Ofcom released a statement earlier this month, announcing that halfway into its exploration of UK cloud services, it plans to refer the market to the CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) for investigation.
The news, while major, is actually unsurprising when you think about the make-up of the industry, believes Vapour’s CEO Tim Mercer.
“The UK’s two lead cloud players - Microsoft and AWS (Amazon Web Services) - hold up to 70% of market share, which definitely feels like a monopoly. There are other hyperscalers competing for customers’ business of course, including Google, but their presence is comparatively dwarfed by the other two giants.
“So we have to ask ourselves, do they have too much control? I would argue they do, but it’s hard to see how anything will change if the Government uses both.”
The dominance of Microsoft and AWS does make it harder for emerging cloud providers to gain traction, adds Tim.
“These providers have traditionally offered seemingly ultra-affordable options for customers - undoubtedly one of the reasons they’re the ‘go to’ cloud of choice for the public sector particularly. But big doesn’t necessarily mean best,” he said.
Ofcom’s article expressed apparent concern surrounding interoperability restrictions and significant price increases at the point of renewal, for example, no doubt just some of the factors that will be further examined by the CMA, if it goes ahead.
We’re told a final decision on the proposed investigation will be made by 5 October 2023.
“I hope it’s not merely an industry rumbling,” concluded Tim. “If there are ways to improve how the market works for all, then surely an investigation makes sense.“In the meantime though, I think the theme of this conversation reminds us of the importance of cloud agnostic conversations. After all, multi-cloud providers exist, who are able to advise organisations on the cloud infrastructure that is truly right for them - it might be Microsoft or AWS, it might be Google, or it might be something else entirely. That’s when things get really exciting.”
If you know anything at all about tech, it’s that the last two years have thrown organisations of all shapes, sizes, and sectors head-first into the digital realm.
But just as much as state-of-the-art products and solutions have the power to revolutionise business, people are equally a key driver of innovation – not least when they’re industry-renowned professionals with bags full of experience and expertise.
Didn’t catch the commentary from our hand-selected panel of VIPs at our intimate event last week? Don’t fear. We’ve curated a list of the key takeaways that every successful leader should know as they continue to augment their own digital transformation strategy in 2022 – and beyond.
So sit tight, and delve in…
1. Don’t underestimate conversation around the 4th industrial revolution – it’s here
And our clients think of Vapour as the plumbing to the Internet and other applications. It just works.
2. By 2025, 27% of the global workforce will be Gen Zs
Not only are they an important talent pool in this industry – having grown up without a recollection of life with no internet – they’re also the future of every organisation.
With that in mind, do you understand what your employees need and want from the workplace, especially when it comes to the expectations they have on technology?
3. Intelligent automation is a key driver of innovation
As well as saving time, money, and headaches dealing with the ‘dumb stuff’ – much like RPA – intelligent automation on the other hand can also ingest, interpret, and think about data, work harder, and enhance the roles of people even further.
4. Automation can work 24/7/365
Not only this, but it’s also able to work three times faster than human processing and with 100% accuracy, plus infinite scalability.
Repetitive tasks are often one of the biggest causes of job dissatisfaction and wasted time, and according to Rob Dawson – principle consultant at Robiquity and one of the speakers at our event – clients save an average of 27,000 hours per year using their intelligent automation services!
5. McKinsey data states that IT budgets typically go over by an average of 45%!
That’s why it’s crucial to look for a partner that is vender agnostic, and will implement the solution that’s right for your needs – not the one they’re paid to implement.
Ask questions specific to your own IT scenario too, to validate their experience. Rob’s advice on this topic was to ensure the discovery stage of a project is thorough, to ensure true RPA readiness, and to ask for a partner’s typical speed to value time – 5 weeks should be feasible, on average (depending on the nature of the project of course!).
6. Many VoIP providers only work with 1-2 carriers
This means their disaster recovery lacks vital resilience.
On the other hand, Wavenet – one of the partners to feature on the event line-up – works with multiple carriers. This vastly mitigates the risk of any comms disruption for that client. If the connection goes down unexpectedly, the traffic simply flips to another in milliseconds.
