What is Cloud Technology
Cloud technology is where infrastructure, platforms, servers and software applications are provided as a service to end-users remotely via the internet.
In Simple, instead of running servers and software applications physically ONSITE your office, you could be using them as a service provided by Cloud vendors OFFSITE.
In general cloud services are subscription-based and businesses enjoy continuous product support, maintenance & version upgrades.
Cloud Technology Benefits
Some of the benefits of cloud technology are listed below.
1. Save on Electricity Running Costs (Server/Air-conditioning/etc)
2. Save on IT personnel Cost for hardware/software maintenance & upgrades
3. Scalable Computing Power & Storage based on Demand
4. Increased Reliability of Data Backup & Disaster Recovery
5. Affordable & Readily Deployable via most devices using Internet browsers
6. Available 24/7 anywhere in the world as long there is internet connection
7. Easier Management as there is NO physical hardware or software platforms
8. And more!
Software as a Service (SaaS) Cloud Technology
There are mainly 3 types of cloud technology, Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS) and the Software as a service (SaaS). With reference to the comparison chart diagram below, the red sections are managed by the business directly and the green managed by external service providers. Looking at the extreme right column, the Software as a Service (SaaS) platform would be very attractive and cost effective for small to medium businesses as it requires very little hardware and software investment. The entire platform could be a pay as you go model which lowers entry costs and savings can go to other parts of the business. Not only does this save costs but also valuable time in procuring and maintaining hardware and software licenses.
The iNTRANETcloud™ is an example of a SaaS technology.
SaaS in SIMPLE
1. Software applications are accessed over the Internet and NOT installed on computers.
2. Software updates & upgrades are applied automatically.
3. Data is stored in the vendor’s data center instead of on the computers.
4. SaaS are usually subscription-based instead of one-time payment.
SaaS QUICK START
The easiest cloud technology to adopt for SMEs would be the Software as a service (SaaS). This is mainly due to the fact that most of the IT components are cloud-based and provided as a service by the vendor.
An example would be a cloud-based Intranet application where all employees in a SME can connect online to one single portal easily to perform business tasks such as managing customers, products, services, quotes and etc.
This also promotes better top-level management, staff collaboration, business transparency, efficient workflow processes and much more.
Our Recommended Steps for Cloud Deployment
1. Identify areas of business that could be automated or improved upon via Cloud solutions.
E.g. CRM, Quotes, Invoices, Products, Manufacturing, Staff Management & etc
2. Research and Source online or through a IT Consultant/Firm for the Cloud solutions.
3. Get Cloud solutions that offer a minimum of 30 days FREE and FULL access Trial.
4. Import some simulated business data into trial system either automatically if available or via the Software vendor.
5. Thoroughly test the system with everyone in the company over 20 days at least.
6. Get feedback from all staff on the use of the system and any other matters.
7. Consult the Software vendor on critical feedbacks and if they can be addressed.
8. Ensure Software vendor is reputable by checking their business profile, product knowledge and customer support. If possible, ensure the Software vendor has a local presence either directly or through a local Partner. Local representative or Partner must also be checked for reputation. If possible arrange a face to face in person meeting.
9. Check that pricing is reasonable for what the solution is offering and never get into a long-term fixed contract unless it is really beneficial to do so.
10. Enter into Service Level Agreement and start using the Cloud-based Software Solution!
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