Status Go: Ep. 221 – Cloud Migration is Challenging & Complex | French Williams


Welcome to another episode of Status Go, where we dive deep into the world of technology and debunk common myths. In today’s episode, we have a special guest, French Williams from Royal Technologies, an advanced engineering and manufacturing company. Together with our host, Jeff Ton, they are here to break down the myth that cloud migration is complex and costly. French will share their company’s journey from a small IT shop to embracing the power of the cloud, leveraging technologies like Google Workspace and VMware. They will also discuss the benefits, challenges, and cost reduction strategies they encountered along the way. So sit back, relax, and get ready to have your preconceived notions about cloud migration shattered as we dive into this compelling conversation. Welcome to Status Go!

About French Williams

French was born and raised in Grand Rapids, MI and has served in the IT industry for over 26 years.  He received his B.S. from Michigan Technological University and his MBA from Grand Valley State University.  French has worked 2 years in software development, 6 years in network administration, 3 years in IT consulting and 16 years in IT leadership.  French is currently the Director of IT for Royal Technologies in Hudsonville, MI, where he also lives with his wife, 2 kids and dog.

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Episode Highlights

[00:00:00]: Intro and Welcome

[00:02:21]: French Williams’ Career Journey

[00:04:08]: Career Longevity

[00:04:41]: Royal Technologies’ Tech Stack

[00:07:20]: On-Premises vs. Cloud

[00:08:46]: DR to DRaaS

[00:12:53]: To DRaaS in the Cloud and The Travis Wilson Fan Club

[00:17:00]: Cloud Migration for Production

[00:21:23]: Migration Approach

[00:22:31]: Reducing Complexity and New Capabilities

[00:25:09]: Controlling Costs

[00:27:38]: Do It All Over Again?

[00:30:41]: Bust That Myth

[00:34:20]: Go do THIS Tomorrow

[00:36:06]: Wrap Up and Close


Episode Transcript

French Williams [00:00:00]:

The migration was actually done with InterVision and my network engineer, it happened. We were running, and everything seemed to be working just fine. And then I got our first bill. We were seeing about a 42% decrease in our monthly DR bill. When it comes to cloud, the economies of scale are there, and they’re real. And this, I think, was just a perfect first example of realizing that value.

Jeff Ton [00:00:52]:

Welcome back to our continuing series, Myth Busters: Cloud, Security, and Innovation. Like the much more famous MythBusters TV show, we’re going to dive into several myths, and through interviews, case studies, and data, we’re going to bust that myth. Follow us over the next several months as we share blogs, infographics, and of course, podcast episodes. On the second Monday of each month, we will interview a peer, CIO, CTO, or business owner who has successfully busted the myth of the month. Two weeks later, we will hear from an InterVision expert who will further destroy that myth.

Now, one of the myths that we hear most often when speaking with technology professionals is that cloud migration is complex and costly. Tech trade publications are full of stories of migrations gone wrong, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Today we are joined by French Williams of Royal Technologies, an advanced engineering and manufacturing company focused on the automotive, furniture, and consumer products industries. And together, we are going to bust that myth!

With that. Welcome to Status Go, French.

French Williams [00:02:11]:

Thank you, Jeff. Appreciate you having me. Longtime listener and subscriber. So, it’s neat to be on this side of the podcast for once.

Jeff Ton [00:02:21]:

I love that. I love to hear the longtime listeners, and it’s great to have one of our listeners join us on the show. I’d love for the other listeners to get to know you a bit. French, would you mind sharing a little bit about your career journey thus far?

French Williams [00:02:38]:

Yeah, absolutely. So, it started out graduated from Michigan Tech in the mid-90s after leaving graduate school, worked some temp It jobs as I waited for my future wife to graduate from Tech. Did a lot of web development because the Internet was really just getting kicked off in the mid-90s. So got a lot of contract work for companies like Amway and some smaller companies just getting websites built and stood up.

