Recently, the CIO of ThrottleNet, Marc Arbesman, was interviewed by Virtual Strategy Magazine:
VSM: What is the current state of IT in the workplace?
Marc Arbesman: The workplace is in a state of change with the recent emergence of cloud computing. We are seeing services such as email and backups moving into cloud services. It has become cheaper for companies to scale up their IT needs with services like Exchange hosted in the cloud. This move has reduced the cost and need to have on-site hardware and software, as well as the on-site expertise to maintain these services.
Also we are seeing the reduction for full featured personal computers. Employees are now bringing their own personal tablets and mobile devices to work. Companies have shifted systems from conventional client server software to the web and are even using specialized apps for mobile platforms. This has allowed for a smaller, less powerful devices to access company information and tools. I think this shift will continue and software and hardware manufacturers are responding to this change.
VSM: What are companies doing to control costs?
Marc Arbesman: There are now more options than ever for companies to reduce their IT budget. As with conventional computing trends, hardware continues to become less expensive. Also, the cloud has provided an opportunity to reduce the amount of servers a company must purchase for their IT needs. Virtualization of hardware has become cost competitive.
Companies are also seeing the benefit of working with Managed Service providers instead of hiring in-house IT staff. While the need for in-house staff may still be appropriate for some organizations, depending on their size, having point of contact support all the way to the CIO, handled by an entire team, can also significantly reduce IT costs. For the cost of one employee with benefits, companies can enlist the help of an entire team of technicians, IT managers, and developers to not only maintain their infrastructure but also to improve it.
VSM: You hear a lot about Managed Network services but what does that really involve?
Marc Arbesman: Managed Service Providers (MSPs) provide all the knowhow and access to cutting edge technologies so companies can focus on their core services and product offerings. The possibilities of what IT can do for an organization has become so prolific, that maintaining expertise in the competitive advantages of new technologies is a full time job. A distribution or logistics company can benefit better from improving their ability to deliver their services to customers instead of getting lost in the technical aspect of it. IT is part of this strategy, but it is complex and ever changing. Companies need a partner that can guide them to what makes the most sense from a technology standpoint.
A company’s IT services should provide a means for its employees to grow the company. But often companies are fighting to keep their IT infrastructure current and serviceable. An MSP can remove this burden by employing things such as a help desk for support, monitoring for pro-active maintenance on IT systems, as well as the traditional break-fix work that comes with owning an IT infrastructure.
VSM: What happens if your network goes down and there is no staff person aboard to quickly fix the problem?
Marc Arbesman: If a company does not have a full-time, dedicated staff member to contact during a severe outage, they are often left to try and troubleshoot it themselves. Sometimes, they will have an employee they trust that “knows computers” attempt to fix their network. But when loses are occurring due to an outage, it makes more sense to ensure you have access to the expertise that can quickly resolve the problem.
VSM: You hear the term Virtual CIO, what is their role and how they do interact with the client?
Marc Arbesman: A Virtual CIO (VCIO) provides a company with the executive level information and the decision making process to strategize about their IT services and infrastructure from a high level. The VCIO is constantly talking with the network engineers and reviewing the current hardware and software the company uses. With this information on hand, they can present several tailored strategies to help reduce IT costs, and stay competitive from a technology standpoint. It is their job to present an IT strategy that best benefits the company in understandable terms.
VSM: Microsoft has launched Windows 8 and Office 13, how do you envision those products impacting the workplace?
Marc Arbesman: Windows 8 signifies a large step towards touch interfaces. The trend to smaller devices that are brought into an organization by its employees poses a concern in security and compatibility. Windows 8 provides a tablet interface that can more easily live in a business’ existing Microsoft network. While employees want touch and the ease of use of tablets, network managers need to ensure they can still control these devices the same way they do all other machines on the corporate network. Windows 8 provides a platform that can service both these needs. The clean, modern UI has been fully integrated into the new version of Office as well.
Aesthetically, Office 13 matches the tile based interfaces we see in Windows 8. Having the rich Office experience on a tablet is important to employees to get their work done. Having the tools available in a familiar look and feel on tablets is part of Microsoft’s effectiveness in delivering software. Microsoft has always excelled at providing a consistent user interface to its Office applications and Office 13 continues that cornerstone of their design.
VSM: Do companies need a complete mobile solution now that tablets, iPhones, etc., are used for business purposes?
Marc Arbesman: Companies need to look at these devices and see how they can leverage their benefits. The need for these platforms varies from organization to organization. The ability of having sales data on your smartphone, may not make sense for a company with reps that never leave the office. While having the newest and hottest smartphone or tablet provides an allure for purchasing these devices, I urge companies to determine how these new platforms can provide value to their current operations.
VSM: What role does the cloud play currently in the business world and do you see the use of cloud related technologies on the rise?
Marc Arbesman: The greatest use of the cloud right now is for email and backups. But I see a trend towards cloud platforms for data processing. Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s EC2 and S3 solutions are not just providing virtual servers, but more of a cloud platform. If you are considering building a custom piece of software, you may want to consider building it in a cloud platform. The initial startup costs are much lower and some of their components can provide faster development time.
While conventional software still requires on-site hardware, I see a trend toward Software as a Service (SaaS) becoming more common. It’s providing a lower barrier to entry for implementation as well as more flexibility for sharing information across platforms developed on different technologies.
See the original published article: http://www.virtual-strategy.com/2013/06/11/interview-marc-arbesman-cio-throttlenet-inc?page=0,0#ixzz2WfiKHY2S