Hybrid IT: A Journey Worth Exploring

In recent years, the cloud has emerged as the leading technology for delivering services across industries.  How have cloud technology-as-a-service solutions come to dominate the market so quickly?

  1. The internet continues to improve and is the backbone of delivering cloud solutions anywhere.
  2. Cost-effective, high-speed networks and broadband used by individuals, small businesses, and enterprises.
  3. Server virtualization has dramatically reduced the cost of powerful computing (possibly to a tipping point for #2)

Now, massive and extremely cost-effective datacenters around the world are hosting all the software that drives “as-a-service” apps. Businesses of all sizes and their employees can access these datacenters for services from around the world via reliable and affordable high-speed networks.

All cloud all the time? Not so fast…

Despite all the powerful advancements, we are living in a hybrid world where there is a mix of on-premises and cloud technologies. 

Though cloud computing is here, organizations and their Modern MSPs need to approach cloud computing as a journey from on-premises technology to cloud computing.

During the transition, a hybrid model is a great (and often recommended) next step to gain the flexibility, scalability, and affordability of cloud computing while getting the full life and utility from existing on-premises IT.

A Modern MSP with expertise in both traditional on-premises technology and cloud computing can help customers build an intelligent solution now that will help an organization transition in the future. The right partner will help to make every investment in the cloud an investment that addresses immediate needs as well as long-term goals.

How? It’s all about the business outcomes you have in mind.

Just as moving to the cloud is a journey, so are the long-term business outcomes you hope to achieve. Combine the two goals and you create a powerful feedback loop to drive your IT and your business forward.

We’re here to help you grow. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss your unique needs and see where the cloud fits into your IT and business planning.

'Cloud First' MSPs and How You Should Think About the Cloud

Why does the Modern MSP think ‘Cloud First’ for its customers?

Let’s be honest – say and think what you want, but the cloud is here to stay. It provides enormous benefits to organizations that have never been realized in the technology world before.

But, what is the cloud? Quite simply, cloud computing means that on-premises-based IT systems, applications and databases are hosted in one or more state-of-the-art datacenters managed by a cloud services provider. Examples include Microsoft Office 365 for email and collaboration, Microsoft Azure for Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Microsoft Dynamics for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

There are huge benefits to having a cloud-driven business

For many reasons - productivity, security, accessibility, costs, etc. - cloud services have become enormously popular for companies of all sizes from the SMB to large enterprises.  The cloud is universally believed to represent the future model for the delivery of almost all IT services. 

Through advanced virtualization technologies, an experienced technical support staff, and a major investment in hosting facilities, a cloud services provider can operate more efficiently and cost-effectively in delivering hosted IT services than a company which owns and manages their own dedicated, on-premises datacenter.

Cloud services come in many forms - sometimes as point solutions and sometimes as fully integrated applications and services that solve a range of business challenges.

Let’s explore a simple example: hosted email

By moving a company’s email service from an on-premises system into the cloud as a hosted service, many benefits are immediately realized by the customer.

First, the server itself is eliminated. No longer will a costly and complex device require floor space, electrical power, cooling, system upgrades, software patching, maintenance, and repair. Email service in the cloud removes this costly overhead and replaces it with a hosted service; heavy and unpredictable capital and operating expenses associated with an on-premises solution are replaced with a predictable monthly or annual service fee that dramatically reduces the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

Even better, the simplicity of a hosted solution and the reach of the internet enable untethered, universal access to the service for users located anywhere, using any device. The cloud is not only a cost saver, it’s an enabler of mobility, information access and device independence.  

Now imagine that all the benefits (and more!) associated with our simple email example are applied to any and every application or service that migrates to the cloud. Savings and organizational benefits are greatly multiplied.

Customers today have an extremely broad range of cloud services available to them. Think of them as a collection of building blocks that you can use to solve problems and enable business objectives. The Modern MSP must have a “cloud first” mentality to de-mystify the cloud and help customers reap the rewards.

Want to learn more about what’s available to you in the cloud? Contact us today!