Is it any wonder over a 12-month period, a busy 300-seat customer of Vapour’s had ZERO faults with Wavenet’s TeamsLink system?
7. Worldwide IT spending to grow 3% this year
Despite economic headwinds, IT decision makers are spending more on cloud services and the data centre.
And with inflationary pressures top-of-mind creating a degree of uncertainty, already high prices could rise even further. With that in mind, it’s no surprise enterprises are making a switch from ownership-based IT models to service-bases ones.
8. Tech adoption has risen exponentially – but there’s a renewed focus on people, and therefore employee wellbeing too, particularly in contact centre environments
Puzzel’s partner success manager, Alison Hogg, suggests that customer tolerance for slow service has diminished, and there’s an increasing demand to use whichever channel they want, when they want – with an unparalleled new focus on receiving a seamless, connected customer experience. So, Alison encouraged us to think about what that means for brands and how they respond.
It’s also important to remember that comms channel silos means team silos, which usually a bad user experience, as well as inefficient workloads as tasks require duplication.
9. Puzzel helps you serve micro-moments that drive engagement
With intelligent self-service for consumers, a seamless user experience for customers and agents, and automated scheduling that ensures you are always effectively staffed, the platform’s digital-first approach speeds up first contact resolutions to help improve customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
And if a customer wants to speak to a real person, chatbots can recognise this too! With a request for intervention and a full chat history, agents can easily pick up a customer conversation to enhance the overall service level.
10. Businesses will increasingly demand network connectivity via ground and air
The world of 5G is expanding at pace, fuelling pacy innovation for organisations reliant on smart devices and IoT, and providing ever-changing businesses with a quick and easy way to get connected – rapid deployment with a fixed cost, particularly great for firms with satellite/pop-up sites.
Still hungry for more insight? Download the full speaker presentations from the innovation forum, for free.
To discuss any of these topics in further detail, please contact Vapour on 0333 200 1142 or fill out our contact form.
Tell us about your role at Content Guru and the part you play in the tech sector.
As a business development manager, I’m responsible for account management and working closely with new clients, customers and partners. As a cloud communications provider, it’s also important to keep on top of industry trends, to understand the new and emerging challenges that organisations face and how technology can help.
What innovation was the turning point for your organisation, to get it to where you are now?
The cloud. Where would we be without it – especially since the pandemic?!
And where’s next for your business?
We’re currently expanding our global reach into the US which is very exciting!
The biggest misconception faced by the tech sector is…
That price should be a core deciding factor – organisations need to carefully consider requirements, alongside how providers/solutions can best meet the needs of the organisation and what value the solution or service is delivering above simply cost saving.
What do you think will be the biggest tech trend over the next 12 months?
The pandemic has led businesses to diversify their communication channels and has opened the door to an increase in self-service solutions to help address resource limitations. As we start to navigate out of the pandemic and adapt to a more permanent hybrid way of working, we’re likely to see more of this as an effort to support organisations.
What top tip would you give to an individual trying to excel in their tech career?
It’s really important to keep your eye on industry trends and to learn your products inside and out. The technology sector can be full of jargon and complex terminology, so knowing in detail what the products and services are capable of means you can add extra context for customers to break down those barriers.
The next purchase on my personal tech wishlist is…?
New PC parts – I’ve taken on the task of building my own computer!
And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?
What is one longstanding piece of tech that you are shocked is still used today?
A fixed home landline. You see them less and less in homes today, but there are still some around.
If you are without the internet for an hour, what would be the first activity you resort to, to pass the time?
Going for a drive. There is something about getting on the road that is just so relaxing.
It’s Graeme’s turn in the spotlight this month. Today he shares that his love for tech stemmed from working on nuclear submarines, expresses his admiration of Apple and debunks the misconception that tech needs to be complicated…
How did you first get into the world of tech?
I think I’ve always had an interest in tech. From calibrating reactor instrumentation onboard nuclear submarines in the Royal Navy to piloting remote vehicles on the seabed while offshore, which then led me to enter the telecoms world for the last nine years.
