Day one was 15 hours of immersive industry education. I met with no less than twenty vendors, listened to four keynotes, and attended two breakout sessions. Somewhere in between I had lunch with Microsoft delegation, made some friends and maybe had a few drinks. Everything I just listed had a common theme – the cloud.
If these blog posts are starting to sound like a broken record – I couldn’t agree with you more. It is important to realize that this message is being sent because it is real and educating solution providers and end users is the largest component of rolling out these types of solutions. Once we can understand the benefits of a cloud based solution, and understand what our competition is doing, then we can make a decision if, when and how to migrate.
In that spirit, Gartner is predicting that in the next five years small businesses (under 100) will double their spending on cloud based solutions. This increase means that the traditional on premise based solution will be shrinking. Small businesses have already started moving into the cloud and all signs point to a sharp increase over the next few years.
Gartner also announced results of a CIO panel study. CIOs report that they have finished reducing IT spending and are now focused on improving employee productivity. Costs will need to stay down, but functionality needs to increase. The study further shows that most of these CIOs are looking to cloud based solutions to minimize capital and operating expenses – but get all off the functionality.
So, now that we know what everyone else is doing, what are you going to do to ensure that your IT gives you a competitive advantage? Microsoft showed a great video yesterday. It told the story of an architect who uses future devices to design and a mange building contraction, and still getting home in time to play with the kids. He works in a pawn shop, a park bench, the subway and his living room. All the while,the data is instantly available back at the office. Cloud based systems can do most of this right now. This work from anywhere mindset has changed the modern professional – and we need to embrace and plan for it now.
I’m sitting in another cloud based general session at the moment. I promise that I will get off my soapbox and talk about other things. I saw an awesome telepresence system that is priced for the SMB market. I also saw the next generation of SonicWall and a great Brother MFP that can scan and email a PDF – all priced for the SMB. There is a lot going on this week, and my aim is to cover it all!