is more work to be done than originally predicted and you’re in need of increased computing power, you will be in the position of ordering say 6 more servers to support the growing project. Those servers will probably ship in from HP in about 6-12 weeks. In the cloud a request for more servers can be filled in about 2 minutes. This ability to make smart and quick decisions about infrastructure is simply revolutionary.
So back to the “shut down” part of this example.. The Olympic Games are over, you no longer have need of the servers and it’s time to shut down this successful project. Instead of being stuck with unused servers taking up space in a data center, or trying to sell them to another department, you now have the pleasure of walking away from the infrastructure contract when you are done with it. No clean up crews, no cancellation fees. You paid for it while you used it, you’re done using it, so you’re done paying for it. No longer do you have to watch the profits of a successful six month promotional campaign dwindle away as you pay the IT costs involved with making the whole thing happen in the first place.
Google Compute Engine has the speed, agility, elasticity and web scale that businesses of all shapes and sizes absolutely need in today’s digital world. It puts IT in a much more responsive position with less capital risk.
Written by Tony Evans, Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand, White Stratus
For more information visit www.whitestratus.com
Earlier in the week I talked about the opportunity to transform the way an organization works by moving from a legacy environment like SharePoint to a modern collaboration platform like Google Apps. This week, I am going to talk about how to make the move.
As always, cost and value will be key factors in determining what moves can bring you the highest business benefit. Cost is straightforward and can be estimated based on the characteristics of your environment. Value on the other hand is a bit more complex but can also be achieved by benchmarking the benefits seen by others. Here is a recent value assessment done by a White Stratus customer who moved from SharePoint to Google Apps.
Once you have a clear understanding of the benefits of making the move, it is time to start the process. We find that a 3 phase approach works well for most customers:
The first step is to focus on Enablers such as Single Sign-On and Federated Search that will help with the end user experience and connect the Google environment into other parts of your infrastructure. Next comes the Quick Wins that typically drive significant benefit with minimal cost or complexity from an implementation perspective. Generally, these will encompass Intranet Portals, Doc Management and Team Sites. Finally, Strategic Capabilities should be pursued as a long term goal. This could range from an upfront assessment of the implemented SharePoint reports, to the replication of an App written in Visual Studio using Google App Engine. These can have significant differentiation from a competitive perspective but may take more time to implement.
With your roadmap defined, a good way to start is with an early adopter group with an obvious need for better collaboration capabilities, eg. a marketing department who needs to rapidly create content using inputs from multiple sources, or project management offices trying to coordinate across many moving parts. The Google collaboration tools are temptingly easy to deploy, but for large enterprises it helps to have a Google Partner who has been through the transformation journey a few times and can provide the tools and experiences that will make everyone’s life easier.
More information can be found about how to migrate from SharePoint to Google Apps on our SharePoint to Google Apps Transformation Whitepaper.
Written by Tim Drury, CEO, White Stratus
SharePoint as a tool has been around since 2001 and has been used by organizations to support a range of business functionality typically centered around sharing content and documents. It has the potential to be used for a lot of things: intranet portals, social tools and enterprise search intelligence, process integration, workflow automation and providing core infrastructure for third-party solutions such as ERP. In many cases it supports basic team sites and document management. So what’s the problem?
The problem lies with an organization’s inability to fully exploit the tool mostly due to its high cost, the complexity of getting it working and a lack of end user adoption. The necessity for heavy involvement from IT and business analysts tends to drive the management cost skyward, and these expenses don’t go away once the solution is live. So what is the solution?
Companies are beginning to look at progressive models of cloud-based collaboration that provide greater transparency and usability in a real-time, multi-channel communications environment. Google Apps is increasingly being considered as an alternative to SharePoint, but a move from SharePoint to Google Apps requires a fundamental shift in thinking.
This means doing things like shifting away from multiple versions of documents to one single copy-of-the-truth, relying less on hierarchical folders with IT-controlled security groups and more on decentralised file management and intuitive search-based access. It means shifting away from doing things at an office with a desktop, to doing things anywhere at anytime on any kind of device. It means relying on search, social streams and dynamically shared content to connect employees, instead of rigid data stores like centralized file systems and document lists. It means simultaneous collaborating within documents rather than waiting in line to add content to a sequentially updated document. It also means giving up things that are no longer needed, relevant or used even if, at first, this seems hard to do.
There are significant benefits in adopting this new way of collaboration, but it does raise a challenge for customers who are already using SharePoint. How do we manage this transformation?
More information can be found about how to migrate from SharePoint to Google Apps on our SharePoint to Google Apps Transformation Whitepaper.
Also stay tuned for part two later in the week.
Written by Tim Drury, CEO, White Stratus
There were 1600 individual clients as well as 300 individual partners gathered to share state-of-the-art business and technology information at Atmosphere on Tour in Japan 2012, making it the biggest Google event ever held in Japan. AOT 2012 is making three stops in Japan this year, the first one of which was in Tokyo. White Stratus Japan and I participated as one of the 10 Gold Sponsors, which I saw as a great accomplishment in and of itself for the Japan division has only been open for 10 days. As we are the newest Gold Sponsor for Google it served as our first major activity and a coming out party in Japan.
Prior to the partner presentations, the morning started off with a series of keynote addresses from Google speakers called “Work in the Future”, which served to introduce the latest Google Enterprise Products. As a Gold sponsor I prepared a 40 minute presentation that introduced White Stratus’s successful global roll out case for the dutch retailer Royal Ahold. My intention was to explain the Big Google Concept as a state-of-the-art business innovation enabled by the Google cloud. My message really sank in with the audience due to Royal Ahold’s enterprise size of over 50,000 seats.
While most presenters talked about their specific tools and how they could be integrated easily with Google, as the only consulting firm amongst the sponsors (others were resellers, volume resellers and true vendors) I felt unique in explaining what can be achieved by going beyond Gmail and into the cloud platform, to utilize the enterprise capabilities such as google compute engine to maximise the innovation power.
Our implementation of Gmail collaboration social enterprise for over 50,000 people was a complete success and I went on to explain the next step for Ahold, which is big time, real data analysis using Google cloud platform for business intelligence and real-time analytics for strategic enterprise dashboards. The idea of compiling all live business information for the management level to see in real time and make quick decisions is a brand new idea for the Japanese market.
At the end of my presentation an audience member approached me said that he liked how I focused on business rather than IT. This is exactly what a migration to Big Google is all about. Moving the IT department of enterprise businesses to a stage where they can focus on the real business at hand and not just IT is essential. Several key Google partners (including SoftBank!) approached me at our booth throughout the day regarding collaborative works in the near future and their comments were rather consistent…
“We always wanted a partner who could work together on a global scale!”
“There’s the missing piece!”
Overall, my participation in AOT Tokyo 2012 was a massive success. It served as the launch for White Stratus Japan and more and more people are asking that all important question… Who is White Stratus? Who we are is more than a deployment venue, we are a team of consulting experts who are revolutionizing the way enterprises are carried farther along into the world of Big Google, and beyond.
Written by Takashi Ito, Managing Director of White Stratus Japan, Contact @ firstname.lastname@example.org