Skip to main content

Solicitations for Cloud Computing Need to Reflect Cloud Reality


For several years the information technology industry has been migrating from traditional on premises deployment of software in the data center to cloud computing hosted by industry leaders such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.  Solicitations for new software often fail to reflect the reality of cloud computing.

Here are some of the ways that solicitations (also called tenders and requests for proposals) miss the mark:

  1. Asking for hardware requirements.  Cloud solutions do not require server hardware, but often the solicitation includes hardware questions and specifications. 
  2. Unrealistic availability goals. Availability of servers is usually stated in terms of the percentage of uptime. Some solicitations call for 99.999% uptime.  This amounts to a bit over 5 minutes downtime in a year.  The total availability of a system is calculated as the product of all the availability service level agreements (SLAs) of its constituent elements.  AWS and Microsoft offer different SLAs for their services, the most common of which are 99.95% uptime.  If your solution relies on three such services which are dependent on one another, the total uptime SLA would be 99.95 x 99.95 x 99.95 or 99.85%.  A higher availability may be achieved through additional levels of redundancy and failover, but at a significant cost that is not warranted for the majority of business systems. 
  3. Unrealistic performance goals. Some solicitations call for performance goals such as no function requiring more than x second to execute.  These are often overly broad and difficult to test or implement.  Some functions inherently require more time than a few seconds, such as reporting, integrations, and data exports.
  4. Traditional pricing models. One of the ways that cloud computing can save an organization money is that you are billed based on actual utilization of computing resources such as processing, network, and storage.  Your bill will be different from one month to the next depending on the actual load.  It may not be possible to predict the billing accurately, especially for a new system or one for which historical usage has not been tracked.  Similarly, cloud software is usually billed based on monthly subscriptions rather than perpetual licensing models.  
  5. Security procedures. Cloud providers are the world's leaders in security, and invest far more in protecting their assets than any of their customers.  While AWS and Microsoft meet and exceed industry certifications, some solicitations call for outdated processes which customers may be using for their data centers, or ask questions which only make sense for data center deployments. 
If your organization wants cloud computing, or is open to cloud or on premises solutions, you must adopt the language and approach of the cloud in your solicitations.  Performance and pricing goals should be flexible and open enough to allow a cloud bid.  Otherwise it will be difficult to evaluate proposals and you may end stuck with your status quo solution and architecture. 

Popular posts from this blog

Power Apps Portal: The Successor to Microsoft Dynamics Portal

In case you have been reviewing Microsoft's new pricing for its Dynamics products which was released this month and have been unable to find Dynamics Portal, it has been rebranded as PowerApps Portal and shifted to the PowerApps side of the Microsoft product family.

Rebranding the portal product underscores the importance of app scenarios involving external users such as customers and suppliers.  It also provides a simpler interface than Dynamics 365 for occasional users.

The new portal pricing is based on the number of unique users who log into the portal each month (for authenticated users) and on the number of page views for anonymous users.  "A login provides an external authenticated user access to a single portal for up to 24 hours. Multiple logins during the 24-hour period count as 1 billable login. Internal users can be licensed either by the PowerApps per app or per users plans, or a qualifying Dynamics 365 subscription."

Pricing starts at $200/mo. for 100 dail…

5 Best Things about the Unified Interface for Microsoft Dynamics 365

The latest version of Microsoft Dynamics 365 moves most of the core functionality of sales and customer service to a new user interface - The Unified Interface client.  This user interface is not completely new as it was gradually introduced for the Hub features such as the Customer Service Hub in recent versions of the product.

The new interface is quite different from the previous interface which was used from Dynamics CRM 2013 to 2018 with a few incremental changes. 

This is the Unified Interface, using a form from InfoStrat's Grants Manager Plus Solution.

Here is the same record shown in the previous interface which Microsoft calls Classic.

Here are the top 5 features that I like best about the Unified Interface:

Better menus and navigation. The sitemap on the left is more helpful than the classic menus for larger, more complex solution. Lefthand menu shortcuts are a great use of space and help users access the most popular areas. Better subgrids.  Subgrids are important for en…

ScreenMeet Remote Support Tool for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

I met Lou Guercia when he was president and CEO of Scribe Software, the leading CRM integration tool.  Scribe was acquired by TIBCO Software in 2018.  I recently reconnected with Lou and learned about ScreenMeet, the company he joined as chief operating officer.   The following is a description of the product provided by ScreenMeet:

ScreenMeet is a cloud-based remote support tool designed to integrate with Dynamics 365 Customer Service. By enabling customer service and IT support organizations to address critical technical issues directly from their CRM or ticketing platform, it streamlines the process and provides a fully browser-based support experience.

You can also use ScreenMeet with other CRM products or even on its own without a CRM.

Here is a short video demo of ScreenMeet with Dynamics integration:

ScreenMeet - Cloud-based Remote Support Integrated with Dynamics 365 Customer Support Once integrated with a Dynamics 365 CS organization, the ScreenMeet widget appears on Case pa…