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ACN spoke to Michael Molson, chief technology officer for managed services provider MEEZA during the recent cloud computing summit to discuss the firm’s plans for the regional market.

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Cloud cover MOLSON: Don’t outsource your core competency – look at non-mission-critical applications instead.
By  Imthishan Giado Published  December 20, 2009 Arabian Computer News Logo

MEEZA has completed its first year of operations, what’s next?

When we launched the company about a year ago on November 28, 2008, we made a very clear commitment to the marketplace on our aspirations to bring cloud services to this region.

As we’ve started to build the organisation, we’ve built the underpinning infrastructure, brought our first datacentre online, we’ve made all the foundational technology decisions. Our next evolution is to start bringing cloud services to market. We are just about to launch our first foray into e-mail communications and collaboration as software-as-a-service.

A number of other providers have launched similar services, including most recently Google-backed Postini. What differentiates MEEZA?

We are a regional provider for regional clients. This concept of the global cloud doesn’t play into our strategy. We believe in keeping our data local, we believe in presenting a low-latency, high performance service to our customers. We want to support Arabisation and presenting this information business process data – whatever you call it – in a consumable format. Our position is that you’re not going to get that from global providers.

We’ve had some interesting feedback from customers. They’ve looked at Salesforce.com, they’ve looked at a few of this other tools and their biggest concern? It’s the Patriot Act. So if I’m hosting my data in the United States, what’s the impact of the Patriot Act on the government’s access to my information? It’s an obvious concern. So if you add those three things together, that’s where we differentiate ourselves. We’ve providing a regional experience to a regional consumer.

Do enterprises ask you to provide traditional outsourced services such as manpower?

We’re very clear in the message that we take to our clients. We don’t view ourselves as an outsourcer in the traditional sense, moving people, process or systems and taking on accountability for delivering IT. Ours is a services play – so it’s managing those IT services on behalf of our customers.

We firmly believe in an integrated delivery model. We recognise that customers are going to have a built expertise at present. Our primary recommendation to them? Outsourcing that is a high risk. Don’t outsource your core competency. If yours is supply chain management for a construction company, you’re going to know that better than anyone else. However, there are non-mission-critical applications that wrap around those – that’s where MEEZA is well positioned. We can then provide those services back into your IT strategy.

Is managed services better suited to smaller organisations rather than large enterprises?

I firmly believe that. CIOs have made technology and people investments so that doing a clean break, where you move from self-delivered IT to a managed service, is not very healthy when we look at the TCO/ROI of that investment we’ve previously made.

What we encourage customers to do is look at your infrastructure in layers and look at it from time of investment to end-of-life. There’s opportunities where you can take components out of your infrastructure and move them to managed services. If you focus on that integration layer between them, you can realise the benefit of managed services. It’s little tiny steps to get there and identifying what the high-impact areas. Again, don’t outsource your core competency, but start to adopt managed services in a piecemeal approach.

 

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