IT Companies: When the Cloud Revolutionizes Services

If the Cloud unquestionably responds in an innovative and effective way to a continuous enrichment of the many features it offers us, combined with an efficient business model, what about the services offered by the IT Service Companies to operate them?

Between the mechanisms specific to the Cloud model, the evolving customer needs and employees who aspire to other modes of operation, the IT Service Companies are facing the risk of disappearing from the necessary revolution of their processes and their business model, and to the redefining the human being at work as part of an extended enterprise.

An increase in functional richness thanks to the Cloud

Who would have bet this, in view of the resistances especially related to the data security, that the Cloud model would impose itself so quickly in France and all over the World.

An adoption facilitated by:

  • The economic aspects of such solutions: we only pay for the products used, but moreover we no longer manage operating constraints, backups, migrations from one version to another and other technical topics that are costly in terms of time and skills, all of which are supported by the publisher.
  • Their tactical and strategic interest, since we benefit continuously from all the improvements made to the product by the editor (modifications of the existing functionalities but also innovations) without going through the releases and the versions which, in the past, did not very often allow our business to continuously improve their practices and processes. This way of providing software services is also accompanied by an extraordinary proliferation of specialized features: If we compare the On Premise version of Lotus Notes, major star of French Key Accounts for many years in the field of Messaging and Collaboration services, with Microsoft 365 that has dethroned it, we see a number of features that are incredibly richer and more numerous for the latter.

So we live, it seems, a great time, with at our disposal rich features usable on various devices, from all places and at any time, and offering us in addition continuous improvements, for a known set price.

But a more delicate Operations Management activity

At the same time, we are seeing some very significant new developments:

  • The need to continually process and maintain optimal operating conditions, many complex organizational and technical issues related to governance, technology watch, innovation, support for digital transformation and use, system hybridization , security, massive use of mobile devices, …
  • A functional richness that is often misused, due to the difficulty for the departments in charge of Change Management to not only continuously understand the many changes, but also to communicate them effectively, and with up-to-date information on their use
  • The difficulty of committing oneself as in a conventional outsourcing, on a perimeter defined by a catalog of services, whose field will be modified and adapted continuously to take into account the evolutions of the existing functionalities, but also the innovations of the Cloud solution considered.

Which does not mean, as we will see later, that we cannot engage with more relevance than in the past, when the majority of IT Service Companies respond by simply proposing technical assistance

With most of the missions to be carried out, the need for teamwork instead of individual expertise

Functional richness and continuous evolutions do not in any way allow a single consultant to be able to claim to master a platform such as Office 365 as a whole.

It is enough to define the ideal profile of an Office 365 expert consultant, to realize that unless you are a mutant endowed with several brains and a workforce that allows you to work, and at the same time continuously analyzing and absorbing the hundreds of annual changes to the product and all related third-party products, no salvation outside of teamwork.

Teamwork therefore seems to us to be the alpha and omega of most of the practices of our professions, which are becoming more and more complex.

IT Service Companies with practices from another age

And during this time the IT Service Companies continue for the most part to operate as before the advent of the Cloud, and are often very far from having understood, integrated, and started to support the necessary change to be made in their habits and ways of doing things, which date from “another century”.

As if nothing should change, they continue to reason in terms:

  • Technical Assistance, model built on the following principles:
    • The external consultant who operates services is almost considered as an employee of the client, who largely contributes to providing and organizing his work. A comfortable position for IT Service Companies but which makes it very difficult to adapt with reactivity and flexibility the necessary and sufficient production capacities to respond optimally to the upward or downward variation in users’ unpredictable service requests, while charging only what is actually consumed.
    • to meet a given need, call on a “knowledgeable” consultant, rather than an extended “knowledgeable” team, which would know how to distribute the problems to be dealt with and entrust them to the experts for resolution. It is however an imperative in the Cloud model, where the great functional richness and its continuous evolution, makes it impossible for a “knowing” consultant to master all the necessary knowledge.
  • Fixed-rate Commitment, which requires for it to be contractualized to define a finite scope of intervention, a nonsense in a world where modifications and innovations continuously calling into question this finite scope of intervention, must not only be identified , but analyzed and implemented by the service provider technical teams who operate them.

With a few exceptions concerning well-defined projects, these two intervention models are both unsuitable for Cloud solutions, and only an On Demand service is suitable in all other cases: This consists of responding to demand and billing accordingly a service to be provided, by designating according to the subject to be treated the consultant(s) best suited to handle it, with the certainty that we only pay for what we consume. This model is in fact a series of mini-lump-sum commitments operated on demand.

While IT and business services must adapt to the new possibilities and constraints of the Cloud

eCom CS undertook this transformation a long time ago through OnWay, an IT and business-oriented service global offer, adapted to the new needs that have arisen with the Cloud.

An approach that resonates with both our long-standing clients and the many who have recently placed their trust in us, the quality of the differentiating effects provided by our services having convinced them of the relevance of our approach.

Angel Morales
General director

This post is also available in: French