#12- Insight into a smaller consultancy: key observations, achieving high performance and overcoming the effects of the pandemic


Greg is a strategic leader helping clients realize the transformational nature of today’s most power technology tools.
Designing solutions for both on premises and cloud-based information infrastructures, Greg is also a Certified AWS and Azure Architect, experienced presenter and technical trainer.

VINTAGE: Working for a smaller consultancy, what key observations do you see in the market?

1. The key observation I see in my mostly commercial customer base are a lack of resources.
The IT departments I’m working with are typically grossly under manned/womanned.
This helps our business since we pride ourselves on positioning outcomes including services.
Many of our clients would prefer to perform some if not all of the IT work themselves but they simply can’t get to it in a timely fashion.

2.Another observation is that Security budgets are growing while IT budgets are shrinking or remaining flat, many of our clients will place items like disaster recovery under security in order to get them funded.

3. There is also a lack of strategic planning, I believe this is for two reasons, the previously mentioned fact that IT staff are understaffed, not allowing them to think strategically (they are to busy putting out fires).
The second reason is that many clients are just waiting for the cloud to solve all their problems or to become cheap enough that everything can just be placed in a public cloud.

That also highlights a lack of understanding of what the cloud is and how to leverage it.
Many of our client are only upgrading their infrastructure and software when they are required to: An example is Windows 2008R2 going end of support and clients needing to now deploy new Microsoft licensing and Hardware.

4. This brings me to my last observation, a general lack of understanding that the big 3 public clouds are tools and do not alleviate you from having to manage applications. SaaS providers do alleviate your need to manage applications and charge handsomely for it we often pivot to SaaS providers and managed services when we can.

VINTAGE: As you work with small- medium sized businesses, what expectations do clients have on performance?

Client’s want everything to be faster, more efficient and easier to use.
For the most part the industry has delivered that, very dense processors the massive amounts of memory you can pack into servers and the introduction of affordable flash drives (SCM, NVME, Optane etc) have all played their part in lowering the latency of applications.

With the impact of the pandemic, what challenges or opportunities do consultancies face over the next couple of years?

For my organization the impact was twofold, first many organization tried to preserve cash so capital expenditures on both HW and services declined. We also have a healthy End User Compute, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Cyber Security LOB’s those areas thrived. Technologies like next gen antivirus, firewall, VPN and MFA all grew. We spend many hours helping our clients sort out and install these technologies.

Attracting the right talent. How do you go about recruiting the right architects for the business?

GS: Most of our recruiting is by referral from our vendors, clients and customers. I have just started using Indeed to get more resumes.

VINTAGE: What podcasts, articles, blogs, websites do you follow for continuous learning?

I’m a big fan of Udemy for cloud architecture training (A Cloud Guru is amazing for AWS), we also get some good trainings from our Vendors, in particular the security vendors have really great modernized training.
For Azure trying I use both Udemy (Scott Duffy) and the free training available from Microsoft

Some blogs I go to.
For hyperconverged Josh Odgers has a good blog: http://www.joshodgers.com/tag/vsan/
General technology stuff: https://blocksandfiles.com/
Small biz thoughts: https://www.smallbizthoughts.com/
Cloudcast is a good place to go learn different technologies in blog/video format

Thanks Greg for taking the time out to talk and share your experiences with us.

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