RBA, a Minneapolis-based technology firm and a Microsoft Partner, is deploying Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 more and more for businesses looking to capitalize on the cloud's efficiency. Cloud technology, an unproven concept until recently, has become commonplace in the modern information technology landscape.
RBA employees are finding that their "Cloud Computing 101" conversations with potential customers now frequently begin at a much higher knowledge level.
"It's definitely settled more into, 'I'm understanding the technology, it's been proven and now I'm ready to think it through for my organization,' " said Karl Populorum, RBA's vice president of sales and marketing.
That's a good thing for RBA, which has operated as a cloud specialist for several years, patiently sowing Microsoft Office 365 seeds in numerous industries. As more companies take the technology leap, more data and experiences are shared, broadening both RBA's effectiveness and customers' faith in the technology.
"That's the part that has matured," Populorum said. "People can see it in so many other parts of our lives where there's a cloud model that is supported by numerous customer examples. That's the maturity that I see the market going through right now."
Martin Bradehoft, an RBA messaging specialist, sees the same trends. He is part of the technical leadership that specializes in portal, email and instant messaging systems that are the backbone for corporate communications. Transferring those systems to the cloud has become a simpler process because of Microsoft Office 365 and customers' more informed and realistic expectations.
"We have experienced a variety of business drivers that have customers considering moving components of their business critical platform to the cloud," Bradehoft said. "Each company is unique, but after working with many customers we have begun to recognize certain scenarios, behaviors and expected outcomes that are common."
Being able to tailor cloud solutions to the customer makes a huge difference. And, those customers include nonprofit organizations, as well as health, medical, financial and government entities that must meet privacy and security thresholds aside from communications goals. The majority of these organizations are determining that Microsoft Office 365 meets and often exceeds those compliance requirements.
Although decision makers are adopting cloud technology more readily than as recently as a year ago, and, since Microsoft Office 365 offers a complete suite of business applications, the workload and expense of on-premise systems has more IT directors and CFOs asking themselves tough questions.
RBA's wisdom in understanding those differences has separated it from the IT consulting pack, establishing it as one of the nation's fastest-growing Microsoft partners.
Populorum, who remembers when RBA had only five consultants -- compared to its current 260 employees -- knows the willingness to understand clients' situations has fostered success.
"It's the personal side of things," he said. "Making it easier to engage, making it a pleasant process. Obviously the project needs to go well, but the whole process of working with and trying to serve customers -- I think RBA has done that as good or better than anybody else in the country."
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