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September 28, 2012

The Value of Managed Services

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Business and technology continue to go hand-in-hand as the opportunities in the former tend to be the result of advancements in the latter. Finding that right balance, however, can be a challenge for any business. Just because new innovations may create efficiencies in the corporate environment doesn’t mean the budget will allow for the change.

In today’s economy, decision makers are looking at more than just the promised perks.

To help in the process, innovators, analysts and industry leaders are coming together next week for TMC’s (News - Alert) ITEXPO Austin in Austin, Texas. In preparation for the event, TMC recently spoke with Chad Kissinger, founder of OnRamp Access, to get his take on the current market and forward-looking opportunities.

Buying power among the business sector is an important consideration as the economy continues to shift. The federal government tried to provide a boost in the way of small business tax breaks, resulting in economic stimulation as small businesses went ahead with planned expansions and expenditures this past year. Kissinger believes this was the most important trend of the year, but argues that the smartest thing companies can do to prepare for the future in terms of technology is to appropriately outsource IT operations.

Outsourcing has not always been a favored approach in the U.S., especially if that activity takes jobs offshore. In this case, however, Kissinger is referring to those providers with the resources and experience necessary to accommodate for what he refers to as “suitable levels of confidentiality, availability and integrity.”

Such levels are often found in hosted services providers who are leveraging the cloud and extending new capabilities to the small business.

New capabilities released in the market are often protected in the U.S. patent system. Often referred to as the little guy in the market, the small business may be most likely to feel the impact of the latest patent lawsuits. The Apple-Samsung (News - Alert) verdict turned a number of heads, especially among consumers. It’s not often that a patent dispute includes technology that consumers are readily familiar with and can readily relate.

In the technology market, the ramifications may be readily felt by cell phone providers, according to Kissinger, but it also sets the stage an uphill battle for smaller companies wanting to protect their innovations. Those without the power or resources of an Apple (News - Alert) or a Samsung may find it more difficult to defend their position in the market.

This challenge, however, is not what concerns Kissinger most when it comes to the value of the U.S. patent system. He made some valid points when he highlighted that the current system allows companies to patent things that are considered the next logical step. “For instance, Amazon patented the 1-click purchase,” he says. “This, I believe, would be the most convenient practice to be implemented widely across all e-commerce platforms. However, because of this patent, smaller sites are barred from including this reasonable, helpful practice in the functionality of their site.”

Ease in functionality is a critical point for those companies wanting to leverage video as a powerful communications tool. It is serving as a valuable asset for those companies needing face time with partners and clients without extensive travel expenses. It is also allowing for increased collaboration for displaced professionals. And, while users continue to perfect their talents for using online slide viewing to communicate ideas, Kissinger isn’t sure video alone will actually replace the staples of current business communication practices.

It does have the opportunity to place a larger role in the upcoming presidential election, along with other technological advancements, such as social media. The impact of a friend or acquaintance’s personal opinion is significant – the louder the party advocates on these channels, the more traction they are likely to have. And, as consumers increasingly carry their social media channels with them on a smartphone, use will only increase.

For Kissinger, that smartphone use will likely be with the iPhone (News - Alert) 5. This is the one technology item he truly wants, especially with the Google map from the iPhone 4s. When prompted to explain his anticipation, he simply responded, “If you’re up on the current news, you’ll know why.” If mobile wallet capabilities on the smartphone become available in the near future, expect to see Kissinger ready to embrace it.

Like so many other mobile consumers, he’s anticipating the ease of use.

For the upcoming ITEXPO (News - Alert) event, Kissinger will share information about OnRamp Access’ managed hosting, cloud and disaster recovery services. Attendees can visit booth #826 to learn more, as well as try their luck at winning a number of exciting prizes, like a Nintendo Wii, PSP or an Amazon Kindle.

Kissinger is certainly looking forward to the event, excited to be seeing friends in the high-tech community that he has made over the years.

To sum up his conversation with TMC, he offered a fun bold prediction about the future of tech: “Within 50 years, civilian travel to the moon or nearby planets will be possible on a commercial basis.”

Let’s hope we live long enough to see this one come true. 

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Austin 2012, taking place Oct. 2-5, in Austin, TX. Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO. Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Braden Becker
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