So once my wife did graduate, we moved to Wausau, Wisconsin, where I started out as a temp worker, working in an IT department, migrating a large accounting firm from Microsoft DOS to NT 4.0…to age myself a little bit there. During that process, started learning more, got my Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer certificate, and then got into the consulting world with the same accounting company.

Eventually, moved back home to West Michigan, where I worked some network admin jobs. I did a couple more years of consulting with a local consulting firm until I found my home here at Royal Technologies, where I have been for the last 21 years. And Royal gave me the opportunity during that time to start as a network admin kind of work my way up. I’m now the director of IT here and actually just completed my master’s at Grand Valley University not too long ago.

Jeff Ton [00:04:08]:

Oh, that’s fantastic. So, 21 years that’s a long time to be at an organization. What’s kept you there so long?

French Williams [00:04:16]:

That’s an easy question. It’s the people. The people here have just been amazing, and it makes it easy to come to work when you’ve got good people all working and pulling together on the same problems and the same opportunities. And it’s across the board. It’s from the C suite down to the shop floor, just an outstanding group of people that just makes it easy to show up to work every day.

Jeff Ton [00:04:41]:

That is a heck of a testimony. I tell you when you’ve been at someplace so long, and you immediately say, “It’s the people.” The people keep you there. That’s tremendous. Well, let’s switch kind of to the other side. We know about the people at Royal Tech. What’s the tech stack like at Royal today?

French Williams [00:05:03]:

Yeah, we’re a little unique in one respect in that we are a huge…we have been, I guess…it’s called Google Workspace now, but it was back when it was called Google Apps for your domain. About 2009, we switched over from that. We were on an Exchange 2000 server and needed to move to something else, and we made the leap at that time, and we’ve been a happy customer ever since.

And we’ve kind of grown in that ecosystem. We’ve largely replaced most of our Windows machines with Chromebooks. We’ve got over 800, almost 900 in circulation right now. We’re using App Delivery to deliver Windows apps, so we’re using a solution called Kameo to do that. We do still do some VDI with VMware’s Horizon product for our end users, and we still have a smattering of a couple of handfuls of Windows machines here and there for various reasons. But for the large part, we are really in the Chrome, the Google ecosystem at this point.

Yeah, on the data center side, heavily virtualized, I would say probably about 95% using VMware’s solution, mostly Windows servers. We run a very customized ERP system that is based on a manufacturing system called Syteline that we installed basically in 2002. And we have customized it even to the point where we’ve developed our own web-based HTML front ends. We rewrote the MRP process and added serialization poll-based replenishments. It’s basically our system at this point. And I’ve been blessed to have a team of IT developers here that are just outstanding, and they’ve made some really great tools for us.

But in relation to that, and we might get into this a little later, is that we’re actually in the middle of an ERP implementation. So, as we’ve grown as a company, unfortunately or fortunately, we’ve outgrown our homegrown system, and we’ve partnered with QAD, and we are in the process of migrating from our homegrown system to the QAD-hosted solution.

Jeff Ton [00:07:20]:

Oh, awesome. Yeah, your tech journey sounds familiar. When I was CIO at Goodwill, we went down the Google path as well, and we’re kind of faced with the same thing, right? You’re on Exchange, and you’ve got these servers in-house, and what do you do? You’re faced with another upgrade. And we went Google as well. We did not go Chromebooks…all the way to that. So, it’s great to hear that.

So, before this ERP – and I know we’re going to talk about QAD again in our conversation –  French, where are you in percentage of on-prem versus percentage cloud? Where would you guess you guys are right now?

French Williams [00:08:08]:

I figured this would come up, and it’s tough to give it a percentage simply because if you’re just talking server workloads like Windows machines, we’re probably 33% in the cloud and 66% here on-prem. But when you look at in totality of everything we do from an IT stack at Royal, it’s a lot more. I mean, we’ve just got terabytes and terabytes of data stored on Google Drive and in Gmail. So, if you’re talking from a storage perspective, we are probably like 80% cloud, 20% on-prem.

