Posts Tagged 'astadia'

The Roar of the Cloud


By Mike Lingo – CTO – Astadia Consulting

Louder, louder and louder again.

I’m standing at the top of the ramp and looking straight down the slope where all of this takes off into the blue sky, and I have to tell you it’s exhilarating. This is what it means to be Cloud-centered at the close of 2010:

We are now flying past the inflection point. We have a distinct voice and everyone recognizes the sound. More are listening every day.

I’m hearing the loud chatter at a decibel level normally associated with a flyover of F16’s, the roar of 25,000 Cloud architects, evangelists, pioneers and zealots who gathered at the Dreamforce event recently in San Francisco.

I’m hearing the silky jazz sound of sales and service sharing the same stage, aligned and primed for performance, more easily than ever.

I’m hearing the walls crashing down between IT and the business, the implosion of all that has been erected in the name of specialization and segmentation.

And I’m hearing a big sigh of relief. Finally, we can fail gracefully on projects and get to the right answer sooner with less cost.

But I have to tell you if your organization does not know how to communicate, the Cloud is not going to work for you. Those gears are going to grind and grate and ultimately disintegrate with a loud crash. I won’t be able to help you there.

What I can do is point you in the right direction. And I can help you stand shoulder to shoulder with the business and get the thing rolling again, because there is a lot less resistance working against you when you put software back in its place.

Best wishes for making a racket and ratcheting up rapidly in 2011,
Mike Lingo

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Telecommunications – The New Age


By Lawrence Buckler – Client Director Telecommunications

In my role as Client Director of Telecommunications at Astadia Consulting I work alongside some of the UK’s largest telecoms providers, the likes of Vodafone Global Enterprise, BT Agile Media and Orange ‑ Everything Everywhere. So in my 10 plus years working in IT with the last 2 focusing specifically on the Telecoms space, the burning question that appears to standout most prevalently is – How do you compete in today’s Telecoms Industry?

As competition intensifies it is fast becoming clear that success can no longer be solely attributed to price. Customer loyalty is more important and more elusive than ever! Cost cutting, efficiency and scalability rule the day, but how exactly can this be achieved?

Enter Cloud-based applications; Sales Automation and Customer Centric Business processes that together help some of today’s telecoms organisations achieve a higher calibre of competitive resistance and edge. The New Age of Telecommunications is here and to succeed changes need to happen under the hood at both the front and back office, as well as with customer service to provide sustainable growth and development for the future.

So what are some of the questions you should be asking yourself? Well, firstly:

Do you differentiate yourself from the competition with a positive customer journey? It is without doubt, proven that consolidated systems, the automation of activities and the provision of clear communication channels go a long way to improving the customer experience. Using a Cloud-based CRM system, such as Salesforce.com and adopting elements of Astadia’s Service Cloud methodology can go a long way to improving the customer experience, which in turn will boost your competitive edge.

Are your Sales teams wasting time completing admin tasks, when they could be out there selling? If the answer is yes, then you need to focus on getting your most valuable assets, your Sales team, out there creating and delivering more revenue. To do this, you need to look at improving your back office processes to deliver better governance and greater efficiencies. Something Astadia has a wealth of experience implementing across the industry.

Do you manage key aspects of your organisation on a variety of different systems and platforms? Efficient governance and compliance with regulatory bodies takes time and painstaking organisation; something that isn’t easily done when you need to search 4 or 5 different applications to obtain the data you need. Standardising your operating platforms and applications enables greater control, flexibility and scalability – Something that prior to the Cloud, was not so readily available. Now, with the rise of Cloud applications, organisations are able to save data in a central repository that can be accessed whether you’re at the office, at home or at 35,000 feet travelling to this year’s Dreamforce.

Conveniently speaking of Dreamforce, I’ll be at the conference in San Francisco so if you want to talk more about Cloud Computing, Salesforce.com and business process change for the Telecommunications industry come and find me at Booth 513 or in the Industry Solutions Section of the Expo at Booth 234.

I look forward to seeing you at Dreamforce!

Astadia showcasing the ITX ROI Calculator at Dreamforce 2010


By Cory Vander Jagt – Director of Cloud Transformation

Over the last 2 years, I’ve witnessed an explosion in Cloud applications; the pace of growth is amazing as more and more people realise its benefits. The biggest annual event in the IT industry’s calendar is testament to that – Dreamforce. Now everyone’s talking Cloud! We all want to benefit from:

  • Elastic IT Infrastructures
  • Access to shared resources
  • Rapid innovation and enhancement
  • Predictable cost, and
  • Decreased administrative burden

However, the question I’m finding more prevalent than ever is:

How much can I really save/benefit by moving to the Cloud?

