SugarCon Speaker Spotlight: Mike Vetter – CEO of DataSync

Leading up to the SugarCon event, I will be highlighting some of our partners speaking at the event. SugarCRM has created an amazing ecosystem of technology, ISV and VARs in only a few short years. These companies are doing a lot of cool things that either tie-in to SugarCRM, or simply better enable your CRM deployment.

DataSync is one of those companies that helps you bring your CRM system to a new level – all in the cloud. The company provides an integrated platform where you can link your accounting, CRM, email and other tools together in the cloud to lower your overall costs, but also the complexity of your IT department.

DataSync CEO Mike Vetter is giving a talk at SugarCon called “The Cloud is Suite: Running Your Entire Business in the Cloud.” I had a chat with Mike to talk about his take on cloud computing, business software, and how concepts are meshing in interesting ways.

What is the most profound way in which the cloud has changed the nature of business technology?

The greatest thing about the cloud is that it makes it easier to purchase, deploy and maintain business applications.

That said, the challenge is that we have companies with all these different apps in the cloud – it gets clunky.  They are managing them in a one-to-one manner, and they aren’t talking to each other. What we’re doing is taking these apps and consolidating them into one system. So, with us it is not just apps in the cloud, but also a system to make them more productive. Businesses need a single information source for this system to make it easier to maintain and manage. End user organizations don’t always want to think about managing data from a bunch of different cloud providers – so one source of service and support makes sense.

In my SugarCon session I’ll be bringing in Sugar partners and employees talking about how you can deploy in the cloud even if you want custom work done. With the tools available now, the customer gets a great, integrated product complete with customizations and they didn’t have to do everything from scratch – which increases cost and time to go live.

Does the cloud lift any barriers to smaller businesses?  Or is deep interoperability and integration still only for the big guys?

Our average customer when we launched was five users. So this model is definitely benefitting smaller businesses. I would argue that the reason the cloud wasn’t accessible or caused concerns, was because there were a lot of hybrid cloud/on site deployments out there, which added complexity and required IT to manage.  We’re making the cloud accessible and saying “you can get rid of all your servers.” So that hybrid environment is disappearing slowly – which allows smaller businesses to free up IT costs.

Also – bundling a lot of cloud-based applications, with the economies of scale on our side, allows a small business to be up and running on many integrated applications in the cloud for much less investment than if they themselves went and purchased each application.

The big enterprise ETL companies provide a very valuable service – but not all of our customers need that.  They just want to get peoples’ calendars synched across apps, want to make accounts in their ERP systems and CRM synched – things like that – our DataSync suite is perfect for that.

The great thing is getting all the applications and the integrations – all in the cloud – from one provider.

Are there any business scenarios where you don’t see the cloud as a wise choice?

A lot of our customers have one IT guy that likes to install all their software on site, but that is not always a great model from a support and management perspective. That’s our target market, and showing them how much time and money they can save while increasing their experience tends to bring them around.

But, there are still a lot of reasons why a company won’t or can’t go to the cloud. Regulatory reasons, very highly customized systems, etc. – you’re not going to go in the cloud.  And we have DataSync Suite On Site to address that.

A lot of times, I think there is more of a cultural barrier to adopting apps in the cloud. Just like some organizations are biased against open source, some are either hesitant or simply against the cloud for some reason. It has nothing to do with security or reliability or customization – it’s just a predisposition.

How has the cloud changed the business models for organizations like yours?

The cloud has done a lot of amazing things for software vendors, their resellers, and enabling technology providers. More value has been injected into the model at every turn thanks to the cloud.

What I mean, is that there is the value creation of great technology, delivered in a simple conduit called the cloud. But now, partners and enabling technology providers can communicate and operate much more effectively. To give an example, for DataSync, we can now more easily talk to providers of (email software) Zimbra and work with them to distribute and communicate the value of SugarCRM – with the combined entity managed at a low cost in the cloud by us.

Just as the cloud can create an ecosystem of applications that work together seamlessly, allowing businesses to save time and money – the technology provider ecosystem is benefitting from the cloud as well. The interoperability promised by the cloud allows us to finally provide the hard business value these technologies were designed to provide.

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