Jeff Ton [00:08:46]:

Okay, so you’re on that journey, and it sounds like you’re continuing on the migration journey. And I know Royal has been a great customer of InterVision for really more than a decade, I think, right? Going back to the Bluelock days, you were a DRaaS customer…disaster recovery as a service. Take us on that journey starting from when DR was an on-prem strategy for Royal. How did you decide which way to go, and then what was that migration like?

French Williams [00:09:22]:

Oh, yeah, that’s a fun story. So, you give me a lot of credit saying that we had a DR strategy before we started the talks with Bluelock at the time. But we had a closet in a plant that had some old IT equipment in it. We had some software that we were using to replicate some of our key systems over to that closet. And as we grew as a company and we’ve grown, I think, we’re, I’m trying to think, at least five times the size we were when I started. We realized that the closet just wasn’t going to cut it anymore.

So, we started to investigate. We went out to current partners. We called new folks to bring in to see what they offered from a disaster recovery capability. And one of the things that kind of concerned us as we were navigating that world was there were a lot of companies that were willing to do whatever you wanted. It’s like, hey, we’ll bring up some hardware to match your hardware. We’ll do this. We’ll have the special runbook just for you that we’ll run if you ever have to declare a disaster. And it just seemed like everyone had…they were customizing solutions for each individual company that they were working for.

And in the back of my mind the whole time, I’m like, man, that just isn’t scalable. You’re going to work with somebody that’s going to build that runbook, but when the disaster hits, that person may no longer be around. You might even be dealing with an intern, for all I know, when the disaster hits, that’s trying to figure out what’s going on with the run book. And actually, I don’t even remember how we got connected with Bluelock, but thankfully we did. And the interesting approach they had, which really kind of surprised me, was they said, well, let’s first talk and see if you’re a good match for what? Where everyone else was like, oh yeah, we’ll do whatever you want. They were like, hey, you know what? Let’s see if you’re a good match for us.

And really, they wanted to make sure that we were virtualized enough where Bluelock was going to be a good match. And thankfully, at the time we were, we had already heavily invested in VMware and had made that leap from physical to virtual servers. So, we were already 95% virtual in the data center at that point. So, they introduced us to Zerto and how they use that to replicate VM images from one data center to another.

The first time I saw VMware and watched a server move from one physical host to another with no downtime, I thought that was magic. But when I saw Zerto just doing the same thing across data centers, yeah, that was probably the second time where it was like I was watching magic happen. So, yeah, we were sold with a solution because they were doing the same thing with all of their customers. Our runbook really wasn’t going to be that much different than anyone else’s. So, we were fitting into a standard practice that Bluelock was. Yeah, so we signed the agreements with them. We were using a Switch data center over in Las Vegas, which I actually had the opportunity to tour, which is amazing.

Jeff Ton [00:12:32]:

Pretty amazing, isn’t it?

French Williams [00:12:33]:

Yeah, those things are pretty slick. And we continued using them for years. And then, of course, the merger with InterVision and Bluelock happened, which opened up some other opportunities, which I’m sure we’re going to talk about.

Jeff Ton [00:12:53]:

Well, let’s talk about that.

So, you were replicating from your data centers, I assume in Michigan, to the Switch Data Center run by InterVision. You made the decision at some point to change that replication, to go to one of the hyper-scale clouds…to AWS. What was that decision process like, and what was that migration like?

French Williams [00:13:29]:

So how did that happen? Uh, my account manager is Travis Wilson, who I’m a huge fan of. I’m the president of Travis Wilson’s fan club.

Jeff Ton [00:13:40]:

And I’m vice president, for the record.

French Williams [00:13:44]:

And you’ll understand why when I get done with this story.

But when the InterVision thing happened, and I was taking a look at InterVision and seeing that they had a lot of cloud expertise and Bluelock had a lot of DR expertise, and Dr was one of my largest budgetary line items for the year. And in the back of my mind, I’m like, man, it would be really nice if we could combine what Bluelock has from DR with InterVision’s cloud expertise and use the economies of scale with Amazon specifically to be able to reduce my DR costs.

