Given the nascent nature of the cloud migration movement, I often wind up digging around on cloud service provider sites to figure out what companies I should feature. Onix Networking caught my eye for two reasons: not only was it Google's Enterprise Partner of the Year for 2012, it has some serious longevity behind it as far as cloud integrators go.
The company has been around since 1992, and has had a partnership with Google since 2002, when the company was trying to get VARs to sell its search appliance solution. It's actually Google's longest standing enterprise partner (it currently is designated a Google Premier Enterprise Reseller).
Add to that list the fact that Onix, based in Lakewood, Ohio, was the first Google partner to get itself onto the General Services Administration (GSA) purchasing schedule. More recently, the company was one of several partners to receive Google's elite new Customer Success Services designation. The designation enables Onix and the others to provide a far deeper level of proactive support than other Google partners.
"We have been doing this kind of thing for years, so we are excited about the rollout of this program," said Tony Bianco, president of Onix’s Cloud Computing Division. "Customers want and need this because it ensures a deeper level of success."
Even though Onix is a technically a small business, some of its clients are anything but. Last year, the company won a $35 million contract with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The initial migration took about four months, and involved moving the agency to 90,000 Google mailboxes from seven different on-premise systems. There's quite a backstory to this particular deal. The contract was originally awarded to Microsoft and Softchoice for much more money, but was appealed and moved over to Google and Onix last year.
A more recent win: a 12,000-user deal for Canadian Broadcasting Company (officially CBC/Radio-Canada). Onix handled the 90-day switchover from separate on-premises email/calendar and collaboration applications to Google's integrated platform, according to a blog post written by CBC's senior enterprise Architect, Martin Thibault.
As its name suggests, Onix got its start as a networking VAR. While its initial customer entry point in the past involved providing search capabilities, now messaging and collaboration are typically the first solutions that Onix handles for its customers today. "Customers may start with a small set, but they will grow into more, usually within six to 18 months," he said. More recently, businesses are starting with the Google Compute Engine and then adding cloud applications.
In addition, Onix is busy building out its practice related to the Google geospatial solution set. These capabilities are particularly interesting to the cloud integrator's government clients, which are developing zoning and mapping applications or services. An example? How about a better-documented municipal safety plan that provides emergency services personnel with up-to-date information about routes in and out of certain areas. The retail industry, which represents another one of Onix's bigger verticals, is looking at geospatial technologies to help with store maps and floors plans, both for internal merchandising applications as well as for better customer service, Bianco said.
Given the ongoing debate about whether moving to the cloud is really safe and reliable, I asked Bianco what makes companies say "No" to a cloud solution. "One of the biggest things is fear of change and disrupting what people are used to," Bianco said. "Even in some cases, we see where Google has offered a better price or solution, people are just scared that their end users will have trouble adopting it."
And what makes them say "Yes"?
Bianco said: "One area that they used to start was the cost savings. Over time, this has changed. Now, that is important, but not as much. Now, people look at this primarily from a productivity standpoint. They love how the cloud can help with innovation and ideation."