Microsoft O365 Cloud Migration “Powered” by Savings

As most of us are aware, cloud migration can save our companies significant costs for applications that are mission critical to our organizations. Silicone Angle reported an average of 82% of companies that migrated to the cloud for one or more services saw a hard cost savings in IT spend. Once your company determines the cloud offering meets your security and organizational compliances, cost savings quickly becomes a relevant discussion point for the migration decision.

Of the recent studies I have seen, most only cover licensing costs that are discounted by the cloud provider to move you to their service. Although those savings can be easily documented and are very significant, you have many other areas where savings can be substantial as well. Things like employee hours doing upgrades, installing patches, infrastructure costs, OPEX vs. CAPEX for budget considerations, data connections and power consumption should be part of the fiscal exercise as well.

Both government and privately funded studies have been conducted analyzing the type and consumption of energy used by cloud providers, such as Microsoft. Many cloud providers choose to locate data centers where renewable energy is available. It is almost always less expensive and reduces the carbon footprint. General estimates to power a single physical server in a traditional datacenter is $700.00 per year. That includes a primary and secondary power source, and all associated heating and cooling. Across major US cities, about 72% of that power is provided by coal and delivered through an aging, inefficient power grid. Cloud migration will significantly reduce or eliminate infrastructure, and will provide a tremendous savings on power in the data center. In many cases, the data center consumes more than 20% of the electricity of a traditional brick and mortar.

Saving money on licensing, data center hardware and power may be the most visible ROI for moving to the cloud, but it is certainly not the only benefit. You can expect additional savings, but the bigger impact is a better approach to create an environment for corporate users to connect, share, collaborate, communicate and become more productive in a competitive landscape.

Tom Sullivan

Director of Sales & Marketing

ConQuest Technology Services

TSullivan@conquest247.com

April 18, 2014

 

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How Technology is Changing the Business Landscape

Years ago businesses were making substantial investments in a hardware-centric IT environment, that’s what was available so that’s where investments were made.  Time warp – it’s now 2014 and the systems used by these companies are now not relevant to an operative working environment.  Software and services now dominate business efficiencies and investments.

Companies now are evaluating their priorities which includes refined and considerable focus on data analytics, tools to provide better infrastructure intelligence, cloud service growth and the importance of securing networks amid an increase in employees’ desire to use their own devices, anytime, anywhere.

The breadth and depth of technological advancements has never had the impact on our lives both personally and professionally than it does today.  It’s a mantra you’ll hear every 3 to 6-months as new technology replaces old ways in doing business.  Forward thinking evolving technological advancements will change how we do business and interact in general tomorrow and each following day.  Consumer empowerment, mobile, social, data and cloud capabilities are redefining the business environment in profound ways. 



Everyone will agree that new technology is being developed at an accelerated pace.  These developments impact our personal lives and the public, private and non-profit sectors.

Let’s look at a few of the trends in the market today:

Data analytics

If businesses are to harness big data and use this to drive their commercial strategies, they need to invest in state-of-the-art data analytics and business intelligence systems. Continued growth in the volumes of enterprise data available to businesses is only valuable if they obtain cross-functional buy-in in order to break down the many data and organizational silos that still exist within many organizations. 


Infrastructure intelligence

Depending on which analyst you talk to it is estimated that by 2020 there will potentially be 4 billion people online using 50 trillion gigabytes of data. The increase in data volume is being driven by the rise in use of business critical applications, mobile devices and the cloud. With storage growing at 20-40% each year, businesses need to improve their intelligence and implement an infrastructure to store such vast quantities of data. 


The rise of the cloud

Many IT managers foresee that the rise of cloud-based applications will have a tremendous impact on the way in which they manage their data center and enterprise infrastructures. Businesses need to manage these changes and the impact on IT personnel. Business processes must evolve in tandem with cloud adoption if organizations are to achieve the full potential of their cloud investments. 



24/7/365 business connectivity

The social and business implications of always-on connectivity are only just beginning to emerge. In order to service the demand for round-the-clock access to goods and services, businesses will need to invest in new technology and modify their working processes accordingly. 



Network security and the growth of Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD)

Most employees and in particular Generation Y – new entrants into the workforce – will want to use their own devices to access their employer’s network,  Actually it’s been stated that many employees have been accessing company data – without their employer’s knowledge or permission.  Now there is a demand and substantial focus on improving security. Safeguarding networks is a must and requires the implementation of BYOD usage guidelines alongside technical controls that physically allow or prevent access.

