Having been working in IT for around 25 years now, I’ve seen a lot of changes to technology and how people work. In the 1990′s and early 2000′s there was the Tech Boom, where IT companies of all sizes with specialist knowledge of applications or platforms were making an awful lot of money from their customers selling consultancy by the day.
I’ve paid anything up to £1500 for a day, and I’ve changed up to £1000 a day because the knowledge and experience of a certain piece of software, with bespoke configuration for a client saves them hundreds if not thousands of hours trying to do in-house. It represents value for money too.
This changed considerably after 2000 when companies made huge investments into their IT infrastructures to avoid the Y2K bug, and found that in-house IT support was actually cheaper than using 30 consultancy days a year and meant that problem resolution was much quicker.
Since Cloud Computing became the latest buzz work in industry, we’ve now turned full circle, with anyone….and I mean literally anyone able to offer cloud services to their customers and they don’t even have to have a clue what they do.
A client of mine was recently invited to view a demonstration of virtual desktops which could revolutionise the way that they work (said the salesman). The salesman actually provides phone systems and telephone lines, and has no IT experience at all, they could just see £££ selling a cloud service that they make a commission on.
My client watched a wonderful demonstration for an hour, then contacted me to find out why I hadn’t shown this to him, and would it work. The answer was no it wouldn’t be economical due to the job his people perform, and I hadn’t shown it too him because he could never gain the hour of his life that it took to demonstrate something completely useless to his business back.
The reasons… 85% of his staff use specialist design software, which isn’t available to virtual desktops. Even if it was, the PC’s he has are a mixture of Intel i7 and Xeon Processors with between 4 and 6 cores, this would cost a premium on virtual desktops. His machines have between 8 and 16GB RAM, which again is a premium on virtual desktops. Some of his machines require SSD’s, which again is a premium on virtual desktops.
The reseller trying to offer the virtual desktop service has no idea about my customers business. They have no idea about the work that they do. They have no idea about the software they use, the size of the files, the amount of daily changing data, or the hardware requirements. They just wanted to sell single core virtual desktops with 2GB of shared RAM and 60GB of disk space for £25 a month x 40.
Having a look at Microsoft Azure virtual desktops, it would cost in the region of £200 per machine per month to get the right specification machines. This is not even close to economically viable when we pay around £1000 per machine. 3 years of virtual would be £7200, 3 years of physical would be around £1150 including support. Multiply that by 30 and you’ve got some idea of costs for a system which would be no better than he already has (it would be a lot less flexible though…)
So resellers, do they offer value?
Yes and no.
If the reseller uses the product, and supports the product, there are some fantastic systems which can enhance your business with only a single point to call for support, sales or advice. We offer Office365, we are a Microsoft Partner, we setup the system, we migrate your data and we support you going forward. There is no interaction between our clients and Microsoft, that’s what we’re for.
If the reseller is selling something that makes them a commission, they don’t use it, they don’t know how to use it, they are the sales contact but don’t provide support or advice, stay well clear. You’d be better going direct to the supplier rather than a middleman with nothing but commission on their mind.