The right technologies

By Channel Insider Staff  |  Print this article Print

Return-on-investment calculations may have been more about marketing than substance in the past, but increasingly customers want solution providers to produce provable numbers.

The value of some technologies is easier to prove than others. Once a solution provider develops a clear working definition of ROI, the next step is choosing the right areas of the customer’s infrastructure to target. Virtualization, both for storage and servers, is one area that many solution providers focus on, since the returns are readily identified and customers understand the savings.

For example, one new blade system typically replaces seven to 10 legacy servers, Hayes said. A company with 100 servers can reasonably reduce TCO by 25 percent, with ROI in 18 months. "There’s no smoke and mirrors," Lilien’s Osborn said. "In our space today, average utilization of servers is 3 to 10 percent max, and so these customers can get rid of 90 servers out of a hundred to get a more elegant and efficient infrastructure."

Other technologies, such as unified communications, can provide additional savings and quick returns. By moving toward a unified communications platform, companies can consolidate several budgets, including messaging, telecommunications and collaboration, under a single initiative; lower costs by as much as 20 percent or more; improve overall service levels; and move some operational costs to capital expenses, said Peter Cowie, CEO at solution provider CBE Technologies.

"We show customers that we can lower their cost of operation month by month with management and automation," Cowie said.

The right security solution, meanwhile, can automate tasks and save the cost of having someone manually monitor the network, said Sue May, director of business development at solution provider Heartland Business Systems.


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