Other important trends:

3D printing is another new technology that is rapidly evolving and gaining mainstream acceptance.  Augmented reality, which provides users with a real-time view of the environment enhanced by digital data such as text, sound, graphics and navigation, is already available via smartphones.  The use of wearable technologies such as bionic lenses and Google Glass type products look likely to become increasingly widespread. 
The ‘gamification’ of commercial websites, where businesses add game-like features to their commercial applications and websites that reward customers is also increasing in popularity.

It’s valid to say that businesses which fail to embrace the latest technologies run the risk of losing their hold in the markets they serve being left behind as competitors reap the advantage of controlling their costs, driving results, staying connected and focusing on their business instead of the IT infrastructure.

Debbie Brandt, Marketing Manager

ConQuest Technology Services

dbrandt@conquest247.com

April 15, 2014

Healthcare providers need to revisit their technology strategy – more specifically their cloud strategy

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACCA) commonly referred to as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “ObamaCare” is probably the most significant change in the United States’ healthcare history since 1965 with the passage of Medicare and Medicaid.  As of March 31, 2014 open enrollment closed.  However, exception enrollment opportunities may still be available for those that have not yet enrolled.  Visit https://www.healthcare.gov/ for more information.

It’s very obvious that Americans have their own feelings about the program which I am not going to address in this blog.  From a technology standpoint there are opportunities for Healthcare IT since they have to adhere to the new requirements but also because they have long strived to reduce costs while improving patient care.  Some of these opportunities may occur in evaluating traditional approaches versus cloud adoption.  Technology has significantly evolved over the years and it’s now time to plan for modernizing business processes and operations.

Providing high-quality clinical care is not feasible without the support of strategic, cohesive, and nimble IT systems. More fully aligning medical care with technology allows IT systems and staff to improve their effectiveness.  Healthcare providers need to look at more contemporary and pioneering ways to not only deliver more efficient care to patients and providers but also to quickly comply with the law.

This is where the cloud comes into the picture.  Adopting the usage of resources to make it easy to provision is important to support the healthcare mandates.  Cloud computing features such as agility and time-to-market advantages make adoption pretty attractive.

Understandably some healthcare providers are questioning security by potentially failing an audit or compromising data.  However, the fact is that regardless if it’s co-located or cloud, the function of planning and which technology employed is more important than where the data is actually stored.

One of the goals of the Act is to provide more efficient and effective healthcare to Americans.  To do that healthcare organizations will need better automation, collaboration and information sharing.  One of the fastest, least expensive and effective ways to accomplish this is to consider cloud computing.

Healthcare IT modernization is set to accelerate as information sharing will now need to be in place considering in the past a lot of data was not previously shared.  This will actually make providers’ jobs easier.  While exchanges are not new required deadlines and data management and regulation now makes cloud that much more important.

Digitization of patient medical information will drive advanced levels of information sharing and collaboration between insurance providers and doctors.  Key systems and security changes need to happen to accommodate ObamaCare. There are certainly some advantages considering there will be less human handling, less margin for mistakes, more timely responses and decision making as well as using information sharing to better serve patients and health providers in general.

Americans have their own perceptions and many have strong opinions about the Act but it brings about a great opportunity for healthcare IT to make significant changes and modernize their organization.  It’s the perfect and necessary time for healthcare providers to revisit their technology strategy – more specifically their cloud strategy.

Debbie Brandt

Marketing Manager

ConQuest Technology Services

dbrandt@conquest247.com

April 1 2014

 

North Carolina – January Seminar Series (Raleigh/Durham & Charlotte)

REGISTER TODAY:  http://mdgi.com/conquest247/Conquest247_Jan2014_Seminars_Invite.pdf

Communicating is the one thing we do more than anything else.  We speak with each other either in person or via some mediated technology like telephone, voice, IM, text and video chat.  We create and send emails.  We produce presentations that we deliver via networked conferencing systems.  More than ever our people are away from the office working from home, hotels, customer sites, soccer fields, and the beach and everywhere in between.  The technologies that enable all of this communication must reach farther, be more readily available, and also must be more secure than ever before.

Interested in learning the true meaning of “doing more for less”?   Join us for this free seminar and learn how new technology simplifies your business needs while decreasing risk and dramatically reducing the overall cost of doing business.

CONTROL COSTS – DRIVE RESULTS – GET CONNECTED – FOCUS ON YOUR BUSINESS

  • Dramatically reduce communications costs (Audio / Video / Web Conferencing / Phone System)
  • Transform how your teams communicate and collaborate internally as well as with customers and partners.
  • Use familiar tools like Microsoft® Office to do more and make it easier for team members to reach out to each other and get the answers they need to move the business forward.
  • Reduce spend on IT infrastructure and support by consolidating communications systems and leveraging the cloud.
  • Get even more value out of the Microsoft® Cloud Platform – Office 365.
  • Extend the value of your existing Microsoft software investments
  • On-board and retain valued employees by providing the tools they “expect” to use in today’s work environment.
  • Benefit from added security, reliability, compliance and compatibility.   

