Cumulus benefits from cloudy outlook

The SMB integrator began deploying Google Apps for Business on a pilot basis in 2008, with a particular focus on local government and education accounts.

Back in 2008, when Cumulus Global began piloting cloud services among its clients, there was often a price penalty paid by smaller organizations considering this route for their IT infrastructure.

And that is what initially attracted the Westborough, Mass. integrator to become a pilot reseller for Google Apps for Business: it figured there must be a better way, and it wasn't willing to wait around for traditional software vendors to chang their licensing policies.

"We temper our evangelical zeal with a large dose of pragmatism," said Cumulus Global CEO Allen Falcon, during a recent telephone conversation.

Now a Premier level Google partner focused on small and midsize accounts, the company is finding a fast following among organizations seeking better support for increasingly remote and mobile workforces, he said. Over the past year, its revenue has more than doubled to about $3 million, with much of that business coming from cities, towns and other local governments.

Whereas five years ago, Cumulus Global clients focused mainly on the cost-saving implications of moving certain IT infrastructure off-premise, now the focus is on changing work processes, Falcon said.

While government is a big part of that growth, the company also works with small businesses that support many distributed workers or contract personnel, such as a New York movie and video production company that relies heavily on freelance talent. About one-third of its customers hail from New England, but true to the nature of the cloud, the rest come from other areas of the United States.

"The number one thing they care about now, by far, is better collaboration and better access," Falcon said.

With that in mind, Cumulus Global is launching a managed file service that integrates tightly with the Google Apps framework and that allows organizations to reduce their dependence on physical file servers, if they desire. "The storage is in Google Drive or another cloud storage platform," he said. "But it can look like a network drive."

Here's more information on Cumulus Global's CloudReady Assessment process, as well as its FasTrack for Google Apps migration service, which pledges to get SMBs from the "ground to cloud" in five weeks or less. 



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