Modern MSPs: How We Deliver Business Outcomes

In our previous blog post in this series, we discussed the push for managed service providers like us here at B&R to focus on delivering business outcomes for our customers. “Business outcomes” is a relatively new term in the traditional IT world, especially among providers that have focused on delivering technology in general.

Today, delivering technology is no longer enough; businesses have increased needs beyond uptime, availability, and performance. Delivering business outcomes is the new mantra for the Modern MSP. How do we develop and deliver IT that drives better business outcomes?

It all starts with sitting alongside the company’s leaders (all the C-Level Executives, Directors, etc.) and learning their business processes, people, goals, objectives, challenges and desired outcomes. We use these the three areas of focus when we have discovery conversations with our customers:

1. Increase revenue

We work with sales and marketing teams to run a baseline analysis of their lead to close process and identify where CRM and marketing automation can help. There are great new technologies and opportunities to help marketing teams increase the quantity and quality of their leads and to help the sales department close deals. Often, marketing automation platforms can help the marketing folks and an integrated CRM can help the sales folks. In a digital world, it’s critical that the marketing and sales teams work hand-in-hand, and cloud technologies can make that happen.

2. Decrease costs

Another way to think of this: increase efficiencies! This should be applied across a customer’s entire organization. A strong place to start is with an assessment of internal, external, and mobile communications and collaboration processes—following the “bouncing ball,” if you will. Solutions suites like Microsoft Office 365 have seen the most innovation and deployment in new cloud solutions - and for good reason. We believe it has the most dramatic effect on decreasing costs and increasing efficiencies.

3. Minimize security and compliance risk

Increasing revenue and decreasing costs are vitally important, but it will all be for nothing if you can’t minimize security and compliance risks. Cloud backup, recovery, and security are the most logical places to start. Understanding which solutions are needed is another matter of following the bouncing ball. Watch how workloads are handled, where data goes, how it’s secured, and who and what secures it. As important and desirable the business outcomes are, this is where organizations should build out their best technical resources.

In our next, post we’ll explore considerations for partnering with a Modern MSP whose strategy is “cloud first” instead of just “cloud possible.”

IT and IT Services: The Next Generation

We have been living in a world full of technology for its own sake for many decades - but time are changing. We all know this world well: technology such as mainframes, PC’s, laptops, networking gear, big software, PBX’s, etc. All of these were considered necessary for businesses to function.  In this world, organizations purchased their technology from resellers known as VARs (Value-Added Reseller), SIs (System Integrators), and Interconnects (Telephony VAR) who delivered and maintained all of this on-premises technology. There wasn’t much in the way of solutions that focused on the business goals and objectives of the buyers (what we now refer to as “business outcomes”).  Today, we have cloud computing and the Modern MSP (Managed Services Providers) instead.

The Modern MSP is much more than a technology reseller; the Modern MSP provides an integrated portfolio of cloud solutions combined with managed services that bring significant business value to organizations of all types and sizes.

We at B&R Business Solutions are a Modern MSP, specializing in Office 365, Microsoft Azure, and SharePoint-based solutions. We align business needs with the deployment and delivery of cloud-based IT services to be a valued business partner to our customers.

Our customers rely on us to know when and how to migrate their expensive on-premises infrastructure into the cloud in a secure, reliable and non-disruptive way. More importantly, we foster greater flexibility and scalability for future growth while helping customers reduce costs.

This business and technology partnership eliminates the high costs of hardware, software, and their maintenance. At significantly lower costs, organizations can utilize cutting-edge technology to improve their competitiveness, productivity, cost efficiency, and the security of their data and assets.

We help our customers to reduce expenses while running advanced IT solutions that increase business efficiency and enable growth. This is made possible through the new paradigm of cloud computing combined with our experience designing and delivering cost-effective and advanced cloud technologies.

Just as every organization must think differently about their unique businesses, so do we. We think in terms of integrated solutions and we are committed to delivering the greatest value through a blend of cloud and on-premises technologies. Our role as a Modern MSP and trusted IT advisor has evolved to include cloud migration and integration expertise.

In an upcoming blog, we’ll explore the concept of business outcomes for you and how the Modern MSP can play a vital role in your business.