There are those who would argue that technology has made the physical world a smaller place.
Perhaps. But technology, and the Internet specifically, are getting bigger every day.
That size is making it more complex for businesses to connect with their end users, even though opportunities to do so are also growing. This is especially challenging for service providers who must take drastic steps to figure out how to capitalize on those opportunities on behalf of their clients. If they do not they risk being left behind in a world drunk on innovation.
If they do, then their growth potential is as large as the Internet. And that is pretty large.
The numbers are staggering: There are 968 Instagram photos or videos uploaded every second, 1,411 Skype calls placed every second, 43,475 Google searches every second and 2,100,000 emails sent every second.
All of those interactions are an opportunity for businesses to connect with their users – to make their lives easier and to innovate new ideas and concepts. In an era where the customer is once again king, and the end user has never been more valuable, brands are continuing to increase their efforts to get specific and get integrated with the lives of their customers.
Web facing community
The web facing community has this nailed down. They understand the power of front end integration and that a shared vision can lead to innovation.
When speaking at the launch of their global “data of now” partnership with Twitter, Kantar CEO Eric Salama stated “real time predictive research is a reality for clients across a range of our services”.
Shared data and cross collaboration is clearly leading to increased innovation.
The Internet of Things will add another level of evolution to this aggressive turf war through an even greater number of brand-end user interaction points, insert funny reference to talking toasters and irons. Cisco stated that 50 billion Internet-Connected devices will come online by 2020. The channels of interaction between brands and their end users are becoming vast and data is becoming real time.
The devops community understands this as well. As my friend Stephan Thair, co-founder of DevOpsGuys is apt to say, “Users now expect a hyper-connected, hyper-available world. DevOps promotes an open and fluid relationship between Development & Operations to meet that need.”
The key here is that the user is at the beginning and end of everything devops does. Even more importantly both the web facing and devops communities live and thrive through collaboration.
Managed Service Providers
But what about Managed Service Providers? For over half a decade the Managed Hosting and Managed Services community has consistently preached the benefits of increased innovation following cloud adoption. Is this being realised?
Standoffs exist not only between the supplier community and end-user, but also within the supplier community itself. SLAs are often defined by defensive contractual positions based on archaic introverted KPIs and anything else is simply ‘out of scope’.
Service provider need to work harder as a community to generate a greater level of understanding in a number of areas to better serve end-users and one another in order to foster greater innovation.
Here’s how they can do it:
1) Demystify the cloud – Without proper education the cloud becomes an unknown. People fear the unknown and when they’re afraid they don’t use something. The cloud is not scary and educating companies on it should be a top priority of everyone, even if these platforms our outside of your own traditional network?
2) Security by separation – Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket is a popular saying and it is also applicable to technology. By using multiple vendors you can reduce your risk because you are not solely reliant on one company’s success. Within any solution what are your clients’ hierarchy of need? And, how do your solutions meet these varying needs whilst maintaining a freedom of flexibility?
3) Focus on Infrastructure as a Service adoption – If your clients understand the cloud and realize the smartest and safest strategy is to use multiple vendors then you would be well served to promote an Infrastructure as a Service model. Basically, this means introducing an open ethos to your use of third party platforms and technologies. Focus on providing education to the market and a clearly defined service model to your clients. Why build something that already exists, the market does not need another MSP built cloud platform.
4) Think about solutions as a whole and not just the problem – One solution may solve a particular problem but does it create another five? Thinking about things holistically will help prevent you from working silos. Build a greater knowledge of your clients end to end requirements and solutions, even if this knowledge is outside of your core competencies. Greater awareness will lead to greater innovation through collaboration.
5) Understand the value of Internet Performance – At Dyn we are obsessed with Internet Performance and acknowledge that this is so much more than simply providing resilience and a high- speed network. It is about standing side by side with our customers to gain increased commercial and operational leverage whilst ensuring the delivery of content and a better end user experience to their customers. Do you think about Internet performance?
6) Create communities – This is the era of collaboration and if some of the steps above seem scary, remember you don’t have to do them alone. This should be your message to your client. But, this should also be your message to your peers. By creating greater value to clients as an industry group, all will benefit.
If the service provider community takes these suggestions seriously, we could be entering the golden era of technology innovation. Not only will end users be able to leverage web facing products but enterprises and small businesses will be able to maximize their back end infrastructure, which will make that front end technology even better.
Yes, the Internet is getting bigger. But if we can unite as a business community its potential is limitless.
By Paul Heywood, Dyn Director (EMEA).
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