Hard facts, concrete cost savings and black and white numbers will always be the foundation of any decision to change. Hence why, we at Astadia created an ROI calculator specifically designed to give you that level of granular analysis.

Whilst the overall benefits of Cloud computing are clear, we understand that your business is very different, with its own nuances and individuality. Therefore, to determine with any real relevance, the true benefit to your business, you’ll need a tool that allows you to analyse each segment of your IT environment to understand what cost savings you can make when moving it to the Cloud.

At this year’s Dreamforce 2010, Astadia will be showcasing the ITX ROI Calculator. Why not have a play with it and pop by the booth (#513) to talk more about how we can help you move to Cloud.

“Hey! You! Get Onto My Cloud.” Lingo, unleashed


By Christie Turner – Director of Marketing – Astadia Consulting

Mike Lingo, the CTO at Astadia, travels the globe helping companies use the Cloud to transform their businesses. A Silicon Valley veteran and long time tech exec, he’s seen it all: Freewheeling disasters, crazed, defensive stakeholders, clean project roadmaps sullied by labyrinthine development models, and even ahead-of-schedule, under-budget implementations. Now, in his new book, “Hey! You! Get Onto My Cloud”, he tells all, and charts how the Cloud will profoundly affect the people, processes, security, infrastructure – and bottom line – of your business.

“People ask me, Mike, why the Cloud? Why now? And I tell them it’s about having the horsepower they’ve always wanted, with fewer trips to the gas pump and very little wallop to your wallet. I tell them the Cloud has a higher safety rating than standard computing, and you get that safety without compromising on what you can wring out of this baby on the curves in your contact center, or on slick surfaces like you find on the executive floors. I tell them that you don’t even have to own anything, you just rent, and if you don’t like the model you’ve chosen, you bring it back and they give you another one to try out. Like a test drive, but all the time. There’s never been a better time to get behind the wheel.” —From the Foreword

“What Mike has done in this manifesto is to strip things back to the essentials and provide a plain-spoken view of where the strategic opportunities to leverage the Cloud exist for IT folks, the CxO crowd, and business line managers. The book charts a path not fraught with traditional IT peril, but one that unlocks the innovative juices of your team. Likely your CEO is demanding a strategy, so see what all the fuss is. And make it actionable.”—Doug Menefee, CIO, Schumacher Group

Click here to download a sample chapter of Mike’s forthcoming book about cloud computing.

 

SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference – Notes from an SVP


By John McDowell – SVP of Global Sales for Astadia Consulting

I was half tempted to title this blog post “Notes from an SVP on a Small Island”! Yes, I’m in the UK visiting our EMEA team and as luck would have it I’ve chosen the coldest October week on record – what joy! Along with running from warm cab to rainy street and back again I was also invited to attend the SIIA OnDemand Europe Conference at London’s Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, as a speaker for one of the panels. The conference is attended by executives from ISVs, SaaS, Web and Enterprise companies from across Europe, gathered to explore, debate and discuss all aspects of SaaS and Cloud Computing.

The overriding theme of the conference was that SaaS and Cloud Computing are here to stay and will continue to change the way we consume IT services in the future. However, with this change, Systems Integrators (SI) are faced with an ever-changing environment in which to grow, gain business and profit. My panel slot discussed how SIs can achieve this and what customers should be looking for when selecting an SI for a SaaS or Cloud-based project.

The ‘big boys’, the likes of Cap Gemini, Steria, Accenture and Deloitte, still reign king at the top of the tree, but what is becoming increasing apparent is the growth of new, smaller, more specialist SIs with real expertise in the SaaS and Cloud market space. In my role as Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Astadia Consulting, I have learnt there is more to being a profitable SI in today’s hi-tech market than we traditionally thought. Here’s a snippet from some of the panel questions and what my thoughts were:

Q: Why do you think there has been such growth in the smaller SIs for Cloud & Saas?

In todays cloud space it’s about being focused on one area of business; for Astadia we like to see ourselves as our customer’s first port of call for all things cloud. So when a company looks to step into the cloud space, we can help with the initial move and then look at what additional infrastructure can be leveraged once they’ve made the first step. Astadia are Salesforce.com largest implementation partner worldwide. Why has Salesforce taken off at such speed? Because, traditionally CRM is the easiest place to start the migration of your application infrastructure into the cloud; the nice part about Salesforce is the license model, as well as the integrated bolt-ons that are part of the Salesforce AppExchange.

The sheer nature of smaller SIs makes them more adept at partnering with the many cloud vendors in order to provide holistic solutions for the Cloud. A nice example of this is the Astadia Front-Office; where customers can quickly leverage a package of applications that help with Marketing Automation, lead generation and lead nurture through to Salesforce Automation, targeting and commission structures.

