In difficult and pressurized economic times, you must hurry to respond to revenue and spend misalignments. CIOs are often considering several IT cost optimization initiatives, but not all yield the same benefits.
In this paper, we are discussing a cost optimization approach based on user roles, user segmentation, and the effective management of user transitions across the usage lifecycle, for workplace productivity tools such as Office 365, G Suite, Lotus Verve, and the like.
And how this approach can save you up to 50%.
If you are considering or are already using a cloud workplace productivity solution, review the following questions:
Do ALL your users consume ALL the capabilities of the workplace productivity solution?
E.g., does everybody in your organization need multi-media collaboration, or high storage capacity, or costly document management tools.?
Are you paying upfront for features, which you use sparingly or never use?
E.g., Storage, where a few heavy users create a skew in the consumption pattern. In comparison to most users who may take years to consume a similar amount. Therefore, is it wise to purchase and allocate equal amounts of Storage amongst all users?
How many of your users are in roles that simply need reliable communication capabilities to be productive at work?
E.g., in several mid-sized to large organizations, a large section of the workforce and contract workers are in operating positions running routine processes just needing a reliable communication platform to handle exceptions and share information.
One size does not fit all
We often ask our customers to go beyond these three questions and map out the requirement of different user groups against the roles they are fulfilling.
Hence, here is a cheat sheet to help you do this easily:
(To innovate further on this, you could look at users in development roles, creative roles, operating roles, advisory roles, to understand further their need for capability in the workplace productivity tools)
Capabilities in Workplace Productivity solutions
30/50/100 GB stores
Reduce Application footprint for cost optimization
With SaaS, it is easy for your users to consume different software solutions to map the requirement of different user segments.
Hence, seek out opportunities to eliminate/reduce application footprint. Here are some ideas:
- Identify applications and services with limited use and high cost per transaction or user seat and cancel their subscription.
- Reduce spend on licenses by conducting an audit on licenses and reclaiming unused licenses. Cancel excess, duplicate, or unused licenses.
- Use the information from the exercise on identifying waste and segment your user base into two broad categories, viz.
- One set of users who need to be on your current workplace productivity platform given their roles and needs.
- And the second set of users whose roles and needs are met by another more cost-effective platform.
Benefit from a Hybrid solution
Traditionally, a popular procurement model involved engaging with a limited set of vendors for solutions and procurement.
This limited engagement was essential to reduce the “complexity” of dealing with multiple vendors and the challenge of integrating solutions from different OEMs.
However, businesses realize that one size does not fit all. CIOs are now looking for flexibility and are more open to adopting and integrating solutions from different vendors.
And, with SaaS, integration is more natural. The overhead of maintaining and managing multiple system set-ups and related hardware resources are not there.
Hence, there is more to be saved in moving to a hybrid system that maps your needs better rather than the gains from restricting your choice to a single vendor, as it were in the On-premise Enterprise Software world.
Types of hybrid solutions
Specifically, you can leverage three broad categories of hybrids:
- Multi-cloud: Choose the cloud platform as per the application’s specific needs. Run separate applications on different clouds to match the app’s workload-specific requirements to the cloud’s strength.
- Cloud-On-premise: While strategizing a partial or a total shift to cloud, your IT systems must straddle and integrate a hybrid deployment of applications between cloud and on-premise.
- Multi-App: : Segment your users across solutions to match the role and need of the user, gain from the strengths of each, and achieve cost optimization.
Hence hybrids are NOT just interim solutions to facilitate migration or cooling in periods. Instead, hybrids are here to stay as the preferred solution model, allowing you to use best-fit solutions for the problem at hand and still have an integrated feel of your business IT landscape.
With a hybrid solution, besides the significant savings in cost due to the reduced number of user seats/units on your primary workplace productivity platform, here are a few more benefits.
Other benefits of Hybrids
Reduced exposure to a single vendor lock-in
Data or vendor lock-in can be a significant challenge for most IT teams when they have to use services of one vendor across their landscape, and they can get stuck if they have to migrate, move or bring in another platform. But by deliberately choosing a hybrid or multi-cloud strategy, you are mitigating this vendor lock-in challenge to a large extent.
Improved Digital Dexterity
Choosing an open standards-based hybrid partner brings in value from the Open and free world, which gives your business an IT edge. You can choose from a wide variety of open and free tools for accessing your productivity applications and gain dexterity.
