Archive for November, 2010

Gartner Discovers 10% of IT Budgets Devoted to Cloud Computing

A recent survey conducted by Gartner reports that companies spend approximately 10 percent of their budget for external IT services on cloud computing research, migrations and implementations.

Gartner conducted the survey from April to July 2010, surveying CIOs across 40 countries, discovering that nearly 40% of respondents allocated IT budget to cloud computing. Almost 45% of the CIOs and other senior IT decision makers questioned about general IT spending trends provided answers pertaining to cloud computing and its increased adoption rates.

Among the questions asked were how organizations’ budgets for cloud computing were distributed. Detailing the results, a Research Director at Gartner noted that, “One-third of the spending on cloud computing is a continuation from the previous budget year, a further third is incremental spending that is new to the budget, and 14 percent is spending that was diverted from a different budget category in the previous year.”

Organizations polled in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Africa and North America spent between 40 and 50 percent of their cloud budget on cloud services from external providers. The survey also discovered that almost half of respondents with a cloud computing budget planned to ramp up the use of cloud services from external platform providers.

According to Gartner analysts, the survey results demonstrated a “shift towards the ‘utility’ approach for non-core services, and increased investment in core functionality, often closely aligned with competitive differentiation.”

Additionally, more than 40% of respondents anticipated an increase in spending in private cloud implementations designed for internal or restricted use of the enterprise, compared to a third of those polled seeking to implement public clouds.

Gartner called the investment trends for cloud computing as “healthy” as a whole. Said Gartner, “This is yet another trend that indicates a shift in spending from traditional IT assets such as the data-center assets and a move towards assets that are accessed in the cloud. It is bad news for technology providers and IT service firms that are not investing and gearing up to deliver these new services seeing an increased demand by buyers.”

Discussing the findings, Chad Collins, CEO of Nubifer Cloud Computing said, “This survey supports what we are seeing at ground zero when working with our enterprise clients. Company executives are asking themselves why they should continue with business as usual, doling out up-front cap/ex investments while supporting all the risks associated with large scale IT implementations.” Collins elaborates, “Cloud platforms allow these organizations to eliminate risks and upfront investments while gaining greater interoperability and scalability features.”

Collins went on to add, “Forward thinking organizations realize that by using external providers and cloud computing models, they can gain more flexibility in their cost and management of thier application base, while also getting the elasticity and scalability needed for growth.”

To learn more about adopting a cloud platform and how your organization can realize the benefits of cloud computing technologies, contact a Nubifer representative today.

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Zoho Launches “Zoho Support” for Cloud Based Customer Support

The Zoho Family welcomed a new addition on November 10: Zoho Support. The web-based help desk software helps organizations to easily manage and respond to perpetually-increasing customer support inquiries arriving via a variety of channels, from phone and email to website and self-service portals. In our current era of real-time communication and instant gratification, customers have come to expect punctual answers to their questions.

Zoho Support provides this with its innovative web interface, which allows technicians to prioritize customer tickets, locate the correct response, and promptly respond to the customer.

Often times, the fastest way for customers to get support is via self-service, and Zoho Support boasts features that members of the support organization to publish solutions to known issues in a customer portal. This enables customers to solve their problem before contacting your staff. Customers can also submit and track tickets in the customer portal.

Zoho Support is comprised of the following modules, or tabs:

  • Requests: The requests tabs aids technicians in prioritizing the support requests coming in from customers. The support request can be taken care of in a variety of ways. For example: those requests that are assigned to me, or those requests that are unread.
    A support manager may want to see which requests are overdue and must be address immediately. It is often hard to programmatically determine (i.e. through an email or a form) if a request is high-priority or who it should go to, thus the request module helps organizations triage these support requests so they can be directed to the appropriate team.
  • Accounts & Contacts: This tab provides a view into the support operation through a customer perspective and, most importantly, organizations can define, track and enforce specific SLAs they may have agreed to with their customers. All support requests are unique; two that might look identical may have a different priority depending on the SLA that was promised to each individual customer.
  • Reports & Dashboards: This tab provides a quick view into how your support organization is doing, so you can quickly obtain a large amount of data that will allow you to make the best decisions both for your business and your customers. What products are getting the most support requests, for example. What incidents are occurring the most often? What support group (or rep) as the slowest response time?
  • Tasks: This tab serves as a simplified to-do list for a support rep—either with external activities, like responding to a customer with a particular solution or diagnosis, or external ones, like research or trying a new approach. This helps everyone in the support team to remain organized and allows the support manager to have a simplified look at what everyone is working on.
  • Solutions Database: This module allows support reps to create and publish (internally or externally) solutions to the most common customer issues. When published externally, a solution is automatically available in the customer portal, so it can be easily located by customers.
  • Workflow, API and more: This includes automating tasks, assignments, alerts with the workflow rules; integrate with other systems via the APT; maintain details of your catalogue (skus, release dates, support windows), and more.

Zoho Support is already integrated with Zoho CRM, so you can smoothly transition from selling to supporting. Zoho Chat is also integrated, so your support agents can easily find what they are looking for not only in the solutions database but from their colleagues over IM while they’re on the phone with a customer.

Zoho Support is available immediately via paid plans starting at $12 per month per agent for Enterprises and large support organizations. Unlimited-user plans for smaller companies that process up to 200 tickets per day are also available and Zoho Support additionally offers a free plan.

For more information regarding Zoho’s suite of officing applications visit www.nubifer.com.

Emerging Trends in Cloud Computing

Due to its reputation as a game-changing technology set, Cloud Computing is a hot topic when discussing emerging technology trends. Cloud Computing is defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) “as a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.”

IT optimization has largely been the reason for the early adoption of Cloud Computing in “Global 2000” enterprises, with the early drivers being cost savings and faster infrastructure provisioning. A December 2009 Forrester Report indicated that over 70% of IT budget is spent on maintaining current IT infrastructure rather than adding new capabilities. Because of this, organizations are seeking to adopt a Cloud Computing model for their enterprise applications in order to better utilize the infrastructure investments.

Several such organizations currently have data center consolidation and virtualization initiatives underway and look to Cloud Computing as a natural progression of those initiatives. Enterprise private cloud solutions add capabilities such as self-service, automation and charge back over the virtualized infrastructure and thus make infrastructure provisioning quicker, helping to improve the over-all utilizations. Additionally, some of these organizations have been beginning to try public cloud solutions as a new infrastructure sourcing option.

IT spending of “Global 2000” enterprises makes up less than 5% of their revenues, thus optimizing IT isn’t going to impact their top or bottom line. In the current economic state, IT optimization is a good reason for these large enterprises to begin looking at Cloud Computing. So what is the true “disruptive” potential of Cloud Computing? It lies in the way it is going to aid these large enterprises in reinventing themselves and their business models in order to rise to the challenge of an evolving business landscape.

Social Networking Clouds and e-Commerce

Worldwide e-Commerce transactions will be worth over $16 trillion by 2013, and by 2012 over 50% of all adult Internet users in the U.S. will be using social networks. Currently, 49% of web users make a purchase based on a recommendation gleaned from social media. This increased adoption of social media makes it easier for consumers to remain connected and get options on products and services. Basically, the consumer has already made up their mind about a produce before even getting to the website or store. This is causing major changes in consumer marketing and the B2C business models. The relationship used to be between the enterprise and the consumer, but it is now changed to a deeper relationship that encompasses the consumer’s community.

Large enterprises can’t afford to have “websites” or “brick-and-mortar stores” any longer if they want to remain relevant and ensure customer loyalty—they need to provide online cloud hosted platforms that engage the consumers constantly along with their social community. That way, they incorporate the enterprise business services in their day-to-day life. When the Gen Y consumers reach the market, for example, “community driven” social commerce just may replace traditional “website based” e-commerce. Enterprises need to begin building such next-generation industry specific service platforms for the domain they operate it in anticipation of this.

Computing’s Pervasiveness

One half of the world population—roughly 3.3 billion—have active mobile devices, and the increased use of these hand held devices is altering the expectations of consumers when it comes to the availability of services. Consumers expect that the products and services should be available to them whenever they need the service, wherever they are, through innovative applications, the kinds of applications that can be better delivered through the cloud model.

The number of smart devices is expected to reach one trillion by 2011, due to increasing adoption of technologies like wireless sensors, wearable computing, RFIDs and more. This will lead to significant changes in the way consumers use technology, as future consumers will be used to (and be expecting) more intelligent products and services such as intelligent buildings that conserve energy and intelligent transportation systems that can make decisions based on real-time traffic information. An entirely new set of innovative products and services based on such pervasive computing will need to be created for the future generation.

Service providers will look to increase customer loyalty by providing more offerings, better services and maintaining deeper relationships as products and services become commoditized. Several industry leaders are increasingly adopting open innovation models, there by creating business clouds supported by an ecosystem of partners, in order to increase the portfolio of offerings and innovate faster. A new generation of applications must be created as Cloud Computing becomes more pervasive with the increased adoption of smart devices.

To gain a competitive edge, reduce CAPEX on infrastructure and maintenance, and take advantage of powerful SaaS technologies offered in the Cloud, Companies need to build their next generation business cloud platforms in order to better manage the scale of information.

To learn more about Cloud Computing and how companies can adopt and interoperate with the cloud, Visit Nubifer.com