And what is your earliest memory of tech in your life?
I’m going to show my age here…. I’d say probably a BBC micro when I was at junior school – for those who don’t know, enjoy googling that! I also remember a ZX Spectrum playing Daley Thompsons Decathlon.
What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at Vapour)?
I don’t believe there is one specific quality needed. I think you need to have many attributes to your persona and then be able to bring them together to get a full understanding of each customer requirement.
And what is the one thing you would change about the tech sector?
Too many acronyms…the fact that suppliers and manufacturers produce a similar product but then decide to overcomplicate things by using new acronyms for services and products that already exist.
Why do you think Vapour stands out in the channel?
Before joining Vapour, I spoke to various contacts I have within the industry, and all had positive things to say about the company. From my time here so far, I can see that the company’s biggest assets are the staff and how we pull together to give the customer the best experience we can.
Complete the sentences:
The next purchase on my (personal) tech wishlist is... a Garmin Vivoactive watch – which I’ve just bought myself to monitor my fitness training.
A tech firm that has really stood out for me in the last 12 months is... Apple. I know this is going to divide the room, but the company is big for me at the minute.
The biggest misconception in the channel is that... tech needs to be overly complicated.
By the end of 2022, our tech will have made organisations far more... collaborative - giving users an increased ability to work in multiple locations.
Everybody’s talking about Vapour’s Application Monitoring as a Service (AMaaS) solution – Logic Monitor – one of the hottest pieces of tech to emerge from our toolkit in the past 12 months. But what exactly is it, and why is its launch so well-timed? Here are the 10 key things you need to know about AMaaS, including why many businesses will be hugely dependent on it in 2022…
To discover more about Vapour’s Application Monitoring as a Service solution, how it works, and the impact it could have on your business, contact our team.
Two disruptive cloud tech firms – both headquartered in Yorkshire – have announced an industry collaboration to supercharge the digital transformation solutions delivered to clients.
Managed IT specialist CloudCoCo, based in Leeds, will strengthen the cybersecurity offering provided by us here at Vapour. And in return, we will enhance CloudCoCo’s infrastructure with the addition of security-first SD-WAN connectivity – a cost-effective, scalable cloud technology that integrates network and user security, with ease, for high performance remote working.
The alliance signals the latest in a series of strategic partnerships for us – as an organisation that has never shied away from joining forces with the industry’s brightest talent, when approaching customers’ digital transformation projects.
“Organisations – certainly in the larger SME market and above – don’t expect or want a vendor to be a ‘jack of all trades’ anymore,” explained CEO Tim Mercer. “They seek to place their trust in a small number of proven experts who will listen carefully to the brief and deliver exactly what the business needs. Partnerships, in this environment, are therefore key. But they have to be carefully formed, between specialists whose technologies, standards, and cultures, are on a par, with no exceptions.”
With both companies closely aligned with enterprise cybersecurity giant Fortinet, the credibility of the two brands was clear when discussions to partner first began.
“We’re here to demystify cloud technologies to make the impossible, possible,” Tim added. “You can only do that by remaining straight-talking and customer focused at all times, and sometimes going against the grain. We’re not afraid to do that, and neither is CloudCoCo. I think both companies – and the teams within them – are respected for their honesty, so we’re a good fit when it comes to devising solutions, together.”
Like Tim, Mark Halpin’s cloud-first vision was also dismissed when he too left the corporate world to set up CloudCoCo. Fast forward three years, and the business now has more than 1,000 customers, £27m turnover, and has recently acquired managed service provider IDE Connect and Nimoveri IT Support.
“I was told I was cloud cuckoo for believing the managed IT sector had become slow, unresponsive, boring and broken, so in April 2018 I left my long-term job and built a company of agile, fiercely passionate, and supremely talented cloud, cybersecurity, connectivity, hardware and hosted voice professionals,” explained Mark.
“Tim and I share a similar back story and many values too – not least a passion for delighting customers with the help of progressive people and powerful technology that doesn’t have to be complicated. This partnership could mean great things for both our respective teams. CloudCoco has an unlimited ambition in terms of growth, so the future starts now.”
