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There are times the reasoning for your business seems obvious, but the job of describing it to the market seems exceptionally hard. This is what the founder of IOXO, David Turcotte, initially found. But the more he describes his idea, the more people’s eyes open wide.
I met David last week at a regional networking event. As a lawyer by training, he’s had a hand in the formation and legal strategy of multiple companies including Forum Systems, V3 Systems (acquired by Sphere3D), Fusion-IO and Access Data before delving into the CloudWRX technology he’s now advancing at IOXO.
Why take your company’s computing entirely into the cloud? When you think about it, the reasons are many. The first, and most obvious, is the cost of equipment and IT. Imagine the money your small or mid-sized company would save if you never had to buy, provision, maintain, update or manage another computer, server or laptop again?
With a “cloud workstation” solution (also known as Desktop as a Service, or DaaS), team members can access and use their fully-supported desktop anytime, anywhere, from any device or the simple and portable laptop replacement IOXO provides for its Customers.
What is a Cloud Workstation (or DaaS)? DaaS stands for Desktop as a Service. It’s a term for a Cloud-based Computer or Workstation, which means you can now access and use your fully-supported business computer anytime, anywhere from any mobile device because your Windows PC lives in the Cloud. CloudWRX goes further still by automating management and support of the online workstations and adding databases, email, security and compliance resources as required. For a low monthly fee per employee, a company eliminates the need for onsite or contracted IT.
Security and safety increases, as the platform protection is end-to-end. Users are safe from the risk of lost or stolen laptops, , hacked WiFi, virus and malware.
Businesses are even protected from dishonest employees, as users can’t download or remove the company’s digital files from the cloud, and any transmission via email attachments is easy to trace. Compliance is covered as well, as the platform adheres to to HIPPAA, HITECH, PCI, HITRUST, FINRA and SOX compliance standards.
The interface is lightning fast (faster than even the beefiest laptop) and allows employees to be up and running immediately from any location with internet access. If the device is lost or stolen or unavailable, it’s no problem. Users can login to the CloudWRX interface from any mobile device (which in the case of a theft or loss would typically be their phone). Upon return to the office the company can have a replacement device ready within a minute.
Immediately, I had dozens of questions.
What would become of IT providers in this scenario? For those who are most enlightened, they will evolve to become agents and value-add resellers for the new arena of cloud-based services, Turcotte explained.
What about organizations already using virtualization services based on VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)? Businesses using or familiar with well-known solutions from companies like VMWare and Citrix should be ideally primed for the benefits of taking virtualization to an additional realm, he believes. Interestingly, the company is heavily engaged in activities with Microsoft, and made an announcement last weekof integration with FileShadow to provide users of virtual desktops with an easy path to “provisioned storage” to keep all of their data (both work and personal) protected and separate, but instant and easy to find.
Who are the ideal customers for CloudWRX? In Turcotte’s opinion the first and obvious market is small businesses of 100 employees and below, with SME’s of 1,000 and fewer employees engaging quickly as well. In essence, they’ll have access to the level of IT and services the largest enterprises enjoy for a fraction of the price. Although it is logistically possible, the largest enterprises will likely be the final sector to migrate entirely to the cloud, he believes.
So for IOXO or for any business with a radically new and better solution, what could stand in the way of rapid acceptance and adoption of an idea like this?
How to accomplish a Paradigm Shift
Turcotte is not alone in this challenge. Even an obvious and ingenious idea is an uphill climb in the face of ecosystems and ideas deeply entrenched in the past. Management expert Steve Denning has provided some ideas to Forbes readers on this phenomenon in the past.
For example, as Denning notes, “In 1539, Copernicus overturned more than a thousand years of doctrine that the sun revolves around the earth with his theory that the earth is one of a number of planets revolving around the sun. No amount of tweaking the old theory led to progress. Scientists had to look at the problem in a totally different way to solve the problem.”
It’s tough to get the world to respond quickly to a paradigm shift, Denning notes. The willingness to move comes when “working ever more diligently within the existing paradigm leads to frustration, not progress,” he says. “Instead, scientists have to look at the problem in a fundamentally different way to solve the problem.”
Denning points to one such example as the giant shift in management from the firm-centric view of the world (that the firm’s primary purpose is to make money for its shareholders) to our current customer-centric view of the world in which the purpose of the firm is to add value for customers (and likewise, customer acceptance determines the company’s valuation and its right to exist.
How can a founder whose product requires a radically new vantage point advance their idea to critical mass?
- Education, education, education. Carry the technology with you. Let those you meet with and present to observe the product in action. As they learn, they move (of their own volition rather than as the result of your struggle to sell and persuade).
- Work with analysts who are forward looking. The largest groups will not be your best advocates when it comes to enacting a radical change. Find the deeply knowledgeable individuals in your sector who are willing to discover and evangelize a new point of view. These trusted influencers become more influential still as they bring a great idea forward. Your success will magnify as they speak.
- Be present and vocal. Give speeches. Write educational articles. A regional company I’ve met presented their AR technology at an ecommerce trade show last year, forty brands immediately stepped forward. A third employed the company immediately with another third now in progress. From a single presentation, the company’s product advanced from novel idea to critical mass.
- Choose strong partners. The leading organizations that stand to benefit most from your innovation may be willing to step forward quickly. As they do, your paradigm becomes pervasive far more quickly than you could have achieved on your own.
- Evangelize always. It was fun to observe Turcotte talking about his company to the other executives at the event where we met. As we sat down for our dinner, he noted that without making a single pitch he’d acquired three new customers that evening by simply responding to the questions they’d asked. His answers, as value-add information, led naturally and quickly to an understanding of what his company’s technology could be doing for them.
In a nutshell, when your company’s idea is radically different, you are facing an uphill climb. But if you handle the opportunity well, you have the first mover’s advantage in establishing a foothold and even an industry that can forge out broadly and without competition before others will eventually have a chance to respond.
May 16, 2019 at 06:20PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs