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Tag Archives: Embracing The Cloud

In my line of work I deal with buyers from purchasing departments of multinationals requesting pricing for enterprise software solutions. Supplying a price is often a little more complicated than looking it up on a price list. In reality it involves a lot more.

Before supplying a price to the buyer, it is essential to understand  their business requirements for the software solution. What follows is a scaled down version of the entire process followed for every enquiry.

Understand Business Requirements

To understand the business requirements a series of meetings are held with all the business stake-holders involved. During this process the business problem(s) are documented and possible solutions noted. Meetings are also held with stake-holders from the IT department to obtain their input and discuss the current hardware configuration and surplus capacity within the organisation.

All too often the IT department is classified as a cost centre and not a business unit. When this happens they are frequently never consulted about future software solutions to be purchased. This often results in projects running out of time and over budget. Fortunately this view is changing and we are seeing more organisations that accept IT as a business unit contributing to the value of the organisation.

During discussions with the IT management and business stake-holders licensing of the solution is worked out and the following information is noted.

  • Number of technicians that require access to the solution
  • Number of PC’s, laptops and servers used in the organisation

  • Hardware requirements for the solution and the cost estimates to purchase the hardware.

  • Enterprise solutions are modular. During these discussions the business stake-holders elect the required modules.

Hosting Solution

Many of the large enterprise solutions are now being offered as a cloud based solution, eliminating the need to purchase costly hardware and operating systems. However, cloud based software solutions are not accepted by many companies for security reasons. In some cases organisations do not want a third party managing their data while others are more concerned with the fact that their data is being stored on servers on another continent.

The anti-cloud lobby is still very strong and all the major software vendors are aware of this. Therefore, they support solutions that target both segments of the market.

Hidden Agenda

During the meetings with the business stake-holders hidden agendas are often uncovered. A prime example of a hidden agenda involves business managers from different divisions favouring products because they have used them before, instead of selecting what is best for the entire organisation.

Another example of a hidden agenda is the practice where managers vote for a given solution for company political reasons to further their career instead of selecting what is best for the organisation.

Budget Availability

Now that the vendor has all the business requirements for the solution he is able to work out a provisional cost for the software. He will also include his professional services to install and configure the software and train the users of the software. Additional costs may also be added for the migration of data from the old system to the new solution.

Solution Selection Process

The solution selection process is a very busy time for the teams assigned to the products that reach the short list. During this phase the following processes need to be completed before the final solution is provisionally selected.

  • Evaluation of the solutions that made the short-list.
  • Document advantages and disadvantages in terms of the business requirements.

  • Documenting the hardware and software requirements for the solution.

  • Call for quotations.This is the first time that pricing for the solution is supplied.

  • Prepare and submit a proposal.

  • Solution presentation by the vendor.

  • Final Solution Selection

    The final solution selection is normally done at board level after the business stake-holders have given their input. This is a process that can take a few days or extend over a period of months. Further delays can be caused when budgets for the new solution are only available in the new financial year.

     

     

     

     

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    Infrastructure as a Service is a provision model in use by business to outsource hardware requirements. The cloud provider owns the equipment. The client pays for usage.

    Introduction

    In defining Infrastructure as a Service we need to understand the specific features that a cloud platform provider supplies so that the service he provides is considered Infrastructure as a Service. To understand Infrastructure as a Service we need to look at the essential characteristics found in Infrastructure as a Service.

    Infrastructure as a Service – Dynamic Scaling

    Dynamic scaling enables the organisation to increase and decrease their hardware and processing requirement as and when required. Dynamic scaling may be driven by application requirements or seasonal computing demand of the organisation.

    This is an important characteristic of Information as a Service; if customers need more resources they can get them immediately.

    Infrastructure as a Service

    Infrastructure as a Service

    Service Levels

    Infrastructure as a Service is offered in different flavours to organisations. Organisations may rent capacity based on an on-demand model with no contract. In other situations, the organisation signs a contract for a specific amount of storage and processing capacity.

