Finding solutions over lunch – knocking down the literal, and figurative, four walls and moving your company’s IT infrastructure to the cloud.
Magna5 Sales Leader Steve Francis reflects on a recent lunch conversation.
We all have conversations in which we find ourselves connecting with more than others. Those discussions usually focus on topics we’re really curious and passionate about. It’s the mutual sharing of new ideas through our connections and professional friendships where we learn, gain insight – and solutions happen.
I can think of a recent conversation that fits this scenario: over lunch with an IT executive, our conversation centered around the Cloud and now operating in a world far beyond your office environment or your local data center. Or, what may be referred to as blowing out the traditional four walls – both in the literal sense and in new ways of thinking and possibilities.
Lego as a Service (“LaaS”)
It’s a conversation that has stayed with me since. My IT friend started the conversation off with an interesting analogy, albeit a bit facetious, “I don’t care where my IT infrastructure resides, it could sit on Lego blocks for all I care, as long as the applications work,” he joked.
All joking aside, he was being serious: he didn’t care where the technology was housed – just so long as it worked all the time. The point he was really making was on the importance and underpinning of the application in driving core value- physical infrastructure has never made anyone money – rather, innovative applications and services layered on top are the real lifeblood of a company’s success.
For today’s client, this also introduces new options to consider to optimize application performance and for the best end-user experience. Consider your company’s own internal environment, external go-to-market strategies and all the critical services and applications in place to meet your objectives. Where do you house your sales CRM, collaboration tool, payroll system, ERP, storage, email, e-commerce site, databases, expense systems, phone system? How do customers reach you, how do you reach them and others across your supporting ecosystem? Are they residing outside your “four walls” or across data centers on infrastructure managed and owned by someone else, but reachable through a direct connection or the Internet? If you’re like the many and growing exponentially – they are outside the traditional four walls. With this said, the dependency to connect, to access and enable applications across the global market has never been higher or more important.
With the shift to infrastructure and resources anywhere, my friend also shared an interesting change his company was taking on, an IT resource and headcount reallocation. In the past, their IT infrastructure folks would manage IT infrastructure in individual silos or in the areas they were only responsible for, e.g. routers, servers, storage – and do it well. Now those same infrastructure folks were partnering up or moving up the stack, and are now tightly connected and working side by side with the actual application owners to drive collaboration, speed, agility and performance through the application life cycle. That made a lot of sense to me – rather than looking at the parts, look at them as a whole and unify and focus everyone on the big picture purpose.
So, a great story so far: new, distributed services available anywhere, a new agile workforce, and improved time to market and response.
What could be better? Is there a better?
When our lunch conversation shifted to the network and accessing the critical applications, the conversation dimmed in enthusiasm pretty quickly. It was our consensus that it seems as though the network is the forgotten or overlooked piece – when, really, it is the critical component and glue that makes it all work.
The Cloud, with all of its inherent power, is only as good as the underlying network – but for many, it’s still the Achilles heel. And, in commiserating our network woes, we both shared our collective “oh no” experiences in rapid-fire succession like we were on a game show competing for the buzzer: Internet failures, DDos attacks, power issues, fiber cuts, backhoes, latency lag, application slowness, human error, brown-outs, routing misconfigs, fat fingers, finger pointing, routine maintenance gone bad … and, we repeated, human error.
But what really happens when things go bad? Time stops. People freeze. They grow frustrated and eventually go home to get online. For the affected company, its lost revenue and diminished brand value like a ticking clock, where the ticks get louder and louder every second, where customers, employees, stakeholders demand answers. Not a good day. Not the picture of a thriving, productive workforce and organization.
The Cloud as a (part of the) Solution
So, what’s the better in this part of the story? We fundamentally agreed it really starts with approach and how you look at things. First, understanding we’re living in a multi-cloud world, and, rather than looking at the Cloud as a standalone panacea or end all, we should be looking at the Network and Cloud as symbiotic and as an interconnected platform to deliver high-value applications.
In today’s business world, you need a secure, diverse and resilient network giving rise to all of the Cloud applications – otherwise, in simple terms, you’re dead in the water. Better yet, to achieve the best of all outcomes partner with a service provider who specializes in both the network and the cloud. A partner who understands and considers all the network and cloud interdependencies and relationships end-to-end for voice and data: from ground level last-mile local-access strategies, software-defined network features, security controls, application performance, to hybrid-based carrier egress routing options with multi-path failover.
My lunch partner and I decided that businesses need to figure out if they’re asking the right questions:
- Does my service provider have years of expertise and experience migrating customers from traditional to advanced IP-based networks?
- Do they operate their own tried and trusted network – with diversity and redundancy as the main operating tenets?
- Do they deploy next-generation Cloud and Collaboration architecture and committed to delivering new and advanced cloud-based technologies?
- Are they true experts in the industry? Can they prove it?
As we were leaving the restaurant, we joked about who’s going to patent “Lego as a Service” first – everything else is “As a Service” why not Legos, but we stopped ourselves, and said before we do that – we know that a strong network comes first.
I walked away still thinking about the conversation – who better than Magna5 to support and help guide customers to the modern Network and Cloud delivery platform. This is what we do.
From the Magna5 Network and Cloud platform, we design and deliver the most resilient of Cloud-based network solutions for our clients. Our customer-first culture and philosophy is defined by high touch and response, and the idea that “what affects our customers affects us.” The ultimate compliment we can receive is hearing that we create peace of mind for our customers. We know the pitfalls, the gotchas, the worries and have tested and deployed, re-tested and re-deployed with certain scenarios in mind to prevent and find solutions to those issues before they happen to our customers.
From enterprise customers, government agencies to Level 1 Trauma Centers focused on saving lives every minute, every day – they count on us. For critical environments like a trauma center, there is no “go home” option.
Interested in speaking with Steve more about this topic? Connect with Steve.