Appliance solutions to attract more businesses: InfoReady

IT consultancy expects further uptake of appliance solutions due to ease of use

Appliance solutions are expected to gain further momentum among businesses this year, according to InfoReady managing director, Tristan Sternson.

If a customer is looking to buy an off-the-shelf data warehouse, an appliance solution makes this possible.

“It already comes with BI [Business Intelligence] and you can just plug it in and deliver it quicker,” Sternson said.

The attraction for customers is that they can “see the tin,” so unlike off-site solutions, the appliance can be touched, picked up, taken off the rack, and plugged in.

Sternson has seen a setup like this “answer a lot of the questions that customers have.”

Namely, if someone wants to build a data repository of some sort, particularly with Big Data coming into the picture, the next step is to ask how long it will take.

“If I want to do something today, I don’t want to wait 9 or 12 months for something to deliver,” Sternson said.

“I want it now, within three months, for people to be enabled and use it.”

He adds that the solution also has to be quick and easy to use.

To that end, Sternson admits that this approach is “disruptive” and does not fit the traditional consulting model of having “hundreds of people out there and delivering a solution to them.”

“It’s a model of ‘here is the solution, we sell it to you, turn it on, integrate your data source and we get your users to start building their own reports,’ because it’s a fully integrated solution,” he said.

“I can almost guarantee that at the end of it, users are more enabled or more self service enabled than they would have been had I done a custom solution anyway.”

Sustaining the buzz

By focus on appliance solutions, Sternson said InfoReady is spending more time working with users training and enabling them, rather than developing.

“The focus shifts a little bit by not just building an enterprise solution, but building something that they can use from day one,” he said.

What he has typically noticed with data projects is people often get excited and ask when they can have it.

“I’ve done large projects where the first report will come three to six months, and that’s when all of the excitement goes out the door, because they want it now,” he said.

So when InfoReady tells them that the solution can be ready for them in three weeks’ time, Sternson said “the buzz is still there.”

For that reason, he sees appliance solutions fit in with the Cloud and SaaS trends, as it aims to be a simple and easy solution.

“Cloud was put in because it was easy to deliver, as it was already there and hosted somewhere,” he said.

“While appliances are not like the Cloud as you put it on-site, it’s kind of like it because the solution is there, there is some integration there, and then it is up and running.”

Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.

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