Cloudage Solutions http://www.cloudagesolutions.com Mon, 04 Dec 2017 23:29:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9 Love them ‘dogs! http://www.cloudagesolutions.com/blog/love-them-dogs/ http://www.cloudagesolutions.com/blog/love-them-dogs/#respond Fri, 03 Nov 2017 04:27:03 +0000 http://cloudagesolutions.com/?p=366 I have supported the telecom underdogs, the competitive entrants, my entire 28+ year career in telecom.  I guess that the die was cast during the early days of my career at MCI starting in the late ’80s.  The culture at MCI was so strong that regardless of your position in the company you knew the … Continue reading "Love them ‘dogs!"

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I have supported the telecom underdogs, the competitive entrants, my entire 28+ year career in telecom.  I guess that the die was cast during the early days of my career at MCI starting in the late ’80s.  The culture at MCI was so strong that regardless of your position in the company you knew the mission.  For me, it was us against the RBOCs and AT&T.  This culture served MCI well from the early days up until the mid ’90s as MCI was one of the best run telecom companies and grew rapidly accordingly.

As I branched out from MCI, the telecom markets were opening up (’96 Telecom Act) and capital was pouring in resulting in the start of the CLEC experience.  Together with other like-minded MCIers, I co-founded a few startups whose mission was to provide tools and services leveraging our collective expertise gained from years of fighting in the trenches against the incumbents.  One of these startups, Broadmargin, was a great success in that we enabled over 100 competitive carriers to better compete against the incumbents saving them hundreds of millions in network cost in the process.  The closing of the CenturyLink – Level 3 deal this week was kind of a sad milestone for me in that it marked the end of the independence of the last major CLEC (all of the majors are now controlled by RBOCs / ILECs).

The last several years we have been focusing on helping the next generation of service providers.  This group of companies cannot be called “carriers” as not all are traditional telecom companies. This group includes businesses such as hosted UC providers, CPaaS, Call Tracking providers, Emergency Notification providers, resellers, application providers as well as the more traditional CLECs, MSOs, etc.  Our definition of who we provide services to has changed to from carriers to  “any company that uses network services to deliver its service”.  I love working with this marketplace as they share my entrepreneurial and innovative spirit and are open to trying new approaches to managing network expense.

As I look to the future, I am excited that we are able to bring one more tool to this marketplace to help level the playing field for this group of companies.  This tool is our SaaS platform called gpxcloud and will transform the carrier-facing backoffice (Ckt Quoting, Ordering, Network Inventory, Cost Mgmt, Contract Mgmt,  Usage Mgmt, BI) for these companies enabling faster customer growth, increased profitability and enhanced customer experiences.

Go ‘Dogs!

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My Reflections on Connections17 http://www.cloudagesolutions.com/blog/my-reflections-on-connections17/ http://www.cloudagesolutions.com/blog/my-reflections-on-connections17/#respond Thu, 26 Oct 2017 04:44:19 +0000 http://cloudagesolutions.com/?p=369 I’m on my way back from a jam packed 3 days at Broadsoft Connections17.  As usual, Broadsoft put on a first class event complete with great networking, content (saw a really cool lifecycle mgmt app called gpxcloud – haha), food, drink, etc.  Again I didn’t heed Michael Tessler’s advice on Sunday morning at the CCA … Continue reading "My Reflections on Connections17"

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I’m on my way back from a jam packed 3 days at Broadsoft Connections17.  As usual, Broadsoft put on a first class event complete with great networking, content (saw a really cool lifecycle mgmt app called gpxcloud – haha), food, drink, etc.  Again I didn’t heed Michael Tessler’s advice on Sunday morning at the CCA event to pace myself but managed to get through the event in one piece.

Obviously the big news from the show was the announcement that Cisco had acquired Broadsoft on Monday.  This deal like many in recent months is just further evidence of the shift in what was once called the telecom industry.  The move away from capital intensive hardware-centric network infrastructure to opex-based, cloud delivered “asset lite” networks is accelerating and this deal is just another transition companies like Cisco need to make to capitalize on this trend.  This deal also was a pre-emptive strike to keep this crown jewel of the collaboration space out of the hands of rivals like Microsoft, AWS, Oracle, SalesForce, Facebook, etc.  We truly have an industry where the term “carrier” no longer describes the players that will likely dominate it in the years to come.

As I look at the prospects for the services and software that Cloud Age delivers I am excited by this transition as it offers great opportunities to impart the knowledge and tools that we have amassed over nearly 30 years in the industry.  Our focus is not on any particular type of company but on any company that uses network services in the delivery of their service.  This definition yields all sorts of providers out there including UC, CPaaS, traditional CLECs/ILECs, call tracking, resellers, agents, applications, etc. that will need help managing their network costs for years to come.

I also attended an interesting session presented by Michael Quinn at the Cloud Communications Alliance (CCA) meeting at Connections.  Michael’s firm (Q-Advisors)  is in the middle of a lot of the mid-market deals going on in the cloud communications space today so has great insight on the business side.  One point Michael made to the group that was music to my ears was that too many of the emerging cloud comms providers have focused their efforts solely on growing the top lines of their businesses thinking that this will enable them to have an exit only to find out that they need to also have some level of profitability (EBITDA / cash flow).  Michael spoke of the formula called the “rule of 40” that determines valuation levels in this space.  This formula is (Revenue Growth + EBITDA Growth) >= 40% in order to have a decent valuation.  The reason I found this formula interesting is related to how our services can help the companies in this space achieve / exceed this metric.  We recently completed a project for a hosted UC provider that resulted in nearly 40% annual network expense reduction that added 7-8 points in margin.  These types of results can build significant value for these companies so I am excited at the prospect of doing so.

