We all encounter crossroads in our life, personal and professional, these crossroads can alter our paths depending on the decisions we make while staring at that fork in the road….do I go left or do I go right ? Once you start down the road you tend to second guess yourself and think, did I make the right choice ? You cannot look back you must forge ahead and MAKE the path you chose work for you.
In mid 2011 I reached one these professional crossroads, as I entered my office one morning and realized my Windows Server was crashed. My initial reaction was disbelief, this can’t happen to me. I said to myself OK let’s reboot it and everything will come back up, no dice. My next step was to turn it off and let it “rest” for awhile. I waited several minutes and powered it back up, no dice, it finally hit me as I got that pit in my stomach and instant adrenaline rush...I AM IN BIG TROUBLE here !! NO email, NO calendar, NO files. My business is down and no time to fix it !!
After the initial panic went away and I realized our backups were good and there will be no lost data, another thought came to me. What an opportunity to re-think our company’s technology. How often do we get a chance to look at ourselves from the outside in ? For 16 years as a Microsoft partner we did the same thing over and over by duplicating the systems we sold to our customers. A new bigger and faster Windows Server (to store all company data such as email, calendaring, contacts and files), Microsoft Office and lots of other applications on each Windows computer….as much time and effort was required to fix our computer system as we spent on maintaining our customers’ systems. Sometimes I felt like the poor auto mechanic whose car runs poorly because after spending so much time repairing everyone else’s vehicle there was no time left to fix his own. I thought there must be a better way.
Enter Cloud Computing. A customer had recently looked at Google APPS for Business and thought they might want to replace their Windows Small Business Server with it, they asked me my opinion and I immediately said “I hate it, bad idea, why would you even look at that ?” Looking back I think I felt threatened because there was no server to install and maintain, was I a dinosaur now ? Would they not need me anymore ? I decided to get through my day and sleep on this decision.
The next day while have our morning coffee together my wife and I talked about what to do. I explained what Cloud Computing was and how it required less maintenance, she asked me “why wouldn’t you try that for us ? You are always so busy and complain about fixing our computers and helping me in the office, makes sense to me…” I paused and thought WOW she is right, if I can make my life easier why not ?
We implemented Google APPS that day and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made for our company. When I get up in the morning now I only worry about taking care of our customers, I no longer worry about power outages, crashed computers and backups. Our email and calendar is always up and running. We became a Google APPS for Business partner shortly thereafter.
Our mission now is to show other small businesses owners how to use Cloud Computing to simplify their lives and reduce costs. In the coming weeks we will explore A Day in the life of a Cloud computing user to show how everyday business challenges are solved by using Cloud technology ….Stay tuned everybody !