He lived through the heady days of the dot com bubble. “Things are different this time around. I was around in the dot com days and even crashed a company,” he said.
“Rather than having ridiculous levels of investment, organisations today have a better grounding in terms of customers, cash flow and revenue. They are not just webfronts, but have the actual people involved.”
Beaugeard said he’s not worried about the frenzy of start-up activity in the cloud space.
“According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are 1.8 million eligible customers for the cloud. I won’t hit all of those. There’s enough business there for a vibrant community of organisations – an ecosystem of companies doing cloud in various forms from CRM customisation to SharePoint to document management.”
But he sees a big change on the horizon: The channel landscape will be drastically different in the next three years.
“This reminds me of the days when distributed computing took over from mainframe – it went from a whole bunch of established players to new entrants taking charge,” he said.
Similarly, the traditional system integrator is not growing to adopt cloud – instead new players with a diverse mix of skills are jumping on-board to take advantage of the massive channel opportunities.
While not a full-blown cloud start-up, Insentra managing director, Ronnie Altit, is a services start-up that is having the same challenges and issues that any start-up would face: maintaining a positive cash flow, building customer trust and loyalty and attracting talent.
“There aren’t a lot of organisations that just do services as a core focus – there’s a hole in the market we are trying to fill,” he said. “There was an opportunity in the market for something that was focused, niche and high value.”
While its services are varied, one area of focus is augmenting the services of the cloud providers to enable the easier migration from on-premise to cloud.
“We’re only just starting to scratch the surface in terms of opportunities. Sure there are challenges, but the opportunities of being a start-up far outweigh the negatives.”