Interview with Thomas Jordans of AIX concept at the Microsoft Education Partner Summit AIX concept is a 10 year old company and is one of the biggest System Integrators for Independent Software Vendors for education in Germany. In their journey they have met challenges particularly as they look to become a Cloud based business. They are building solutions customized for schools based on Microsoft products. This was formally only an on-premise area, but for five years they have been doing it on the Cloud through exchange and now Office 365.The way they were able to transition from on-premise to O365 was to develop solutions for provisioning Windows Live in the education sector so that they did not have to change their solutions every time. They see Office 365 as Microsoft’s settled solution. They hope it will be a little more straight forward and that there will be less changes so that customers can stop paying for deployment and only pay for support for the service. That is AIX Concept’s model. They offer services around Office 365 and Windows live Edu. Once the deployment is paid for, they offer support as a hotline service and then they have a paid service.
AIX Concept was asked how they go about selling in the Cloud, whether they lead with free aid, and if so how they monetize their product so they can pay their staff. Jordans responded saying they still have their bread and butter business. They have solutions for on-premise areas, and they make infrastructure management for solutions and then step it into the Cloud. It is easier for them to sell Cloud when it is for free. Initially they do not make money for solutions off-premise they only get paid for on-premise. When they change the on-premise services to Cloud, it is easy for customers to go to Cloud because the transition was free.
With this Hybrid model of some on premise and some on-cloud, customers can slowly dip their toes in. Jordans said it is important that his company moves slowly because overall in Germany they do not have the infrastructure to fully support Cloud because not every school has broadband access. Moving Windows 2008 servers to Azure does not work if the school has a small internet connection. It is difficult for schools to pay infrastructure services when they are used to paying for a capital investment. AIX Concept does not work with each individual school directly, instead they work with local governments that are responsible for the infrastructure in the school. For them it is interesting to put services in the Cloud, and it is cheaper. In the on-premise model, IT services was a capital investment. The payment model is different with Cloud, but overall the cost is nearly the same as now the payment is moved from capital to operations.
In Germany as more school have increased broadband access over the next five years, they will become familiar with the Cloud. On premise servers and identity management for schools will be moved into the cloud as it is easy to do provisioning for the Cloud in a single sign on way. Jorda’s does not think that schools will be interested in having remote identity management sd he does not think schools will go for losing all that data to the Cloud. In the Cloud they will just put specific data such as names and classes. They are not going to move the administration of data into the Cloud. It is not a problem overall, it is just that the solution to move more data into the Cloud does not exist yet. They are waiting for Azure Active Directory to release in the April/ May timeframe.