Vapour is also forecasting 25% revenue growth by the end of the financial year.
Here at Vapour, we've launched a new connectivity solution for organisations seeking the advantages of both a public and private cloud environment.
The newly unveiled Express Connect service offers customers the opportunity to route their data via Vapour’s ISO27001-accredited infrastructure, so that they can achieve a dedicated private connection to their public cloud service.
This means businesses benefit from the public cloud capabilities of AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google, for example, without their traffic going via the internet. The result is an optimum user experience in terms of bandwidth and speed, as well as complete peace of mind when it comes to security.
Express Connect also helps lower organisations’ network costs, boosts IT control, reduces jitter and latency, and enhances overall network performance. It is fully integrated by design – which means budget transparency – with the flexibility to scale up or down as business needs evolve.
This extension to our toolkit is a bold move having invested millions of pounds in our own private MPLS networks.
“Our goal has always been to provide customers with high-performance networks with resilience and security in-built as standard,” explained CEO Tim Mercer. “And, being cloud-only since day one, we were not satisfied with the industry’s readymade solutions, so we built our own private infrastructure.
“This will absolutely remain a critical part of many companies’ cloud architecture, as the public cloud is not right for every application. However, we’re taking the story on, by using that private network to power fast, secure and seamless connectivity with multiple public cloud service providers (CSPs).
“All too often, the market pushes what it wants to sell, rather than offering people choice. As hybrid cloud becomes increasingly popular, we want customers to explore what is truly right for them, without sacrificing resilience or performance.”
Express Connect is available direct to end customers, but we have also devised a reseller solution for channel partners too.
In our latest webinar ‘Unleash the UC capabilities of Microsoft Teams — Introducing TeamsLink’, we partnered with Wavenet to explore how organisations can make the most of this advanced, feature-packed tool, to take their use of Microsoft Teams to the next level.
Remote and hybrid working has dominated the news throughout the pandemic, and having accelerated the digital transformation of businesses globally, it’s here to stay. But collaborative working requires unified platforms that can meet the needs of organisations without the need to jump in and out of different channels like Slack, Zoom, email and the basic telephone.
So, while 200 million people now participate in Teams dialogue in a typical day, we know this game-changing platform could work even harder for your business.
In this 60-minute webinar, we therefore introduced TeamsLink. With one tool for messaging, video meetings, calling, file sharing, analytics and more, the intuitive online portal gives complete visual control over the management of users and call flows. It also offers the opportunity to uncover otherwise untapped business intelligence to analyse true workplace performance, service levels, engagement, and morale.
If you missed our virtual event, you can watch again to experience:
Who can TeamsLink help? Well to put it simply… everyone. Many companies are merely scratching the surface when it comes to their true collaboration, productivity, and reporting potential.
Want to research a little further first? Check out our TeamsLink information hub.
The hybrid world of work is here to stay and brings a raft of benefits with it. But we can’t forget the data security risks that come with being away from the usual corporate setting.
And, to celebrate the launch of our SD-WAN solution for hybrid workers, we decided to team up with One Minute Briefs in a bid to educate the nation around some of the cyber risks which lurk with remote work.
Enlisting the help of One Minute Brief’s 33k-strong online community (otherwise known as OMBLES), we set about creating posters which highlight the cyber risks associated with hybrid working – if organisations don’t better protect their colleagues’ devices.
Of course, we’d highly recommend using Vapour’s new hybrid working solution, which integrates endpoint and network security through state-of-the-art SD-WAN technologies, to reduce organisations’ exposure to cyber threats, regardless of where employees decide to work from one day to the next.
The OMBLES were inspired too, and not only did the campaign feature amongst Twitter’s ‘trending’ charts – alongside National Tea Day and The Queen’s 95th birthday – but it generated over 200 entries, 76.6k impressions, and reached around 6.6 million people.
The level of creativity was sky-high, and it took us a while to settle on a shortlist of just 20 – never mind our eventual winner. But do you agree with our selection? Find out more about our SD-WAN solution, here.