In the last two years or so the idea of software as a service has become quite a hot topic. Cloud Computing is a new(er) technology which is best described as an architecture in which companies can 'rent' technology services on the internet, rather than 'own
ing' their own.
Consisting of a shared data center where you can log in, customize applications and be up and running in under a week, and with a plethora of apps to choose from - CRM to HR and Accounting to custom - the possibilities seem endless. At a fraction of the cost of in-house systems, this looks like a great way for SMB's to better manage overhead cost and ROI in terms of a new IT investment, not to mention the ability to utilize employees to generate more business (instead of managing the system.)
As an up and coming trend, Cloud Computing is behind
many of the online conferences and marketing trends in development today.
Some features and benefits include:
- Built in security, reliability & upgradeability
- Minimized risk involving application development and implementation
- Web-services integration
- Analytics, offline access and mobile deployment
- Speed application development
- Automated upgrades & real-time reporting
- Multiple languages and currencies
In conclusion, cloud computing is a viable option in today's business environments. Given more time there will certainly be more standards and assurance for the consumer. Our best advice would be to research potential vendors thoroughly, check references, start slow, and read your contract carefully. Additionally you'll want to determine how you plan on using the cloud and in what ways it will be the most beneficial to your organization.