Mark Benioff, Salesforce.com CEO, speaking at Salesforce’s Cloudforce 2011 event in Boston:
“I’m sorry, for those of you who didn’t make it into the cloud, we’ve moved on,
We want to welcome you to the social revolution, because this is where people are increasingly spending their time today. Our employees are social and our customers are social.”
As you may be aware, as well as being specialists in on-premise Lotus social collaboration solutions, Collaboration Matters is also a LotusLive design partner and Google Apps, SalesForce.com and SocialText partner, and have successfully sold and implemented many SaaS solutions for our customers.
Therefore, we can demonstrate the pros and cons of cloud-based offerings and can help our customers to make business-value judgements on whether migrating to SaaS is the right option for them.
However, it is usually good to get the viewpoint of industry analysts to reinforce the argument, and thus I was excited to see the publication this morning of this report from Karen Hobert at the Collaborative Strategy Guild:
Gauging the Real Value of Software as a Service (SaaS) E-mail for Small and Medium Businesses
The e-mail market is rapidly evolving as new business-grade software as a service (SaaS) e-mail options become a viable alternative to the traditional on-site e-mail by competing on price and value. Information Technology (IT) decision makers are pressured to reduce costs, so they’re considering a move to SaaS e-mail solutions, which is driving businesses to scrutinize current e-mail strategies. Making a SaaS e-mail decision depends upon the unique needs of the business and how available options not only offer cost savings, but also productivity value.
In this paper, Collaborative Strategy Guild founding member, Karen Hobert, focuses on the SaaS e-mail market, its impact on small and medium businesses (SMBs), and how to find the real value in different product offerings.
This is a truly excellent research report and I recommend it to all that are considering migrating their email to a SaaS offering. Karen’s conclusion echos my viewpoint that no straightforward mail-to-mail migration will deliver real value, unless the resulting solution better supports the aims and needs of the organisation and its users:
Although the competition for SaaS e-mail market share is being waged over cost, the decision to choose one vendor over another is a matter of value. Customers who design an e-mail strategy and test their assumptions prior to moving to another service are better prepared to mitigate any issues that arise as a result of their decisions. SaaS e-mail offers huge gains for SMBs in business-grade e-mail functionality as long as the offerings support the needs of the business. Without knowing its real value, e-mail can become a cumbersome application, no matter what it costs or where it is managed.
Interesting announcement from Amazon:
Earlier this year I talked about our partnership with IBM and their commitment to the creation of licensing models that are a good match for dynamic cloud-computing environments. At that time we released a set of development AMIs (Amazon Machine Images), giving you the ability to create applications using IBM products such as DB2, WebSphere sMash, WebSphere Portal, Lotus Web Content Management, and Informix.
The response to our announcement has been good; developers, integrators, and IT shops have all been asking us for information on pricing and for access to the actual AMIs. We’ve been working with IBM to iron out all of the details and I’m happy to be able to share them with you now!
Starting today you now have development and production access to a number of IBM environments including:
* Amazon EC2 running IBM Lotus Web Content Management – starting at $2.48 per hour.
* Amazon EC2 running IBM WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Lotus Web Content Management Server – starting at $6.39 per hour.
So WCM and Portal (along with other Informix and DB2 products) are now available by the hour in the cloud – a great option for particular use cases:
Because products like the WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Lotus Web Content Management Server can now be accessed on an hourly basis, you can now think about deploying them in new ways. If you are running a big conference or other event, you can spin up an instance for the duration of the event and only pay a couple of hundred dollars. If you need to do more than one event at the same time, just spin up a second instance. This is all old-hat to true devotees of cloud computing, but I never tire of pointing it out!
Each AMI includes a detailed Getting Started guide. For example, the guide for the WebSphere Portal Server and IBM Lotus Web Content Management Server is 30 pages long. The guide provides recommendations on instance sizes (Small and Large are fine for development; a 64-bit Large or Extra Large is required for production), security groups, and access via SSH And remote desktop (VNC). There’s information about entering license credentials (needed if you bring your own), EBS configuration, and application configuration. The guide also details the entire process of bundling a customized version of the product for eventual reuse.
Additional information on products and pricing is available on the IBM partner page.
I wonder whether Domino might ever be made available in a similar way? If so, could you imagine using a cloud-based on-demand service such as Amazon’s?
Whilst I detest the term ‘Czar’ when referring to business leaders, this seems a good move by IBM to bring all their Cloud-focused projects and solutions under one person. Cnet News reports:
With so much buzz in the corporate computing world around the (sometimes ambiguous) concept of “cloud computing,” it was only a matter of time before one large company or another appointed a cyber computing czar.
On Tuesday, IBM put Erich Clementi in charge of all its cloud computing work. His appointment was part of a multitime zone announcement that also featured the company’s latest cloud computing clients–Elizabeth Arden, Nexxera, and the United States Golf Association–who intend to test Big Blue’s cloud applications in their own businesses.
Clementi’s official title is general manager of Enterprise Initiatives. But GM or czar, he is being catapulted into a high-profile position where he’ll be making the case to customers why they should sign with IBM instead of one of its rivals. In the last 18 months, IBM has built more than a dozen cloud centers around the world. But Clementi’s job now is to speed that effort with an eye toward “making cloud technology work for and with corporations and governments.”