So that was really kind of what I was thinking. I saw an opportunity to lower one of my largest bills. So, I talked to Travis about it, said, “Hey, what do you think of this?” Of course, there wasn’t anything in the product pipeline at the time. No one had really done a proof of concept on whether or not that would work. But Travis got the right people together. In fact, it was one of the guys that actually was our implementation technical resource from Bluelock, I believe, was the guy who was doing the proof of concept with doing everything with AWS.

And it took a little while. I mean, there was about a year and a half or so kind of back and forth, hey, how’s the project? Have you figured things out? And finally, I got the words like, yeah, we can give this a shot. And the migration was actually done with InterVision. And my network engineer, I was, from a technical perspective, pretty hands-off, but there were one or two small hiccups. But overall, it happened. We were running Zerto, the same product. It was just, instead of going to Switch, it was going over to an AWS data center, and everything seemed to be working just fine. And then I got our first bill… And again, and this is when I became the president of the Travis Wilson Fan Club, is that we were seeing about a 42% decrease in our monthly DR bill. So, yeah, when it comes to cloud, the economies of scale are there, and they’re real. And this, I think, was just a perfect first example of realizing that value.

Jeff Ton [00:16:02]:

Well, we love InterVision to hear those kinds of stories where we are able to help our clients, the people, right? You! Royal Technologies? Yes. But you, we’re able to help you be a hero within your own organization by doing this.

Now, we’re going to pause right here, French, for a word from InterVision. They are the publisher of the Status Go podcast. So, we’ll be right back after this message.

Jeff Ton [00:17:00]:

And if you do want to learn more, visit, and you can learn about the myths that we have been busting during this series and maybe a little bit of a preview of the myths that are still to be busted coming up.

Right now we’re talking with French Williams, French is with Royal Technologies, and French is helping us bust the myth that cloud migration is costly and complex. And I want to switch gears. We’ve been talking about their disaster recovery environment, and I want to switch to the production environment. So French, what has your approach been on cloud and cloud migration for production?

French Williams [00:17:44]:

Sure. Just for some background, we’re 1300 total employees here at Royal. We’re across three regions. We’ve got facilities in Michigan, Alabama, and Texas. But when it comes to our IT infrastructure, I basically have a two-man team. So, I have a network engineer and a network administrator. So, we’ve got another group that handles Help Desk. There are currently four people in that group. And then we’ve got five developers who develop our custom web apps and ERP solution.

So having basically a two-man team on infrastructure, we tend to go slow, and we try to learn things. The other thing is that we’re also generalists. We rely heavily on our partners to help us when it comes to data center refreshes, infrastructure refreshes, and those types of projects. So, with that, we tend to go slow and experiment and see what things work and what things don’t. We did that with the migration to VMware. So, we had a whole bunch of physical servers racked in our data center. I think now we’ve got just basically two Cisco UCS chassis with some blades in them is what it’s all come down to.

So, it’s not as much from a hardware perspective versus what it was, but we took that journey very slowly. We put some hardware with a SAN in place, and we did our own conversions. So, we ran the software that converted it from a physical to a virtual computer, and we did it on like utility servers first…things that just ran some very simple apps. And then we just worked our way up into complexity until we were actually virtualizing our ERP system.

So we’re basically taking, and we learned as we went, so we found some things that worked that didn’t, some things that increased the chances of success, and some best practices. And so yeah, by the end of it, we got our ERP system virtualized, and was working well.

And like I said, we’re taking that same kind of slower approach with cloud. So, we’ve gone through a lot of the low-hanging fruit. So, we’ve moved those up to and again, because we’re a Google customer, our primary for on-prem migration to the cloud is…yeah. So, we’ve gotten through most of the low-hanging fruit. We’re now working into more production-heavy applications.

