Month: March 2014

Charities look to digital media to gain competitive advantage

Over the past 10 years there has been a shift in consumer behaviour towards online channels. At the start retail and media were two industries which were significantly impacted, with consumers preferring to shop online rather than high street stores. Suppliers which couldn’t adapt quickly enough became insolvent or were bought out. Some high profile examples are Blockbuster, Woolworths and Dixons.

Charities now face a similar challenge. Digital media and online presence is becoming more and more integral to raising brand awareness and collecting donations. Multi-channel interaction with customers is vital to establishing brand recognition in the 3rd sector where today there are over 150,000 charities in the UK competing for donations.

Some Charities have embraced the trend and recognised social and digital media as a huge opportunity to open new donation channels and increase brand awareness.

A recent success story has been Cancer Awareness who raised £8m from a Facebook campaign (girls take a picture with no-makeup and post on facebook to raise awareness for breast cancer).

One agency that is leading the way in digital media to launch campaigns and raise awareness is Amnesty International. To drive its digital strategy, Amnesty’s IT team embarked on an ambitious three-year project to overhaul its hosting platform. This project would involve the consolidation and re-engineering of Amnesty’s hosting infrastructure, and aimed to fully integrate all its online properties, and to provide enhanced data analytics and much greater functionality to users. Other objectives included simplifying the management of the platform and eliminating other inefficiencies, and improving the reliability and flexibility of the online infrastructure.

Claranet has helped us to simplify our back-end processes and to automate fulfillment, so that our staff can get on with more important things like building additional functionality to support our next campaign.”
Kamesh Patel, Head of IT at Amnesty

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Organisations may be over-paying for cloud with inappropriate payment models

Flexibility of Pay-As-You-Go does not always mean value for money; predictable usage requirements often better served by fixed-rate model, says Claranet

Over a third of large enterprises that are using cloud services have adopted multiple payment models for these services, particularly when supplied by more than one provider, according to research by Claranet. Michel Robert, Managing Director of Claranet UK, says that while this as a sign that organisations are adopting an incremental approach to cloud adoption, they are also inviting unnecessary complexity and may be leaving themselves open to paying over the odds.

Claranet’s third annual cloud adoption survey, which polled 300 IT decision-makers from a range of small and medium-sized businesses, and enterprises, found that 34 per cent of large organisations (those with more than 3,000 employees) that are using cloud-based services are taking these services from more than one provider and are tied to more than one payment model as a result. Payment models cited included flat-rate subscriptions and a variety of scalable and “Pay-As-You-Go” (PAYG) options.

The apparent flexibility offered by PAYG payment models may give the impression of value for money, but Robert counsels caution:

Flexibility has always been one of the key selling points of cloud computing and outsourced IT, and this extends to the models available when it comes to paying for services. Just as they need to ensure the service they take is suited to their needs, organisations must make sure the payment model they choose is appropriate to the way in which they will use their cloud services,” he said.

Our research revealed that 87 per cent of organisations surveyed cited flexibility of compute resources (ability to scale up or down) and access to applications as a key objective when migrating to the cloud. Yet 75 per cent said that their compute usage was predictable. A Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) model may provide value for money if you are frequently using the ‘burst’ facility of your cloud service. However, if a company’s particular workload is largely predictable it may end up paying more than it needs to. Yet in most circumstances, it should be possible to anticipate your requirements and put in place a payment model that reflects this level of productivity and delivers genuine value,” Robert continued.

Robert recommends an incremental approach to cloud adoption: “Many organisations and their IT chiefs face increased demand from the business to provide applications with high availability on a 24/7 basis. This high level of dependence on these applications, coupled with increased complexity, is a key driver to partner with proven outsourcing companies. In most cases, these organisations can leverage their scale and provide services to companies at a lower cost than the companies doing it in-house. This is especially true for mid-sized organisations. Against this backdrop, cloud computing can be an ideal option for those organisations looking to take a more agile and iterative approach to reduce the business risks associated with IT change,” he said.

“An incremental approach to cloud adoption does, however, increase the potential for complexity and over-payment, particularly when different services are procured from different providers,” Robert concluded.

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Claranet acquires Grita, a specialist French hosting provider to the healthcare sector

  • Claranet becomes one of the few service providers in France with the combined HADS, PCI-DSS and ISO 27001 accreditations, and extends its reach into a new market segment
  • Deal confirms Claranet’s position as the leading independent provider of managed services to the mid-market in Western Europe
  • Ambitious strategy of rapid expansion continues – with Grita as the latest in a series of key acquisitions (Star, Typhon, CGEST and Echiron)

Claranet, one of Europe’s leading independent managed services providers, has acquired Grita, a specialist provider of hosting services to the healthcare sector in France, and accredited with the French Ministry of Health’s HADS (Hébergeur Agrée de Données de Santé) certification for the hosting of private medical data. The acquisition is part of Claranet’s continued European growth strategy, and creates the region’s largest cloud services provider to the mid-market.

Since entering the healthcare and emerging e-pharmacy markets in 2010, Grita has become a leading player – with over 50 major customers in the sector, including Philips and Agfa. It was also one of the first companies in France to achieve the HADS standard. Its specialist product portfolio, complements Claranet’s existing market offering and further extends the company’s expertise in hosting and outsourced web applications.

The HADS accreditation, combined with Claranet’s existing ISO 27001 and PCI-DSS certifications, makes the company one of the few hosting providers in France to have this set of key industry accreditations, and extends its reach into this fast-growing market segment.

Claranet continues to be a success story in the European technology market, having grown steadily both organically and through acquisition. Adopting an ambitious growth strategy, Grita is the latest in a wave of acquisitions made by the company across Europe over the last 18 months – Star (UK, 2012), Typhon (France, 2012), CGEST (Portugal, 2012), and more recently Echiron (Portugal, 2014).

Olivier Beaudet, MD at Claranet France, says:

Grita’s specialist expertise in the healthcare sector makes it the perfect partner for Claranet. The hosting market in France is particularly vibrant and is evolving rapidly. Already a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for European Managed Hosting, the acquisition further consolidates Claranet’s position in France, and ensures we are well-placed to take advantage of new opportunities within existing and emerging markets in this region.”

“Becoming part of the Claranet Group will create new opportunities for our customers, our partners, and our employees,” said Jean-Pierre Denis, Sales Director at Grita. “They will all benefit from Claranet’s extensive pan-European operations, its strong financial footing, and an expanded services portfolio.”