Helping SMBs move to the cloud

cloud-computing-626252_640The increasing adoption of cloud computing by businesses doesn’t appear to have convinced many small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the UK to move their business application from on-premise to the cloud. The three common concerns mentioned are:

  • security of the cloud, particularly data privacy,
  • complexity of migration, the amount of time is takes to migrate, and the downtime while migrating,
  • cost of migration, with many believing that the costs are high.

Although I haven’t found the evidence, I suspect the same reluctance holds true for SMBs in other countries. The question is – are these concerns valid, and how can SMBs mitigate their concerns and the risks. Continue reading

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Why monolithic systems of record will disappear

cloud-computingI thought that having left the ERP industry I would not have any reason or inspiration to write about it, but I was wrong. My experiences since I started working in the cloud application market have led me to believe that the era of the monolithic systems of record, as typified by ERP, might be coming to an end. Continue reading

Responsiveness of cloud-based software

Clouds
For a while I have been using a web-based service called Mammoth. Mammoth allows you to save text, images and other online content, as well as notes, into a single place for later use. In my case, I use it when researching issues I need to write about, or reference, for my job as a product marketer.

Mammoth allows you to create ‘boards’ which store the content about a particular subject. Boards can be shared so that people in different locations can edit the content collaboratively. A standard board in Mammoth is ‘Talk to Us’, which is shared with the Mammoth support team, and this allows me to address any issues I have with Mammoth online. Whenever I have logged an issue, I get a response via the board usually in a few hours.

In one case, Mammoth made a change to the user interface (UI) which made it look worse for me, so I logged a note on the Talk to Us board. There was a bit more discussion and clarification about the UI issue on the board, but what interested me was that 24 hour later when I logged on to Mammoth, the UI problem had been addressed. The application was fixed and changed without me having to do a thing.

It made me re-evaluate my view of cloud-based services.

  1. A problem with an on-premise application always requires the user to do something to fix it, usually download and install a software patch. With a cloud service, the problem is fixed once in the cloud, everyone gets it at the same time, and new software has to be installed.
  2. A problem with on-premise software is reported either by a phone call or an email, which then has to be discussed and confirmed before it can be transcribed and referred to the software development team. With a cloud service, you log an issue online in one place, the issue can be quickly confirmed and then be relayed speedily to developers.

Imagine if you could do that with enterprise software – ERP, CRM, warehouse management.

  • Customers could report problems so much quicker, and probably have a better support experience
  • No need for each customer to update the software with maintenance releases to fix bugs
  • Customer could log enhancement requests in a more effective way, and perhaps even get previews of enhancements before they go live
  • The development team work on supporting one codebase, in one location, for everyone
  • No need to ship CDs of software around the world

Wouldn’t that world be better? Oh wait, it’s called Software-as-a-Service and it’s here already.

The problem is that while the promise sounds simple and wonderful, the realities of transforming to that promise require major changes in thought, approach and practice – and moreover, for traditional software vendors, major investment expense.

SYSPRO’s cloud strategy and journey

This is an interview that Dennis Howlett of Diginomica did with me about SYSPRO‘s approach and implementation of a cloud solution for its ERP software.

The accompanying article can found here.

Directions in cloud computing and software-as-a-service

I was fortunate to be invited recently by Microsoft to a seminar by well-known writer David Chappell. The seminar was given to provide Microsoft’s ISV (Independent Software Vendor) partners with insights and guidance on what to expect with, and how to prepare for, the growth of cloud-based software and software-as-a-service (SaaS). Continue reading