The other thing that we’re actually doing a lot of, just server retirements. We’re getting out of the business of using this particular service on the network, whatever. So, let’s just get these servers retired. So, it’s kind of a combination of “Let’s just get some old servers that we’re not using to their capacity anymore. We’re getting away from that function, get those off. And the ones that we’re still using, let’s move them up.”

The ERP project, like I said, I think that we’re at 33% on prem and 66 in the cloud. That will completely flip once we’re through the ERP because so much of the existing workload is ERP-related right now. So, once we’re through that implementation, that’ll instantly flip, and then we’ll just have a few handfuls of servers that will have to move up to the cloud, and then at that point, we’re out of the data center business.

Jeff Ton [00:21:23]:

Well, I like the approach that you’re taking. It sounds like with leaving the ERP, not necessarily the last, but pretty close to last, you’ve saved the best for last. And yeah, I’m using air quotes on a podcast where you can’t see me. An ERP for most companies is the heart and soul of their organization. How have you been approaching that migration, specifically?

French Williams [00:21:50]:

Yeah. Well, with that, we’re partnering with QAD. They’re the experts of the application. They know how to run it best, and they know what hardware works the best. So, they actually currently are running their own data centers. The one that will be hosted at is in Colorado. So, it’s not a typical public cloud instance, but that is the direction that QAD is taking their product. So, they, I believe, are looking at AWS as the eventual host of their cloud-based ERP solution. And we’re happy to go on that journey with yeah, yeah.

Jeff Ton [00:22:31]:

I would assume that part of the goal, in addition to the other benefits you get from going to a hosted environment and then eventually to a pure SaaS environment, is to reduce the complexity of the work that you all have to do on the back end. Right?

French Williams [00:22:54]:

Absolutely. Like I mentioned, we’re a relatively small IT shop of generalists, and it’s all about keeping it simple and trying to move as much complexity out of the environment as we can. Again, we’re moving things slowly. We’re watching costs as we move things to make sure that we’re doing it responsibly. As I said, as much as we’ve moved…if I look at my ten-year cost of a data center and refreshes and all that stuff, I’ve got plenty of headroom when it comes to a monthly cloud spend, and we haven’t even really touched it yet.

So, yeah, just moving some of that complexity elsewhere so that my two network guys can focus on connectivity and just basic Cisco infrastructure things and leave the data center, the cooling, the power, and all that stuff to somebody else.

Yeah, the other thing that we’re noticing too, just in relation to that is keeping it simple, but embracing the cloud really gives us access to things that we could never have on our own. One of the big opportunities that we’re taking advantage of is data warehousing.

So, Google’s got a product called Big Query, which is just this huge data warehouse that you can just dump terabytes and terabytes of data to. And one of the interesting economics behind Big Query is that you can store as much as you want up there for free. The cost is in querying it. So, when you build your dashboards and your analytics against the data warehouse, how efficiently you write some of those queries really is what controls how much you’re spending there.

But I will tell you, we replaced a lot of manual Excel spreadsheets with data pipelines right to a data warehouse and giving people access to data dashboards so that people can explore the data…they can drill in and really see what’s going on, do some root cause analysis. And we’re doing it for pennies compared to what it would take us to do all of that internally. And it’s been a big win for us.

Jeff Ton [00:25:09]:

That’s huge. I was not familiar with that product from Google and the way that they price it. Storage, while not overly expensive, storage can be a huge expense for organizations, especially when you’re talking about terabytes of data in your data warehouse.

What other things have you done as you’re in this migration and you’re taking this pragmatic approach, this slow approach to this migration? What things have you done to control costs as you’ve been doing this?

French Williams [00:25:45]:

So, we have a partner that we work with that actually has a…it’s very similar to the analytics dashboards that we’ve created. In fact, I think it’s using Big Query and some of the things in the background where they’re storing all of our spend and what that looks like. So, we’ve got the analytics to really dive in and say, “All right, what are we spending on? Do we have a spike? What caused that spike?”