    A typical Information as a Service contract has a level of service guarantee included. The entry level may guarantee basic services while at the top-end a mirrored service with almost no change-of-service interruptions is the norm.

    Rental Model

    When organisations use computing resources from a cloud provider, the servers, storage, and all required IT infrastructure components are rented, based on the quantity of resources used and how long they’re in use.

    In the private Information as a Service model, renting takes on a different focus. Organisations typically allocate usage fees to individual departments based on their weekly, monthly and yearly usage. With this flexibility, organisations can charge more of the budget to heavy users.

    Licensing

    Infrastructure as a Service providers typically use a metering process to charge organisations based on the instance of computing consumed. An instance is defined as the CPU power and the memory and storage space consumed in an hour. When an instance is initiated, hourly charges begin to accumulate until the instance is terminated.

    In addition to the basic per-instance charge, the cloud provider may include the following charges:

    • Storage: A per-gigabyte (GB) charge for the persistent storage of data.
    • Data transfer: A per-GB charge for data transfers. The fee may drop if you move large amounts of data during the billing month. Some providers offer free inbound data transfers or free transfers between separate instances on the same provider.
    • Optional services: Charges for services such as reserved IP addresses, virtual private network (VPN), advanced monitoring capabilities, or support services.

     Conclusion

    Infrastructure as a Service is a provision model organisations use to outsource hardware required to perform their business. Many organizations select a hybrid approach — using private services in combination with public cloud services. This approach is attractive because an organisation can leverage its private cloud resources but use trusted public cloud services to manage peak loads.

    Onsoft is now Embracing The Cloud by making BMC FootPrints available to their customers through Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Customers are now able to utilise the power of BMC FootPrints, save on hardware costs and running expenses.

    Introduction

    Onsoft was approached by the Benin Electricity Distribution Company (BEDC), based in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, to solve their serious service delivery problems. A hosted Service Management Solution ultimately was the best fit for them. To this end, they will be embracing the cloud to achieve their goal.

    Embracing-the-cloud

    embracing the cloud

    Embracing The Cloud using BMC FootPrints

    To meet the software hosting requirement stipulated by BEDC, Onsoft entered the cloud market. We now have the infrastructure and technical expertise in place to host BMC FootPrints for our customer through a partnership with RSAWeb.

    Infrastructure as a Service is a viable option for customers that do not have the hardware infrastructure or technical expertise for an on-site installation of BMC FootPrints. Customers that sign-up for this service retain ownership of their data. In the event that they decide to migrate to an on-premise installation their data goes with them.

    This is a very exciting opportunity for Onsoft. It gives us the ability to address our customer’s business needs in ways previously not possible. 

    If you would like to be contacted by Onsoft leave a message here. sales department.

    Hosting Customer Requirements

    Key elements of BEDC’s Service Management Solution are that it must be 100% web based and hosted by the service provider. This frees up the customer from any costly hardware infrastructure and server software purchases.

    BEDC required a Service Management Solution allowing them to log calls from consumers and ensure that all customer requests are attended to timeously and resolved successfully.

    Needs Analysis for BEDC

    A needs analysis was conducted for BEDC and based on the findings, BMC FootPrints was proposed to management as the Service Management Solution. An agreement was concluded between Onsoft and BEDC where both parties agreed that the BMC FootPrints Service Management Solution would be implemented as an on-premise solution within the Cloud using IaaS.

    All configuration and daily management of BMC FootPrints will be done by qualified administrators based at the head office of Onsoft, in Cape Town South Africa.

    Conclusion

    Onsoft is now Embracing The Cloud by making BMC FootPrints available to their customers through Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).

    Onsoft has over 15 years experience as specialist providers of service management software solutions that address a range of customer requirements from Customer Service to IT Help Desks. These solutions are available as a hosted or on-premises option. Although Embracing the Cloud is new to us, it is a natural progression.

    Onsoft has implemented BMC FootPrints Service Management Solution for several clients in South Africa and Nigeria.  Based on Onsoft’s successful track record, BEDC selected BMC FootPrints as their solution of choice.

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