Response times are fast and efficient which helps us to solve any issues as soon as possible and to carry on with business as usual

Herman Santiago, Partner: Global Executive Client Relations/Practice Management, Nabas Legal

HTL's recommended solution was backed by their reliable IT support team throughout the entire migration process, which made us feel in control of the situation at all times

Paul Bonter, Company Secretary, Nafas

From the very first call, dealing with a friendly member from the IT support team at HTL has made solving any IT issues we have an enjoyable experience.

Catherine Dowd, Office Manager, RFC Ambrian

Our experience with HTL and their IT support team has been fantastic. Contacting them with any IT problems we have is so convenient and all issues are solved quickly.

Adam Blinch, Low Carbon Consultant, Tuckers Consultancy Ltd.

I have found the team at HTL to be friendly and professional throughout our entire relationship. Their ability to work alongside our internal IT support team has been a great asset.

Greg Cardiff, Head of IT, Dictate IT

The FD's dream IT budget

How cloud technology helps strip out financial inefficiency, reduces TCO and increases ROI from IT budgets

Who would be a finance director?

It is highly pressurised and can sometimes seem like a thankless task. Sales and purchase ledgers, cash flow and working capital; audits and HMRC reporting; expenses, salaries and headcount. The list can seem endless, with practically every aspect of business finance carrying a high priority and needing to be diligently dealt with in a timely fashion.

While members of the executive peer group are likely to enjoy strong relationships and high levels of trust, the confidences of management that are shared between senior executives often throw up barriers to others. Employees may be unable to truly warm to the 'C' level, with polite and cordial respect the best way to describe such relationships.

However, FDs may sometimes find that they are in a lonelier place. Invariably, financial decision making means the FD has oversight in more areas than anyone else; this undoubtedly leads many to look suspiciously on the role and unfairly characterise practitioners as 'bean counters'.

Whatever the perceptions, the universal truth is that a business without strong and competent financial control is very likely to go to the wall before too long.

One of the trickiest areas is managing the finance of technology. The pivotal position IT enjoys in the vast majority of businesses means spend is likely to be a matter of some priority. Budgeting accurately for the IT fabric of the business remains a central objective, however, technology cannot be a bottomless pit into which you throw cash. Budgets need to be developed to support the strategic use of technology in the business without breaking the company finances.

Any decision made in support of equipping the organisation with the right technology tools to enable efficient effective productivity and operations has to deliver demonstrable ROI. In this guide, we set out how cloud technology brings these threads together and provides a better way to financially plan for business technology by enabling 'dream' budgets.

The ROI of moving to the cloud

Technology in smaller and growing businesses

Many businesses with 10—100 employees can be in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to technology. They are big enough to find IT is critical to the business yet too small to be able to be self-dependent when technology is broken. They simply lack the in-house tech expertise and systems redundancy that mitigate the risks of IT failures.

Fed up with annual IT budgets that look like this?

Below is the IT budget for a typical business with 50 people that follows the conventional on-premise approach and provides in-house systems. This is likely to look familiar, if somewhat wearying to many finance directors in companies of this size.


Description

In House Systems

CAPEX

OPEX

PCs / End User Devices

  • PCs and Laptops @ £700 – but often more
  • Typical lifespan of 3 years
  • New computers need setting up, and configuring
  • Up to 2 hours per computer @ £50

Approx.£35,000

 

Servers

  • 3 servers with storage and UPS systems

Approx. £25,000

 

Software Licensing

  • Email Security Software like Mimecast.
  • Windows PC & Server Operating Systems
  • Microsoft Office
  • Anti-Virus
  • Database Software (e.g. MS SQL)
  • Email System Software (e.g. MS Exchange)
  • Management Software
  • SSL Certificates

£15,000

18,000

Telecoms

  • A phone system for 50 users – handsets and system will have a capex cost of about £20,000
  • ISDN 30 e phone lines will cost around £1,500 a quarter plus calls and DDI numbers

£20,000

£6,000 + call & DDI number charges

Electricity

  • Electrical power to run servers and network, PCs and monitors and air conditioning

 

Approx. £3,300

IT Management

  • £4,000 a month for a good IT guy (plus maybe additional support for specialist apps or holiday cover)

 

£60,000 +cover

Maintenance

  • PC Maintenance Costs
  • Each PC and laptop needs securing and updating. This means Operating System and Application software patches, antivirus and anti-malware updates, Java Updates driver and firmware updates. Additionally, PCs often need maintenance such as removal of temporary files, registry optimisation and disk defragmentation.
  • Servers need updating, patching, back up, etc.
  • Estimated at £2000 in labour per month to maintain 50 devices & servers

 

Approx. £24,000

Disaster Recovery

  • Duplicate Data Kept off site – Servers replicated
  • Fees charged if the DR system is actually used

£5,000

£6,000 + fees

Setup costs

  • A new 50 user system could cost £20,000 to set up and configure and customise.

