If you went to a restaurant you wouldn’t expect only one choice of starter, main and pudding? That’s often your only IT choice but history is repeating itself, again.
Remember the 1960’s, ’70s or 80’s? Well computers were big, mega expensive and in special air cooled hardened buildings, really out of the reach of mere non-government mortals and big business. Other businesses had to rent spare time on these megaliths when they weren’t being used for their main tasks.
One company ACT were renting these big computers and running things like payroll for their clients who couldn’t afford one of their own. They were a “Computer Bureau”, storing and running data on big systems for small to medium sized companies.
The end of the Bureau
ACT became so rich on this they invested in a thing called a Sirius PC, This meant that companies could run their own payroll on their own premises and then do more besides. The era of business computing had started and ACT knew it. We joined this revolution at its inception due to the foresight of our then MD, when we were a manufacturing and data transmission company.
The Sirius PC was the best and most successful PC available, even if later the inferior IBM overtook it. ACT became Apricot and were eventually swallowed by Mitsubishi.
The reason the bureau died was that it was limited, expensive, unreliable and the costs added up. Although the weekly cost of a 100 person payroll was modest at £200 a week, over five years it worked out at £52,000. You could buy a Sirius with all the Pulsar accounts including Payroll (Sage weren’t even at the amoeba stage then), WordStar and VisiCalc for £5,000 including installation and a dot matrix printer for £700. Over five years you would save around £30,000. The smaller businesses caught on too.
Let’s Zoom back to the future – 30 years on – the 21st Century
There is a rush to the cloud, everyone seems to want to store their stuff on someone else’s computer and pay for it monthly. Seem familiar? We are now storing stuff on mega huge computers and paying a weekly or monthly amount for it. The reasons are; its peanuts a month, its reliable, I get the latest versions – all snake oil and wrong by the way.
Another technology bubble is bursting
Its now dawning on people very, very, slowly that the cloud is limited, expensive, unreliable and the costs add up. THE EXACT REASON WHY THE BUREAUS DIED. Why not have your own data processed on your own systems instead?
Just do this simple exercise
Add up all the money you spend on cloud computing each week or month, now add it up for the year, now look at it over five years. I recently heard someone push email on the cloud for £6 a user a month. That’s a staggering £3,600 for 10 users. We recently installed a system with 12 users for £700 all in.
Greed and the choice of none
When you buy cloud services its probably from a cloud salesman who doesn’t give you a choice, his only tool is price – often the last resort of the poor salesman and fuelled by the greed of the cloud providers. For example we, at CMX, are “whole of market” we offer 11 versions of Office, three are free the rest vary from extortionate to £40. We are paid 2.5 times more for selling you Office 365 on the cloud than one in a box, the box works out 66% cheaper than the cloud over 5 years and the joke is there is a free Microsoft Office online on the cloud anyway, Bet you no one mentioned that did they?
If you went to a restaurant you would expect one choice of starter, main and pudding? You would like a choice, so why are you only offered cloud?
The real choice
The cloud has it’s place free storage (while that lasts, not long now), getting vital data safely stored off premises, as a backup for when the broadband fails. These services are relatively cheap because they don’t need the pseudo fortresses of AWS, Azure or Dropbox. Two servers, different locations behind firewalls. Cost? 10Gb for £69 a year, and I’m not mentioning “safe harbor” today