This is a lesson learned, too, is that as you get more familiar and more comfortable in the cloud, one of the things that will happen is that it’s so easy to spin something up and play with it and then forget about it. So, the reporting has to look for those types of things and say, “All right, this hasn’t been touched or accessed in a while”, and make sure you’re cleaning those things up, because that’ll catch up to you in a hurry if you’re not keeping an eye on it. But, yeah, it’s basically just the discipline of keeping an eye on the spend and making sure you’re not leaving any money on the table there, because you’re just not paying attention.

Jeff Ton [00:26:53]:

Are you using mostly built-in tools to keep an eye on the spend. Or you mentioned this dashboard. Is that a third-party tool?

French Williams [00:27:00]:

It is a third-party tool, yes. Okay. That’s our primary tool that we’re using to keep an eye on the spend. I also get alerts, so we’ve got that set up where I’ve got a budget, a monthly budget, and I get an alert when I’m 50% at budget. And typically, I see the email come in, I look at the calendar. If it’s only the 9th day of the month and I’m already at 50% of my budget, then it’s a call and say, hey, we’re spending a lot more this month than we were last according to our budget, what’s going on? So, we’ve got some of that as well, just so we can be a little more proactive on what might be happening.

Jeff Ton [00:27:38]:

Yeah, I’m sure a lot of our listeners can relate to that. When you said that, I was thinking of my cell phone and getting that alert from AT&T saying, “Hey, you almost used all your data.” And I look, and it’s the fifth, and it’s like, “Oh my!”

So, a lot of times on Status Go French. I love to have our guests get out their crystal ball and predict the future. I’m going to ask you to get in a time machine and go back in time and ask you for lessons learned. What would you do differently if you could start down this cloud path and do it over again?

French Williams [00:28:21]:

It’s a good question, and if I’m being honest, not much because we’re really happy where we’re at right now.

Jeff Ton [00:28:30]:

That’s awesome.

French Williams [00:28:32]:

And part of it is this journey feels similar to us. Like I mentioned, with the journey that we’re on with VMware, it’s just another evolution of that same journey. And I think because we had gone through that and we navigated that pretty successfully, we’re just kind of repeating some of the lessons that we learned during that process and just applying it to cloud because, at the end of the day, it’s very similar to moving from a physical to a virtual. In this instance, though, the virtual computer is just running on somebody else’s computer.

Jeff Ton [00:29:10]:

Yeah, it’s really the only difference, giving you another layer of abstraction. You don’t have to worry about the hardware.

French Williams [00:29:17]:

I will always say, though that, and I think this is what’s really helped us out, is just again, I mentioned my team is just a couple of guys, but the whole team,  the developers, help desk, the network fellas they all love to and even mean I went out just because I knew we were heading down the was…I think it expired…but a Google Certified Cloud Architect, I’ve got my network engineer is a Google Cloud Certified Network Engineer.

So, we’re going down those certification paths, we’re learning the tools we’re kind of becoming even though we’re generalists, we at least understand the capabilities of the tools and, at a high level, what we can get out of them. And I think that’s an important part of the journey. We did the same thing with VMware is just, all right, what can these tools do? What are its capabilities, and how far can we push them?

So, I think that helps us stay within the fences. We don’t get into trouble because I think we have a very good foundation of what the cloud can and can’t do as we start growing into it. So, I would just encourage folks that if you have the time to take it and use it as an opportunity, as a learning opportunity, to really dig into the tool that you choose.

Jeff Ton [00:30:41]:

I love that you’ve given yourself, but your team also the opportunity to learn. So many times, I hear of shops that they bring in the outside experts. They do the migration to the cloud while the internal team keeps the lights on the existing architecture and doesn’t really have that opportunity to learn. So, I love that you did that.

Well, now it’s time to really stick a pin in this myth and bust the myth. What would you say to a peer IT leader who told you they are reticent to migrate to the cloud because migration is too complex or too costly?

French Williams [00:31:25]:

When I hear that question, the first thing that comes to mind is when we decided to move to Google, we were getting a lot of the same messages, but what I learned was most of those messages were coming from Microsoft Exchange engineers. No, you don’t want to do that. Email needs to be inside. You can’t move it out there. You lose control. It’s messy. There were a lot of myths 10, 12 years ago when it came to using services that are commonplace now, like Google Workspace and Office 365.

