It seems like everywhere anyone turns these days IT is getting more complex to manage. The question that begs then is whether there will soon be some sort of backlash against IT products that are overly complex. And if so, is this a trend that solution providers could capitalize on.
Certainly part of the interest in all things cloud and the consumerization of IT has been a revolt among end users that are fed up with the inflexibility of IT. But it’s not like the internal IT organization doesn’t want to make end users happy; it’s just the complexity of managing the overall IT environment makes it difficult to respond adroitly to end user needs.
Against that backdrop there is a class of products that are much easier to manage than the offerings provided by the market share leaders in almost every category. Case in point is Kerio, a provider of a messaging and collaboration software platform that is a lot simpler to manage than better known alternatives such as Microsoft Exchange. Most recently, Kerio delivered version 7.4 of Kerio Connect, which adds support for the Apple iPad as a device through which administrators can remotely manage the Kerio environment.
Obviously, that has great appeal to any IT person that wants to use one of the hippest devices available today to deal with administrative issues either in the office or from the comfort of their living room.
According to James Gudeli, vice president of business development at Kerio Technologies, that simplicity story is starting to resonate with more customers, which in turn creates an opportunity for solution providers that are interested in changing the status quo.
Obviously, selling a messaging and collaboration platform against Microsoft in a “green field” account or to a smaller organization is a lot easier than trying to replace something like Microsoft Exchange in an enterprise account. But even in those accounts Gudeli says the desire to spend less time on maintenance work in favor of providing more value to the business is creating a climate where organizations are more willing to listen to alternative approaches. That approach, says Gudeli, has already resonated with 50,000 customers that are served by over 6,000 partners.
Given how short-handed most organizations these days are when it comes to IT personnel, throwing time and effort is no longer an acceptable approach to solving IT problems. Just about anything can be made to work, but when the amount of time needed to make something work increase the total cost of ownership of the IT environment skyrockets. Most organizations don’t do a particularly good job of measuring those costs, but intuitively they know that certain products and technologies don’t make the best use of their time. In addition, finding the people with the skills needed to manage those environments can be an expensive challenge for both the customer and solution provider alike.
What all this means is that simplicity has become a major selling point. Organizations don’t necessarily want to compromise functionality to achieve it. But the solution provider that puts together a portfolio of products that are simple to manage is going to be talking about an issue that has become a lot nearer and dearer to the hearts of customers everywhere.