We Give Up…

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April 17, 2019
General Information
Terry Price - terry@terrylprice.com

“The true mark of a leader is the willingness to stick with a bold course of action — an unconventional business strategy, a unique product development roadmap, a controversial marketing campaign — even as the rest of the world wonders why you’re not marching in step with the status quo.” (Bill Taylor, from the article “Do You Pass the Leadership Test?”)

What Is a Cloud-based Solution?  
IT professionals in our industry attempted to define a cloud-based solution as a multitenancy solution that multiple customers accessed using a web browser – a Google Mail-type of solution.  You opened a URL in a browser, logged in and you were operating.  Our friends in the vendor space created ‘unique product development roadmap, a controversial marketing campaigns’ that redefined that understanding.  It is the ‘integrated’ versus ‘interfaced’ discussion again.
 
Request for proposal (RFP) submissions today ask the same question: 
Do you offer a cloud-based solution?
The response to that is almost always, yes.  What that really means is the vendor offers the ability to store your data offsite.  The new definition of cloud-based is offsite. This does not give us very good information.  Offsite can mean anything from a server in the closet of the vendor to Amazon Web Services (AWS) and anything in between.  That's a pretty broad definition, don’t you think? 
Just as we lost the argument of the definition of “integrated,” we need to “give up” and accept what the vendors call cloud-based. 
 
If the question does not give us good information, then we need to quit asking.  Instead, I plan to break the question into two separate questions.
 
Question 1
What server configurations do you offer?
 
Options are:
  • On-premise:  A server resides within the client’s data center either at the hotel site or corporate hosting. The hosting could be on a public infrastructure-as-a-service (IAAS) facility, but since it is owned and controlled by the client, it is considered on-premise.


  • Vendor Hosted: A server resides in a data center owned and controlled by the vendor.  This is a dedicated server (real or virtual) to run the software and data for the client.  The vendor has both administration and physical control of the server.


  • Vendor Hosted/Multitenant:  A server resided in a data center owned and controlled by the vendor.  This is a shared server used by several clients.  All clients use the same version of software but maintain different data sets. The vendor has both administration and physical control of the server.


  • Public Hosted:  A server resides on a public IAAS service such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, etc.  This is a dedicated server to run the software and data for the client.  The vendor would have administrative, but not physical control of the server.


  • Public Hosted Multitenant:  A server resides on a public IAAS service such as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Rackspace, etc.  This is a shared server used by several clients.  All clients use the same version of software but maintain different data sets. The vendor would have administration but not physical control of the server.
 
Question 2
What client do you offer?
 
Options are:
  • Fat Client:  A vendor-provided software is installed on each client that runs the software and communicates directly with the data.

  • Thin Client:  Software is stored and operated at a server level (on-premise or hosted) and accessed by the client through either a small vendor-provided software installation or a remote access solution such as Windows Remote Desktop or VMware workstation.


  • Browser-based:  No software installation is necessary.  This system uses a standard browser such as Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari. Enter a URL, username and password and you are operating your solution.  The solution is completely managed and operated through browser pages.  NOTE:  If after you enter the URL the solution then opens a remote session to operate, it is NOT considered browser-based.  It should be considered thin client.
 
Hopefully, this will clear up the question.  At least until another smart marketing person figures out a way to spin this.  I get dizzy from all the spins, don’t you?  Having worked for a software vendor, I understand the fear of answering ‘no’ to a question on an RFP.  When I review RFPs, a vendor that answers ‘no’ to some questions piques my interest more than the vendor that answers ‘yes’ to everything.  They admit they do not do everything, which we already know.  That tells me that we may be able to establish a trusting partnership with that vendor.  At the end of the day, that is the most important part of the selection process. No more cloud questions.  Everyone is in the cloud, we get it.  Let’s try these questions and see where they take us.

©2019 Hospitality Upgrade 
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