Evaluate vendors that provide alternate and complementing value propositions that help you meet your business objectives more completely.
Quantifying the cost optimization from Hybrids
By deploying hybrid solutions, you gain commercially from:
Reduce seats on your primary workplace productivity tool
This quantification assumes you can identify and procure a complementing solution or a more basic subscription at 25% of the cost of the full subscription you are currently paying.
If you can segment your users such that you can achieve a 50-50 split between your primary workplace productivity solution (like Office 365 or G Suite) and the complementing solution (like Mithi SkyConnect), you can save around 37%.
And, with a 30-70 split, you save nearly 48%.
Flexible payment models from the complementing solutions
Many SaaS solutions (like Mithi’s SkyConnect) offer pure consumption-based billing or a blend of fixed and consumption based on metered usage of resources and features .
This model is thus ensuring that you pay “only” when you consume a capability and “only” for the duration of use.
For typical workloads of most businesses, just this flexibility can result in a saving of nearly 30% over a fixed upfront billing model.
Reduced costs of client tools
If the complementing solution of your choice is based on open standards, you open yourself up to the wide variety of high quality, open standard-based tools, many of which are free.
The compatibility of the solution with a wide variety of free tools helps further reduce software licensing costs at endpoints.
Hybrids make a compelling case for cost optimization
Hybrid set-up for your digital workplace
In this paper, we are discussing a hybrid in the Multi-App category. Augment your Office 365 or G Suite with another cloud workplace productivity platform to seamlessly share the same SMTP address space (email domain name, the part after the @ in your email id).
A uniform email domain name for all users of your organization abstracts the internal working of your systems to make it transparent for all people engaging with you.
A well-configured hybrid topology supports seamless mail flow between the two systems and ensures that the entire directory of users is available for lookup. A centralized authentication system like MS ADS enables users to log in to the new system with the same password, and further improves the user experience.
How does a hybrid work
For the sake of understanding, let us consider a hybrid solution for the digital workplace. Here we illustrate how the dexterity of a digital workplace platform like Mithi SkyConnect combines with the specialized capabilities of a platform like Office 365 or G Suite to create a cost-effective solution that delivers on all the key parameters.
For the rest of this section, we discuss the working of a hybrid concerning Microsoft Office 365. A similar topology also works for G Suite.
- Office 365 or G Suite is set-up for the domain and configured for the users requiring specialized features of Office 365 or G Suite.
- Mithi’s SkyConnect cloud platform is also set-up for the same domain and configured with the other set of users. The users on Office 365 or G Suite are provisioned as users of a companion mailing system.
Learn more here.
Mail traffic from one Office 365 user to another Office 365 user is routed internally within Office 365. Same for a mail from one SkyConnect user to another. The mail from one system to the other and external users travel via secured internet connections.
Email Scrubbing for Virus, Spam, Malware
The virus and spam control engine, ClrStream, on the Mithi SkyConnect System scans all mail (inbound, outbound, and local) for viruses, spam, and malware.
The user of both Mithi SkyConnect and Office 365 can see the entire set of users on the domain. On Office 365, the entire set of users is added to the Global address list to make it accessible to the Office 365 users.
One option is to let the users on Office 365 and Mithi maintain their passwords in the respective directories and via the respective interfaces. The password policies and other security configurations apply from the separate systems, respectively.
The other option is to authenticate with the organization’s central Microsoft ADS system to integrate with the identities and credentials for a uniform and better user experience.
Email Data Management
Vaultastic, Mithi’s cloud data management service, archives emails from both Mithi SkyConnect and Office 365 to a shared cloud archive.
Related video explaining the working of the solution
Recap – How hybrids help in IT cost optimization
One size does not fit all.
And segmenting users by roles and specific needs can help you identify the right solution for each segment of users.
Modern technologies help you leverage APIs, web services, and connectors to integrate best of breed tools from diverse vendors and build specific hybrid solutions to improve your business.
Hybrids can help you achieve IT cost optimization up to 50% depending on the footprint of each application and the flexibility of each solution.
Thus, the modern, agile enterprise integrates solutions from multiple vendors into it’s IT landscape and gains from choice, cost optimization, superior posture, improved resilience, and freedom from vendor lock-in.
The Future belongs to Hybrids.