Approx. £20,000

 

Totals

 

Approx. £120,000

Approx. £113,800+


Conventional on-premise IT

Maintaining in-house IT systems - the conventional ‘on premise’ approach to provisioning business technology - always brings ownership. With ownership comes the requirement for capital as well as annually recurring costs to run the IT assets. It also brings depreciation to zero typically over a three year period.

Essentially, in the absence of an alternative model no one questioned that it needed to be done, even if the scale sometimes caused raised eyebrows. The continual requirement to update the IT estate means that major investment in some part of the IT fabric inevitably falls in every annual reporting period.

In the example above, we have made reasonable assumptions and if you compare them to your company budget for on-premise IT pro-rata per user, it is unlikely to be too far out.

But what if your annual IT budget looked like this?

Below is the budget to provide the same IT capability but by using a Hosted Desktop system based on a secure private cloud platform.


Description

Hosted Desktop on secure private cloud

CAPEX

OPEX

PCs / End User Devices

Thin Clients or Zero Clients @ approx. £250
Typical lifespan 5 years

Setup can be completed without technical assistance, and can be done in less than 15 minutes per device

£12,500

 

Maintenance

On Site Maintenance is limited to local network and Thin Clients

 

£2,000

Hosted Desktop Rental

Includes:

  • Servers
  • Software Licencing
  • Telecoms
  • Support
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Free Setup

£0

£30,000

IT Management

Support is included in the cloud and migrate your IT manager to a more strategic role

 

£60,000

Totals

 

£12,500

£92,000


The alternative – Hosted Desktop and the consumption model

Cloud based-technology enables a Hosted Desktop solution to be provided from a secure private cloud. This delivers applications and data over business-class broadband internet connections, letting those that need access to standard productivity and communications tools to ‘consume’ IT as a service through low-cost devices known as Thin and Zero clients.

The number crunching, processing, or compute – whatever you prefer to call it - is carried out in the cloud on powerful servers in purpose built and maintained data centres. This eliminates the need for expensive servers, storage, and backup as well as PCs and laptops on-premise.

Software maintenance for servers and PCs is also eliminated. End user support may continue to be delivered by your IT manager who is freed to pursue a more strategic agenda. A considerable reduction in electricity consumption also results.

'Power Users' such as mobile workers that need to remain working on laptops or graphics and media workers that need powerful desktop compute capability are readily accommodated within Hosted Desktop environments.


Summary

TCO, ROI and value

The success of any IT provisioning decision is ultimately determined by three key factors, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO); Return on Investment (ROI); and value.

TCO

The TCO is squashed by virtue that ownership through direct purchase is minimised. The majority of the system is included in the fixed monthly recurring charge which sits in OPEX.

ROI

Much lower capital requirements enable ROI to be recouped much faster. The monthly payment model means that IT is largely provisioned from OPEX, simplifying finance and eliminating large-scale depreciation.

Value

The true value of IT is determined by assessing the benefit received against the cost of technology. When considered against benefits in such areas as financial efficiency, employee productivity and streamlining of technology within the business, then Hosted Desktop from a secure private cloud offers significantly better value than the on-premise approach to provisioning business technology.


Why is Serviced Cloud a preferred technology service provider to the service sector?

Serviced Cloud is a specialist provider of cloud technology solutions to the professional services sector. Serviced cloud has the expertise and experience to help service sector companies and those supplying services to regulated businesses to meet their regulatory obligations or follow guidelines on the use of technology.

It is our confirmed belief the cloud offers outstanding opportunities for services sector firms to leverage technology so it returns more value to their businesses. A hosted desktop solution showcases this in a way that is truly compelling.

Serviced Cloud works with in-house compliance experts or external consultants to ensure any solution exceeds interpretation of the applicable regulatory code(s). Serviced Cloud provides the appropriate level of services required by the majority of SME businesses, whether governed by a mixture of state legislation and frameworks devised and enforced by regulating authorities or by professional standards bodies and trade associations.


About Serviced Cloud

Serviced Cloud is a close knit and highly professional team of technology professionals that are evangelists for cloud solutions. This is because we believe the benefits are unrivalled by equivalent on-premise approaches to provisioning business technology.

The business benefits of the cloud are regularly highlighted in the press and deliberated in boardrooms. Cloud technology is a topic about which the vast majority of business leaders are likely to have more than a passing interest.

Based in the heart of London in Canary Wharf, Serviced Cloud was incorporated in 2009 with a clear and simple vision. We are dedicated to helping business leaders in financial service organisations find the best way of successfully adopting cloud technology in their businesses.

We offer best of breed Hosted Cloud Services in our ISO27001 London data centres, and help clients to create their own Private Cloud systems in their own offices or data centres.

Our friendly and professional engineers and consultants have extensive experience, proven track records and ‘can-do’ attitudes. We offer independent advice but partner with the leading cloud technology companies to ensure seamless support. We are serviced focused; our client’s satisfaction is paramount.


References and further reading

Back to the future: The advantages of hosted desktop computing for service sector firms
Serviced Cloud
http://www.servicedcloud.com/white-paper/back-to-the-future-the-advantages-of-hosted-desktop-computing-for-service-sector-firms

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