I Wandered Lonely As A …. – (Notes from Cloud Expo Europe 2016)

I wandered lonely as a cl…. Hey, just a minute, Cloud Expo Europe at London ExCel was far from lonely this year. In fact, as the stands were dismantled, the remaining glossy show guides recycled, and the unclaimed quadcopter prizes packed away, (maybe they’ll make a reappearance at the UAV Show at ExCeL later in the year?), I found myself and the rest of the Accordant team, regrouping and reflecting on the sheer number of exhibitors at this year’s event – the good, the bad, and the indifferent!

As we found seats at an outside table to ExCeL-neighbouring bar / restaurant, “Zero Sette”, enjoying the end of day sunshine, (and taking the weight off our Expo-tired feet!), we started to share our observations from the event. “Diverse” was the most common feedback, which wasn’t that surprising, given that the show covered the immense areas of Cloud, Data Centre, Security and the Internet of Things (IoT)! It also highlighted how inter-related and co-dependent these areas are – it’s not possible to consider any of these areas in a vacuum or completely independently of other events occurring within the industry.

And for those wanting to get a true feel for what is occurring in the Cloud and IoT world at the moment, there were some gems to be found. Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture and the Digital Economy, provided some interesting statistics during his keynote speech regarding the size of the market for IoT, and the amount being invested over the next three years in the UK, ($7 trillion and £26 million respectively, in case you were wondering).

There was also an interesting Managed Service Providers, (MSP), panel discussion regarding the potential threats and opportunities of the hyperscalers, (specifically Amazon and Microsoft), arriving to our UK shores later this year. Whilst these big players weren’t physically at the Expo, they were there in spirit and present in most attendees’ minds.

There were also some genuine pieces of innovation on show, both from a technology and a services perspective.

However, it felt like the question that was being both asked and self-answered, by vendors and suppliers alike, on behalf of customers was: “Can you do it?”, whether this related to Cloud, Data Centre, Security or IoT.

When posing such a question as a consideration or precursor to undertaking any kind of significant investment, the knee-jerk answer is so often quickly determined as “Yes, absolutely!”. It’s easy to be railroaded into buying the latest ‘hot’ innovation by a seductive, yet simplistic, business case, with an appealing ROI, put together “independently” by the vendor. Yet these appraisals don’t necessarily forecast for all scenarios, particularly over the longer term – what happens if you need to scale down as well as up? What are the incremental costs? What are the impacts of ceasing a service?

At Accordant, we start by asking a different question: “Should you do it?”

Using a combination of our diverse consulting expertise, and our custom-built software, AccSL™, we assess current IT costs in a robust and repeatable manner. We rapidly model multiple scenarios, focusing not just on cost, but benefits and value. Varying investment profiles can then easily be appraised and compared using consistent, industry-recognised outputs.

This approach increases the likelihood of investing in the right technology and / or services, with a focus on providing benefits both in the short and longer term. And we have real-life experience of the benefits this approach can identify, in particular with our recent work with private equity firms, and a multinational publishing and educational company.

If you’re wondering how and where to invest in technology, avoiding the hype, yet still championing innovation, contact Accordant. We’d be happy to discuss our approach and AccSL™ further.

And as the sun set further on Cloud Expo 2016, our discussions continued round the table, and grew larger, as industry partners pulled up a chair and joined us. The event was far from lonely – it was a great opportunity for learning, networking, collaboration and discussion.