Q: What advice would you give to smaller start ups in this market?

You can’t be half-hearted in your approach to the Cloud. That’s why so many smaller SIs are making such big changes and growth spurts in this game; they focus solely on the Cloud. They are experts in their fields who have a range of applications, technical expertise and best practise knowledge designed specifically for the Cloud. That really is Astadia’s strong point.

You should also realise that one size SaaS vendor does not fit all. Certain products will fit well in some cases and not in others; the successful SI will be the one that knows how to place these products specifically for the customer’s requirements.

SIs also need to focus on what they want to achieve. Astadia is a Services company, not a product company. We don’t compete on selling products; we compete on the services we provide from an industry best practice standpoint.

Q: What industry verticals do you see growing the most in this market?

So far the fast movers have been the Telcos, Media, Not-for-Profit and Financial Services sectors. The laggards are healthcare and the public sector, which I’m sure, will change as they have the most to benefit from SaaS and Cloud computing. Particularly from a cost saving point-of-view; which I see is at the forefront of the British Government’s agenda of late; I was looking at the news this morning re the pending government cost cuts.

Q: How much of the work to migrate to the Cloud requires integration – Getting the data into one place?

As far as we see it, all projects start and end with data. This underpins the success of any Cloud project and that’s why we partner with a number of integration providers. There’s no point having a whiz-popping Cloud application that can be used mobile, at home, offline and so on, if it doesn’t have the relevant data stored in it. Data drives end user adoption and buy in; without this your project is doomed.

Announcing Astadia’s Salesforce Performance + Support Program (SPS)


By Matt Finkelstein – Director of Sales Cloud – Astadia Consulting

CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com, are without doubt the forerunner in the migration of business applications to the cloud. If an organisation wants to realise some of that elusive cloud ROI, CRM is one of the first places they look to gain momentum. Not surprising when you consider the growth in this area; after all, the foundation of Salesforce.com rests on the early success of its CRM system. Why is that? Principally, because it is one of the easier applications to move into the cloud and one that yields the fastest ROI results.

Why then did Salesforce.com announce late last year that “73% of CRM users do not use 50% of the functionality available to them in their CRM systems?”

Is it the nature of the CRM adoption curve? At first, you start off full of energy and raring to go. Then, in time, your attention gets diverted until eventually you neglect your CRM system almost entirely. What then can you do you do combat this?

Surely it’s a simple case of continual employee training? Not necessarily.

What is really required is the expertise to continually adapt your CRM system to the changing needs of your business. After all, your business doesn’t stop changing.  Your hectic environment creates constant demands for new reporting and management insight, so surely your CRM system needs to grow in order to provide a CRM adoption that promotes continued improvement. Hence, the inception of the Astadia Salesforce Performance + Support Program (SPS).

SPS is comprised of a 10-point methodology to help you manage configuration change in your instance of Salesforce.com. Clients that benefit from outsourcing their Salesforce support to Astadia:

  • Face ever-changing business processes, key metrics, and reporting requirements
  • Would like to implement configuration changes on a more timely basis
  • Desire to take advantage of salesforce.com’s ever-expanding feature base
  • Experience low user adoption in part or all of the user base
  • Maintain complex data
  • Want to deliver more value to the company using additional capabilities over time

To find out how strong your CRM system is, why not take our short quiz.

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Possible Change of Dates for Cloudforce London 2010


CLOUDFORCE LONDON – POSSIBLE CHANGE TO  WEDNESDAY 8TH

Due to planned tube strikes in the capital set to commence on Monday 6th September, Salesforce.com have the difficult decision to make of whether they should move the date for their Cloudforce 2010 tour to Wednesday 8th September.

The last thing any Marketing department wants on the eve of a Bank Holiday weekend is to start the mammoth task of changing plans for a conference the size of Cloudforce. However as news broke that Rail unions the RMT and TSSA would be commencing a 24 hour strike starting Monday 6th September at 17:00 until Tuesday 7th September 17:00, this was precisely the task that lay ahead of the Salesforce team and all its partners.

Similar action also set to start at the same time on Sunday October 3; Tuesday November 2, and Sunday November 28, which will no doubt bring the capital to a grinding halt yet again.

Members of both unions voted in favour of strike action over 800 proposed job cuts and reduced ticket office opening hours. Most of the proposed job losses are among ticket office staff, although 50 management and administrative posts could also be axed.

Safe to save, Salesforce and their partner network are resilient – The conference is still set to go ahead and whether it’s Tuesday 7th or Wednesday 8th we’ll still be there! To register to meet the Astadia team – Simply visit this site.

We know and understand the difficulty this late change may bring to anyone who was planning to attend, but we’ll still be there whether it’s the 7th or the 8th and we hope to see many you out in force.


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