This article originally appeared in the August 2010 issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY
The buzz is all about the cloud.
Cloud communications. Cloud computing. Virtualization.
For the Bell-head, this is outside normal telecom. Right? Telecom doesn't touch servers, switches, SANs.
Cloud computing is a step removed from collocation. Whereby collocation is about space, power and connectivity, cloud computing is about servers, storage, real-time applications, data integrity, technical skills and management. It's the outsourcing of applications from your IT department. What is Google (News - Alert) Apps and hosted e-mail but cloud computing?
The players in the cloud space are not telcos surprisingly. Google, Amazon and Microsoft lead this field. These companies have mass computing infrastructure that has proven to be resilient. It was a smart move by Jeff Bezos to leverage Amazon's computing power for different streams of revenue. And that's what the traditional telecom agent has to do: start thinking about varying streams of income.
There's talk of the PSTN going away. A countdown clock on T1 sales. Where is the your revenue going to come from?
Hosted PBX (News - Alert) and conferencing are ways that voice is sold as an application now. What is the cloud anyway but an application that resides in a data center with high availability and access from many points? As we have seen with the iPhone and Android (News - Alert), people will buy and use apps. It just has to be easy for them to download, install and use them. The cloud makes it easier for smaller organizations to leverage apps affordably.
Customers will expect the agent to provide much more than quotes. The agent will be required to explain the advantages of one cloud provider over another. Security, redundancy, expertise, compliance and certifications will be one indicator. The big factor will be if the cloud provider is a good fit for the customer’s overall needs. As the trusted advisor, it will be your job to determine that – or at least provide the appropriate information so that the prospect can make an informed decision.
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Edited by Stefania Viscusi