Green consulting company entrusts IT needs to cloud

Summary:By using an outsourced hosting platform to deliver its energy management services, Phoenix Energy is able to serve much larger clients. But it wouldn't dream of doing this without an MSP to help.

The growing corporate interest in energy efficiency over the past decade inspired the creation of Phoenix Energy Technologies, a small business from Irvine, Calif., with national aspirations.

Established in 2004, the company manages more than $2 billion in annual energy spending for much larger Fortune 500 companies, many of them from the retail sector. Phoenix does this through an application that is offered as a service for customers, rather than installed as an on-premise application. Its primary service, called EnterpriseDX, collects information from building control systems and feeds it back into a central management dashboard where businesses can visualize the impact of reducing or increase power consumption at different sites. The application can also be used by companies that are integrating renewable energy technologies into their energy mix.

Rather than try to manage the EnterpriseDX and Power Command applications on its own, it turned to the Amazon cloud for infrastructure as a service capacity and tapped a managed service provider (MSP), AdageIT, to help make sure that its SaaS offering and its internal network are running smoothly.

Keith Gipson, chief technology officer for Phoenix Energy, said the decision to entrust his company's SaaS platform to the cloud was one of necessity. For one thing, the cloud infrastructure helps Phoenix Energy ensure it can scale to accommodate the data and information being collected from its clients' multiple branch and facilities locations. It also Phoenix Energy to provision the service for new clients very quickly, typically bringing new accounts online in 12 weeks or less. By using a cloud subscription model, Phoenix Energy was also able to pitch its service as part of an ongoing maintenance relationship rather than as a capital expense.

Given the strategic nature of the Phoenix Energy application, however, there is little tolerance for downtime, and that is where AdageIT steps in, with the GFI MAX Remote Management platform. AdageIT supports Phoenix Energy by monitoring the infrastructure and reporting on service levels. It can also predict when there might be an issue, for example, with storage infrastructure or databases, that could potentially result in a disruption.

The key takeaway, one that I have been sounding often in this column, is that there are many advantages to turning your small company's IT infrastructure in an operational expense by hosting pieces of it on cloud platforms. But if your team doesn't have the resources to ensure that the systems are up and running around the clock, you should probably consider a managed service relationship in tandem with any cloud projects.

Topics: Emerging Tech, SMBs

About

Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

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