|By Richard Minney||
|November 26, 2012 08:00 AM EST||
In a tough economic climate everyone is looking for ways to cut costs without sacrificing performance. More and more small and mid-size businesses are realizing the benefits of business management software. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and other business management tools are prohibitively expensive to develop in-house and there's simply no need when you can find great solutions in the marketplace; however, buying a product straight off-the-shelf can prove to be a false economy.
What Are the Risks?
Your first headache when implementing any new software or service is going to be integration. Do you have a dedicated IT department with time to roll out new software? Many packages have a steep learning curve and installation can be more problematic than expected. There will also be ongoing overhead involved in keeping the software up to date.
If you intend to plug into existing systems, then compatibility and security will be another concern. Will you need to splash out for multiple software packages in order to effectively manage and analyze your business? Will those solutions play nicely together? Do you have compliance issues in terms of security guarantees for your customers?
You should also look to cater for mobile device access, which is increasingly complicated by the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. Secure access to the information and functionality that you need, wherever you happen to be, is essential if you are really going to reap the benefits of business management software.
Another major issue with most off-the-shelf options is the fact that one size does not fit all. A set of generic features cannot possibly cater to the nuances of every individual industry. You will need industry-specific solutions that have been designed by industry experts. Ideally you'll also have the ability to further tailor that software to meet the demands of your business.
The Benefits of Cloud Computing
The good news is that there are ready, cost-effective solutions that can circumvent and mitigate these concerns. SaaS can be the perfect middle ground between an expensive bespoke solution and something off-the-shelf.
Marco Limena, vice president, Operator Channels at Microsoft put it like this, "The cloud levels the playing field for SMBs, helping them compete in today's quickly changing business environment by spending less time and money on IT and more time focused on their most important priority - growing their businesses." Research by Edge Strategies revealed that "59% of companies currently using cloud services report significant productivity benefits."
By considering a cloud-based service you can eliminate installation and upgrade issues at a stroke.
Cloud-based software is growing more mobile and secure and cost-effective with every passing year. By allowing you to access your business management tools through a web browser or a mobile app, it can free you from the shackles of the desk. You can access the information you need and effectively run your business from anywhere.
An effective cloud-based solution will also enable multiple points of entry for different members of your staff. Collaboration should be a breeze with the ability to define workflows and roles and deal with situations in real-time without having to go outside the system to communicate via email, chat or phone. That should also give you a solid record of completed tasks, expenses and invoices so you have a central repository for your business records. Over time, that information can prove invaluable, especially if you choose a system capable of providing analysis and reports.
Things to Ask
With any solution you look at, it's vital to examine the ongoing support being offered. Do you have access to technical support? Can you expect to benefit from upgrades and updates to the system going forward or will you be asked to outlay more cash? Will there be any set up costs? You also need to verify the suitability of the software for your specific industry and see that it ticks off all your boxes. Does the software have industry best practices built-in for your specific sector?
Make sure you know the answers to these questions before you decide. Off-the-shelf business management software may look economical on paper, but SaaS will prove to be the smart choice over on-premise software for most businesses in the long term.
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Ar...
Nov. 21, 2014 09:15 PM EST Reads: 825
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additional...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:45 PM EST Reads: 891
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,057
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the ...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,074
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, a...
Nov. 21, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 928
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 948
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's large...
Nov. 21, 2014 06:45 PM EST Reads: 907
Verizon Enterprise Solutions is simplifying the cloud-purchasing experience for its clients, with the launch of Verizon Cloud Marketplace, a key foundational component of the company's robust ecosystem of enterprise-class technologies. The online storefront will initially feature pre-built cloud-based services from AppDynamics, Hitachi Data Systems, Juniper Networks, PfSense and Tervela. Available globally to enterprises using Verizon Cloud, Verizon Cloud Marketplace provides a one-stop shop fo...
Nov. 21, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 970
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that ...
Nov. 20, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,324
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 20, 2014 10:30 PM EST Reads: 1,198
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete...
Nov. 20, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 1,392
What do a firewall and a fortress have in common? They are no longer strong enough to protect the valuables housed inside. Like the walls of an old fortress, the cracks in the firewall are allowing the bad guys to slip in - unannounced and unnoticed. By the time these thieves get in, the damage is already done and the network is already compromised. Intellectual property is easily slipped out the back door leaving no trace of forced entry. If we want to reign in on these cybercriminals, it's hig...
Nov. 20, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,114
Infor has announced a new feature Infor CloudSuite™ Aerospace & Defense (A&D) to aid compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The ITAR function will serve as a complementary function for new or existing Infor CloudSuite A&D customers, to facilitate compliance for Infor customers that are creating a US defense article or performing a US defense service and wish to benefit from cloud-services. The ITAR regulation serves to manage handling and access requirements for dat...
Nov. 20, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,258
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
Nov. 20, 2014 04:45 PM EST Reads: 925
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to th...
Nov. 20, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,431
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
Nov. 20, 2014 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,676
Cochlear Limited, the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, has selected AppZero for easy migration of its Microsoft Windows Server 2003 applications, a major priority for IT organizations before Microsoft ends support on July 14, 2015. AppZero software enables server application migration from old operating systems to new platforms or clouds and has been proven to be ten times faster, more reliable and efficient than alternative approaches.
Nov. 20, 2014 10:24 AM EST Reads: 665
Fundamentally, SDN is still mostly about network plumbing. While plumbing may be useful to tinker with, what you can do with your plumbing is far more intriguing. A rigid interpretation of SDN confines it to Layers 2 and 3, and that's reasonable. But SDN opens opportunities for novel constructions in Layers 4 to 7 that solve real operational problems in data centers. "Data center," in fact, might become anachronistic - data is everywhere, constantly on the move, seemingly always overflowing. Net...
Nov. 20, 2014 07:30 AM EST Reads: 1,250
SYS-CON Media announced today the IBM, which offers the world’s deepest portfolio of technologies and expertise that are transforming the future of work, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON’s numerous online magazines such as Cloud Computing Journal, DevOps Journal, Virtualization Journal, and IoT Journal. IBM's campaigns focus on application testing, improving application development processes, common challenges in testing composite applications, continuous testing as part of the DevOps lifec...
Nov. 19, 2014 08:15 PM EST Reads: 1,458