Chris Pyle, CEO of Champion Solutions Group, spent a bit of time talking about the needs of mid market companies and how cloud computing could be a useful approach to facing their IT requirements while holding the line on spending. The survey data that I've seen on cloud computing adoption and the experiences of Champion Solutions in the market seem to align very nicely. I guess that either means we're both seeing the same things or, we're both way off base. I guess only time will tell.
Although I don't have the space to present the topics we discussed point by point, I can offer a summary.
- Small to medium sized organizations as well as local and state (or region) governments are facing serious budgetary challenges. They'd really like to have all of the IT tools that bigger organizations use because they face the same conditions, but they have neither the desire nor the budget to maintain a datacenter or an IT organization made up of developers, administrators, help desk personnel and the like. Outsourcing some or, perhaps, all of these functions could make a great deal of sense.
- Being able to scale IT infrastructure up and down to meet current usage levels makes more sense than acquiring systems based upon the largest perceived need only to have that equipment sit around largely idle the rest of the time.
- Some of these organizations, however, are moving rapidly to cloud-based solutions without understanding the terms and conditions of the supplier, whether the supplier has the needed tools and expertise to help or a deep understanding of how cloud-based solutions can or can not be used in regulated environments.
- A well planned, well implemented implementation could certainly serve their needs for quite some time into the future. A badly planned implementation, however, can hurt them for the same amount of time.
All in all, I was impressed with Mr. Pyle's understanding of the environment, of technology and his vision of the future. He's directed his company to focus on key areas (virtualization, data management, business continuity, maintenance consulting and managed services) without trying to be everything to everyone everywhere.
Champion Solutions Group faces a great deal of competition, however, that is targeting the same potential customers and that means that Champion has to really focus on making its solutions easier to use, more cost efficient and more functional than those offered by other suppliers. After speaking with the good Mr. Pyle, I have no doubt that they're up to the task.