The Clouds are Gathering!

by Jeff Wiener on September 3, 2013

How appropriate the title is considering I am writing this after the labour day long week-end and what feels like the first day of fall. It has been an interesting summer of acquisitions in the cloud/hosted space, with IMB acquiring SoftLayer for $2 billion, and Salesforce’s $2.6 billion pickup of Exact Target both this past July.

While there remain many naysayers regarding this growing shift towards cloud computing and hosted services, it was the timing of these two moves that really caught my attention, serving as evidence (to me at least) that Digitcom’s decision to enter the cloud space last year was the right one.

As I see it, IBM is a bellwether company, meaning it leads the market in new directions in technology and IT services better than many other high tech companies, defining and adjusting to future trends. Now, with its purchase of SoftLayer, the company has projected annual revenues related to cloud services at $7 billion by 2015…encouraging, I’d say.

Now the acquisition of ExactTarget by Salesforce is an example of a cloud computing company expanding by adding additional cloud services. Salesforce.com is well known for offering a hosted service to manage marketing campaigns, as well as lead management, sales activities and manage customer information. While a lesser known entity, ExactTarget, for its part, has been an influential force in providing digital marketing tools to over 6000 companies, a shrewd acquisition for a company looking to provide “a world-class marketing platform across email, social, mobile and the Web,” a worthy endeavour in my mind.

As I mentioned, both of these acquisitions reinforce Digitcom’s decision to enter the cloud space last year with the addition of our hosted PBX and SIP trunk service offerings. Our cloud division represents the fastest growing business unit we have ever had in our 23 years in the market. At the time, our initial reason for entering the cloud space was not only because we recognized the interest our clients had in moving to the cloud, but more importantly, we were losing more and more business to other cloud-based offerings.

While Hosted PBX and SIP trunking are very different technologies and implemented for different reasons, they are both considered cloud technologies: Hosted PBX is the move away from owning a premise based phone system often deployed to save on the dollars of buying and managing premise hardware, while SIP trunking is often deployed to take advantage of better fail over, multiple area code routing, and cost savings over a PRI circuit. In both cases, there has been a remarkable interest in our new cutting edge cloud services.

I hear now more than ever that companies are moving not just their voice, but their storage, CRM, web hosting, email … to the cloud. Having to staff permanent IT positions is expensive and managing IT infrastructure can be complex, so the more you can move to the cloud the more you can simplify the entire process; reducing the need to install and run applications on your own computers and networks, which in turn simplifies overall maintenance and support.

The takeaway is that cloud computing in its many forms offers solutions and/or applications for every business. Cloud computing allows you to leverage the IT infrastructure and application innovation built by others, leaving you and your business to focus on growing revenues and delivering value. In the end, while Hosted voice is but one of the many types of cloud offerings, it, like other cloud services, allows you to manage your core business while leaving the complexities of managing IT to someone else.

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