Well, that is the captain on the overhead speakers letting us know that we are approaching DCA so I have to finish up this post.  It was a great event and so good to see many long-time friends / customers as well as to make several new connections.

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Five things enterprises need to know about about Cloud Computing http://www.cloudagesolutions.com/blog/five-things-enterprises-need-to-know-about-about-cloud-computing/ http://www.cloudagesolutions.com/blog/five-things-enterprises-need-to-know-about-about-cloud-computing/#respond Thu, 21 Apr 2016 04:45:06 +0000 http://cloudagesolutions.com/?p=372 It’s true: Cloud Computing has been over-hyped … Yes, we admit it.  Even though our name is Cloud Age Solutions, and we believe in the power of cloud computing.  For sure (done right), leveraging the cloud can help your business improve productivity, reduce costs and increase revenues.  But it is not a silver bullet and … Continue reading "Five things enterprises need to know about about Cloud Computing"

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  • It’s true: Cloud Computing has been over-hyped …
  • Yes, we admit it.  Even though our name is Cloud Age Solutions, and we believe in the power of cloud computing.  For sure (done right), leveraging the cloud can help your business improve productivity, reduce costs and increase revenues.  But it is not a silver bullet and as the saying goes, there is no free lunch.   It takes planning, design work and up-front investment to achieve these benefits.

    A simple, common-sense approach is key to take advantage of Cloud Computing

    1. But Cloud Computing has one BIG advantage over traditional approaches…

    It’s not time to market.  Or the speed at which you can add new services or deploy software.  It is more fundamental than that.  Cloud computing handles changing demand patterns very cost effectively.  What does this mean in plain English?  Here are some examples of changing demand patterns within a business:

    • Finance uses IT heavily at the end of the month, year or quarter to do reporting
    • HR adds seasonal employees
    • Engineering ramps up for short term projects or product launches
    • Sales and marketing sells more due to a promotion or cyclical customer demand
    • IT network shrinks or spikes significantly depending on time of day or time of year
    • Call centers gets hit with sudden spikes in call volumes

    This is a partial list.  The point is, when you think about cloud computing, first identify business activities that have rapid or even sudden changes.  These are areas where cloud computing can add a lot of value.  Why? Because cloud computing allows businesses to pay for only as much resource as they need at any given time and to respond to those “bursts” of demand that are periodic, without having to oversubscribe and over-engineer the needed resources to support these spikes.

    1. The Cloud is especially valuable for businesses that need to be more agile and responsive…

    Being flexible enough to spin-up additional resource needs that occur on the fly has gotten dramatically easier in the new age of cloud computing.  What the Cloud uniquely enables – maybe better than any other technology – is vastly improved business agility and responsiveness through speed to delivery and functionality.

    Before Cloud After Cloud
    Applications required expensive servers, network resources and on site maintenance Applications reside on virtual servers that can easily be expanded and replicated on demand
    Disaster Recovery required significant system duplication and costly redundant networks Cloud based services readily accessed through multiple, highly redundant, internetworked data centers
    IT staff needed significant system certifications and experience IT staff can focus on support and performance versus complex system understanding
    1. It’s almost never “Lift and Shift”

    “Lift and Shift” is the idea that a business can take its current, non-Cloud based network infrastructure, software and computing environment and just move it from premise based computing to the cloud – without changes.  While there are a few exceptions, in general, it’s never that straightforward.

    When you move your IT infrastructure into the cloud, you will want to re-architect your applications to operate in the new cloud environment.  Otherwise, you are missing much of the benefit of the move, and you may create bottlenecks that will negatively affect the users of your applications.

    Further, moving to the cloud almost always has implications for network security.  But there are other less obvious and equally important concerns that businesses need to think about.  For example:

    • Management controls. Businesses need to have people, processes and systems in place to manage their Cloud based assets.  Without proper controls and policies, any employee with a credit card can deploy a cloud based solution (often referred to as “shadow IT services”), and seek reimbursement through T&E; operating completely off the technology and financial radar.
    • Quality of Service. The infrastructure you use to connect to the cloud can have a dramatic impact on network availability, latency, error rates and transaction times.  And if you don’t maintain or exceed your current levels of quality when you move to the cloud, you can undermine all the other business benefits you have achieved.  Achieving appropriately scaled Quality of Service is more than throwing large amounts of bandwidth into the equation.
    1. It’s good to have an independent “Cloud” advisor to help you build the Business Case.

    There are literally thousands of companies in the Cloud space, ready to sell you their products and services.  Many of these can be great options for your company.  And if your company has the internal resources and time to figure out what you need, develop a roadmap and implement it —  go for it.

    But — if your company could benefit from expert and unbiased help in planning and justifying your cloud migration strategy, consider Cloud Age Solutions.  We have decades of experience in network design, sourcing, and performance optimization.   And we use a simple, vendor-agnostic methodology that puts your business requirements and goals at the center of our recommendations

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