Cloud Farming has to be the new TEM (telecom expense management). Years ago, auditing was how you got your foot in the door to an enterprise. It turned out to be more work than most wanted or realized. And many enterprises were under long term contracts. It wasn't profitable. Many auditing firms pulled up their tents. Now some CPAs are in that game, like CliftonLarsonAllen.
Now we have a bunch of hype around Cloud Farming and cloud assessments. That sounds great, but buyer beware! Unless you have a Cloud Architect or Network Architect on staff to review these plans, are you sure you have the clients best interest at heart?
In cloud, the hard part is the MIGRATION. In data center world, a colocation migration for a Fortune 5000 firm is a two year plan. Two years to move a data center cage! The circuits, the boxes, the IP addresses, the mapping, the design, the physical move, the duplication, yadda, yadda.
I sat in meetings on software migration projects in the early 2000s that took over a year to plan. Yes, a year to plan before starting the migration, which took two-plus years.
'Verizon Communications Inc. announced that it has moved more than 150,000 employees to Google's productivity apps, called G Suite," Bloomberg reported. I'd like to know how long that took.
8x8 sold some big accounts in the last 15 months - "Announced new deal with Regus, the leading global workplace provider, to deploy 8x8 Enterprise Communications as a Service (ECaaS) solution at Regus worldwide business centers." And 8x8 "Announced 2,400-seat deployment across nine global locations for new enterprise customer NetSuite." Neither of these deployments happened quickly. Try a year of roll out. Global LNP is a bigger nut to crack than getting some RLEC to release a number.
I'm not against Cloud Farming. I think that agents have to practice going deep to get more wallet share from the customer. Not just get the network and the voice, but the email, the backup, the SaaS, etc. To do that takes some skill and training, being deliberate and confident.
I just don't know how that works with reality (in scale). The shortage of qualified Architects and talent to assist in planning and assessment are just the first bottleneck. The lack of a PMO department from most partners and providers to steer the migration and deployments will create some messy implementations as well as unhappy customers and partners. Lastly, we come to the compensation. When the sales cycle coupled with the deployment timeline is more than two years, how will that excite partners to sell it?
Certainly, there is a move to cloud occurring. It is NOT happening at the rate of change that analysts or cheerleaders are predicting or broadcasting. Most computing environments will remain Hybrid - some SaaS, some colo, some other. Much of the decisions on this matter consider such factors as flexibility, ROI, TCO and internal IT skills.
People forget that Hosted PBX/UCaaS deployments still suck. That LNP still takes up to 14 days (or longer with Birch!). That Internet pipes are on a 120 day construction delay. That even something as minor as turning up a port and a circuit between two lit data centers can fast approach 90 days longer than the two week install interval quoted. If we can't get these relatively simple things to work, you want to jump on Complex stuff?!! [This is me LMAO!]
There are experts out there. COLOTRAQ has partnered with some smart people for Cyber-Security and Cloud Readiness Assessments. Certainly, Microcorp has leveraged its TAP Program to put experts at the ready for partners. Acuity in Tampa has started building up its own managed services portfolio including wireless management and VoIP deployment testing. Other master agencies have brought on some cloud talent. They had to. It will be the engineers, the talent that can break it down and talk plainly about it one minute and delve into I/Os the next that win deals. Look for those.