There was a similar message then, and it seems like when it comes to moving entire data centers, not just email, that same reasoning is happening. So, the first question would be like, well, who’s telling you that? Is it your network engineer who’s got 30 years of experience in the technology that he’s supporting today? So that would have been just double check your source.

The other thing would be, it’s not an all-or-nothing. Find those opportunities. Find the opportunities like we did with disaster recovery. Find the opportunities you can with just other areas of the business, whether it’s, hey, I just want to get this one server upgraded and moved off of my data center for whatever, just find some of those opportunities, those quick wins, those things that can help you learn.

Because I think once you get into it and you see again the economies of scale that are available, the capabilities that are suddenly at your fingertips, that you’re just not going to have. I mean, we’re VPNed into Google now, and I can spin up resources anywhere in the. World. I can have a data center in North Carolina and one over in Germany. And actually, during COVID that actually helped us out. We had a customer that had a German office, and because everyone was VPNing in, we couldn’t get CAD from their network because their international VPN was just saturated. There was just no way. So, I ended up spinning up a computer in Germany, then using that computer to connect just over the local German network to download the CAD that we needed, and then transferred it over Google’s network to where we needed.

Yeah, I mean, just having that flexibility, to spin up resources anywhere you want, and having redundant networks. And there are things like load balancers. I would never be able to afford a load balancer on my own to put it on my network, but I can spin one up and pay a few pennies an hour for one Google provides because I’m just taking a share of theirs. So, I think there’s a lot of those things. If you do the research, if you look into it, you’ll find opportunities that not only reduce complexity for you but reduce cost…they’re there.

Jeff Ton [00:34:20]:

Yeah. Well, and as a longtime listener of Status Go, you know we love to ask each of our guests this final question. What are one or two things that our listeners should go do tomorrow, because they listen to our conversation today?

French Williams [00:34:45]:

I would always start with strategy. Again, our strategy is largely based around what it serves within the context of Royal Technologies. We are an advanced engineering and manufacturing company. We’re not an IT company. So, for us, it’s all about reducing cost, reducing complexity, and providing a stable uptime. And part of our mantra is we like to provide excellent customer service as well. All of our guys are like normal people. We treat others as we want to be treated. I think that’s kind of the key thing that people tell us, differentiates our entire It group from other IT departments that they’ve worked in. But again, it really starts, what’s my strategy? And then educating yourself about the cloud and learning about what the opportunities are there to enable that strategy. Because if you’re just getting in the cloud because it’s the new shiny thing, then I say you’re doing it wrong. So, you’ve got to have a strategy that’s really driving your action, and then hopefully you find those opportunities in the cloud to really accelerate that strategy and make it a reality.

Jeff Ton [00:36:06]:

I love those actions. Define your strategy and then take the time to learn…something that our listeners can all do tomorrow.

French, thank you so much for joining us today. I know you are in the midst of an ERP migration, which many of our listeners just got cold shutters up and down their spines when you said that earlier. So, I appreciate you carving out the time for us.

French Williams [00:36:35]:

It’s been an absolute pleasure. Jeff, this is my first podcast ever to be on, one that I actually subscribe to and listen to while I’m walking the dog every day is awesome. So, in fact, my wife just texted me, and she said, “Good luck on the podcast today.”

Jeff Ton [00:36:53]:

Oh, fantastic.

Well, you did a great job, and we’ll have you back to talk more, and maybe we’ll see each other at the Travis Wilson Fan Club meeting coming up.

French Williams [00:37:01]:

Sounds good. You’ve got the T-shirts, right?

Jeff Ton [00:37:05]:

Definitely. Definitely.

To our listeners, if you have a question or want to learn more, be sure and visit To review the show notes, go to Those show notes will provide links and contact information. This is Jeff Ton for French Williams, thank you very much for listening.

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