Nick LaPalomento: Hi there. Thanks for joining us for another Tech Talk. I’m Nick and I’m joined again by Chad Hiatt. He’s our chief information officer here at Aldridge.
Today, we’re talking about the future. 2019 is coming up and there’s a lot of changes coming down the pipeline for cloud and infrastructure. Lots of things that Microsoft is planning; some big changes from some operating systems that are getting a little old. I wanted to chat about that. Chad, let’s talk about how cloud is impacting the recommendations that we make for clients coming up in the new year.
Chad Hiatt: Cloud really means a lot of different things. Bottom line, it means that internet services are getting faster, which means that you no longer have to have all the equipment that runs your business and your infrastructure inside your own walls. You can pay a subscription charge and have someone else handle all the logistics of running and operating and maintaining it, so that you get to really just do what’s important in your business and just consume the applications or use the data, or have the correspondence and the email systems up and working without having to think about all the back-end pieces.
It’s really impacted out clients in the conversations we’ve had in architecting and designing what their IT infrastructure looks like. Whereas before, we’d look at it and say, “Well, in order to run this line of business application, this key thing to what we need to do to generate revenue or reduce costs for our clients, they have to run this stack of servers.” Now, we have to think about all the things that go around that and all the support, and even square footage and power and cooling for it. Whereas cloud has changed that conversation to where we can say, “Let’s make sure we have a good, stable secure connection to a provider or to the internet in general and then let’s pay someone to run that for us so that we can just consume the application. The thing that actually delivers the value.”
Nick: How are we seeing some of our clients adjust to those changes that are coming down in the industry?
Chad: From an adjustment standpoint, it’s really finding out what the right balance is of what functionality, what storage, what features fo you really need to have. Oftentimes with organizations that have been around for a while, they’ve been through multiple cycles of equipment running within their own walls. Sometimes, there’s a feeling that I want to be able to wrap my arms arounds my data. I want to be able to hold it here.
The reality is we’re all operating in an internet-based environment anyways. Business conducts outside of the walls all the time—your correspondence, your email, your backups, off-siting—making sure that that information is flowing. The important part of selecting cloud solutions that really do meet the needs of the business, but are also done by providers that are secure that are resilient, that offer the types of levels of service that you’re really looking for so that you can trust them.
Nick: What do all these changes mean for businesses who already have a lot of infrastructure?
Chad: It’s just really a matter of just adopting it as it makes sense and at the pace that it makes sense. Usually, it comes up when the existing equipment starts to age. Now, we’re looking at life cycle. Maybe that equipment has a three-year or four-year or five-year operating life cycle. Beyond that, it really is not economic to maintain anymore. Rather than replace it and invest a large chunk of the new implementation on a new platform that’s oftentimes the right time to think about a transition.
Usually, we’ll start thinking about that 12 to 18 months ahead. We’re putting the groundwork in place. We’re making infrastructure decisions along the way to support what the client organization is really tying to get to where we know we’re all going to in about two years.
Nick: Obviously, Microsoft has had some recent conferences and events. You were able to attend some of those and we’ve heard about a lot of cool things coming down in 2019. Maybe talk a little bit about an overview of sort of what Microsoft is planning and what we can expect.
Chad: Microsoft is very cloud-focused. In fact, they’re doing most of their new innovation all in cloud-based technologies. Because with the increased speed of the internet, the accessibility, it just makes more sense for more organizations to be able to use what they want to use when they want to use it—rather than have to deploy a lot of traditional infrastructure.
That also means that we have to give up some of the older technologies that are still out there. I know a lot of people still like using Windows 7, for example. Windows 7 has had a long life cycle, but the reality is is that Microsoft is ending security updates and software support for Windows 7 towards the end of 2019, early part of 2020. An active conversation that we have with a lot of clients right now is making sure that we’re getting everybody up on generation Windows 10 applications.
It’s also having a significant impact in storage and in communications as we’re seeing more and more of those features become available to a larger and larger extent, but also at a lower cost. It’s interesting. It’s not that as adoption grows, the price goes up. We’re actually seeing the reverse. As adoption grows, the price is going down because Microsoft, even at their scale, is achieving even larger economies of scale. They continue to improve the feature set of all the things that they’re offering so that we can then take and say, “Wait. This will solve this client business problem. This will solve this. This will help our clients achieve this.”
We can bring them into the conversations when they make sense.
Nick: There’s a lot of really cool things coming up in the next year. We’re really excited for them as a business. We hope that we can help you implement some of these things into your business. If you’re not a client of Aldridge, feel free to reach out to us on our website—we’d be happy to chat with you. If you are a current client, feel free to reach out to your CIO. They’d love to discuss in more detail with you about things that are coming up and new technologies that you might be able to leverage.
We hope to see you on the next Tech Talk.
At Aldridge, our team of IT professionals provide your business with the resources it needs to reach its potential. We put customer service first and deliver support and strategic planning that effectively manages your IT. Our approach relieves you of the hassle of technology management so you can focus on running your business. Our IT consulting services can help you understand how to leverage emerging technology in your business.