“THE LAWYER OF THE FUTURE”

As the oldest and largest criminal defense law firm in Florida with over 200 years of combined experience, Robbins, Tunkey, Ross PA knew that it was time to investigate their options related to leveraging evolving technology to better serve their clients.

For the past 36 years they have defended client’s charges with the full range of state and federal crimes.  As their practice grew from the many successes they have had over the years they represent not only Floridian clients but have now expanded their practice with presence throughout the nation.

Joe Nascimento, Attorney At Law fully understood the value of deploying new, leading-edge solutions and had some very specific benefits he was looking to gain to improve communications with his clients and fellow partners.  As the practice expanded he needed to support his increasing mobile tendencies enabling him to gather needed information quickly to make better decisions faster.  Of utmost importance was the protection of client information on the mobile devices now used across the firm.  As a criminal defense law firm they pride themselves on being there for clients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

From a business standpoint they needed to reduce risk and operating costs.  They wanted to reduce spend on IT infrastructure and support by consolidating communications systems and leveraging the cloud.  They could not expose themselves to downtime and knew that leveraging cloud services and redundant solution architecture would support their requirements.  Data protection is of the utmost importance so they were looking for a means to protect data by encrypting it any and all of the time.

That’s when Joe called in ConQuest Technology Services.  We are based in Miami, Florida with national reach. We are a Microsoft Managed Partner with Gold-level competencies focused solely on core Microsoft communication technologies.  After our first meeting Joe realized that our certified professionals have deep knowledge and expertise in such technologies as Microsoft Office 365™ cloud services, Microsoft Windows Azure™, Microsoft Exchange and the powerful new unified communications suite Microsoft Lync®.   He knew that by working with us he could dramatically improve the firm’s objectives efficiently with dedicated, trusted, always available support services.

Joe shared with us that since the firm offered 24×7 availability it was imperative that service remained available as close to 100% of the time as possible.  Coupled with always on service his goal was to provide this as inexpensively as possible.  

Based on Joe’s vision of how he wanted the business to operate he understood that the way to accomplish this would be through the use of Microsoft Exchange as a hosted service.  He was comforted by knowing that we would serve as a remote third party provider managing all backend services for a flat monthly per user fee.  The advantages of this approach for organizations that want to leverage the benefits of Exchange are that uptime of the Exchange infrastructure can be very high and the cost of managing Exchange can be reduced significantly.  Similar to the majority of law firms practicing today, Robbins, Tunkey, Ross PA did not have the expertise or an in-house, dedicated IT resource.  We were quick to assure Joe that the use of a hosted Exchange service would allow them to focus on their clients and not their IT infrastructure.

Another issue that Joe wanted to get control over was management of data.  He indicated that information on clients and prior cases, internal communications, legal briefs, documentation on new laws / rulings and legal forms were stored all over the office and unfortunately some of it was housed on individual associate’s desktops and saved in people’s email messages, or even worse only paper copies were available.  He knew that there had to be better options so that the team had access to timely information.   There was also the need to adhere to document retention schedules.  Because of the chaos in managing the paper flow in the office he knew that a rationale mechanism had to be available to help them manage their data.  He felt if he didn’t investigate his options his alternative would be unmanaged, exponential data growth, higher costs and greater risk.

That’s when we discussed SharePoint because I knew from the first three pain points that Joe cited that SharePoint would resolve his documentation management needs plus provide even greater value and cost savings.  SharePoint delivers both a high quality solution that stimulates and delivers user participation, and the tools for highly secure, well-managed content.  With SharePoint companies democratize content management and improve organizations by providing content management to all employees and compliance across all documents.  This leads to better, faster and more secure processes that can be managed through a familiar environment, integrated into business collaboration infrastructure, and built on a trusted and extensible platform.  So in essence, Joe benefits from driving participation across all employees to avoid chaos and end-user resistance, ensure compliance by avoiding risk by controlling unmanaged content, including Social content and lastly save costs by avoiding high costs of point solutions, especially when not needed.

Jon Sastre

CEO and President

ConQuest Technology Services

 

To contact Robbins, Tunkey, Ross PA for your legal matters please visit their website at: http://www.crimlawfirm.com/index.php

For a free consultation on your telecommunications needs and available options, contact ConQuest Technology Services at www.conquest247.com or call 305-374-8788.

Learn more about the Professional Ethics of The Florida Bar Association endorsement of the use of Cloud Computing

http://www.floridabar.org/tfb/tfbetopin.nsf/SearchView/ETHICS,+OPINION+12-3?opendocument