ITS-LogoI stumbled across IT Solved a couple of weeks back and immediately thought “here’s another Cloud integrator”, then, looked a little closer, and found a more rounded Cloud service provider. But not in the traditional sense of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS, but in an advisory and consulting sense. IT Solved has been around for about a year and shows the market reacting to the gap between what Cloud promises and organisation and how you actually get your organisation there.

IT Solved has been around for a year or so and was setup by three gentleman with a long pedigree in IT. Marcus Porter, Rob Fisher, and Richard Tate are all ex-bit IT employees (of recent days) they have made that very brave and often terrifying jump into establishing a private company. They are growing quickly “the growth is huge”, but they won’t tell me just how huge. Mind you, if you can take on eight staff in your first year, then it’s growing substantially.

The product set for IT Solved is simple. It’s about getting small and large enterprise to Cloud. They also have a product called Tohahub, that allows disparate Cloud services to be attached to each other. They consult on hybrid and other types of Cloud, have project services available, and a couple of other software products. You could say they are quite hybrid themselves.

IT Solved marks the development of a new wave of services, in New Zealand at least, which is less Cloud integration and more Cloud service adviser. The problem with Cloud is that it is an incredibly complex piece of technology, that is different for every enterprise, coloured with misinformation, and requires completely new disciplines to activate. Cloud security by itself is a discipline in it’s own right, outside of general IT security. That makes it damn hard to unlock the benefits. All of this drives the uptake of Hybrid Cloud be default.

Which is why IT Solved exists.

I was interested in what they saw coming and the challenges that they see with Cloud adoption.

The first is a general lack of understanding of what ‘the cloud’ actually is. Lack of understanding often leads to fear, which in turn makes people shy away from the whole domain. Everyone has their own definition of what ‘cloud’ is, but few have been able to apply this to benefit their business. We find that explaining the cloud in business terms is a breath of fresh air for our clients. You see people’s eyes light up – this is the ‘a-ha!’ moment, when they suddenly see the potential of what the cloud can offer.

This leads to a second challenge – getting the best from the cloud. Lots of  “what if…” and “how about…” conversations between ourselves and our clients really help position the cloud  as an enabler of change and growth for their business.

It’s a good point. Cloud is now several years down the track, and generally, people don’t understand it. As well as that, the technology evolves so rapidly that just keeping up is a challenge. It often takes me some time with my customers to define what Cloud is then what it is for them. Which are two separate discussions.

IT Solved deals with small to medium business (30%) and enterprise (70%). It’s interesting, usually a company will pick one or the other. I was interested to hear what they thought about what was coming for both SMB and enterprise, in terms of Cloud.

The key cloud  trend for 2015 for SMB’s is going to be ‘consolidation’ and integration. Cloud vendors are starting to wake up to the fact that SMB’s don’t want to have to deal with a whole range of ‘cloud solutions’ to manage their business – it’s just too complicated and confusing. Having separate vendors for CRM, Accounting & General Ledger, Invoicing, inventory management, point-of-sale, marketing and so on is difficult to manage for any company. It’s like the enterprise market 25 years ago….lots of disparate applications that didn’t talk to one another. This led to the invention of ‘integration middleware’ to overcome the problem. Savvy cloud vendors realise that this needs to happen in their industry as well – by allowing their customers to easily integrate, they place themselves in the centre of a cloud ecosystem which serves the customers in a much more holistic manner.

It’s an astute observation. Even as a Cloud specialist myself, I find it difficult to integrate the Cloud services I use, of which there are about eight. It’s not only a challenge, it’s a pain in the backside that takes time. That “middleware” layer for Cloud will be a growth area.

Enterprise face different challenges:

Enterprise customers tend to have different expectations and concerns about the cloud. We think that in 2015, many larger organisations will feel more confident in moving both core and non-core services and data to the cloud. The enterprise software vendors are all pushing their cloud solutions which is likely to mean that enterprise clients will have more  options in the cloud and more reasons to adopt it. The challenge for enterprise is modifying and/or transforming existing architecture and business processes to work with in a hybrid cloud model.

One of the things that is occurring with Cloud is a much faster uptake of SaaS, than IaaS and PaaS. This is driven by a lot of things, however the primary one is that IaaS and PaaS are really bridging technologies to pure Cloud software. The enterprise moves their entire platform, with all their new and old applications on top, into the Cloud, then starts to migrate the applications into pure software as a service, while decommissioning the platform behind as it goes.

IT Solved are working on new services, which is a good sign. I see some early Cloud companies starting to fall to the back of the herd because they are not investing in future products and altering their DNA in order to adapt to a Cloud world where products can be created and die, within a year.

They are a Wellington start-up. Which we like. It’s nice to see an innovative local company standing up, investing in Wellington, and making itself part of the high-tech capital.

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