Tag Archives: cloud computing

Move inventory into your Salesforce Cloud.

Already using Salesforce to manage your Sales and Marketing?  You need to consider many business applications have a SAAS cloud offering which compliments Salesforce – why not consider putting your inventory management functions into the cloud as well?

I want to give you 4 good reasons why this should be a serious consideration for any business

  1. Save time for more important things

Most business owners are time poor,  spending time on non-core functions takes away from time that could be spent on growing the business or servicing the customer.  It makes sense to select best practice tools such as RIO inventory – and put the running of those tools in the cloud.

2. Get Better flexibility from your IT spend

A cloud-based inventory application like RIO inventory provides the flexibility for you to be able to react to business needs anywhere at anytime. Interfacing with your inventory on mobile devices means if something goes wrong you are only moments away from addressing.

3. Best practice Security

Security needs are regularly ranked as a high priority for all businesses.  Building this capability from the ground up is costly and can be outdated quickly.  Placing your inventory into the cloud using a tool like RIO inventory means you can benefit from best practice cloud-based security

4. Have better options on how you spend your IT budget

You obviously want performance which is stable and delivers predictable service.  The traditional way of doing things means large amounts of your IT budgets it tied up just keeping the lights on.  Consider moving away from owning and running infrastructure,  and put functions like inventory management into the cloud. This will free up IT budget to either be saving on your bottom line or redeployed to help grow the business.

Taking your Business Mobile – to the cloud or not?

Thinking about getting access to your business data while mobile, but confused about the Cloud. Which service?, which cloud?, do I need to change my business process to match?

One of the challenges that cloud vendors have is that to drive consistency, everyone needs to act the same, but not all business processes are the same.  Many businesses struggle to fit into the cloud model without significant change to business process, but customising business processes in cloud platforms is not always straightforward.

Taking a cloud offering and deploying to a business without ensuring that access to existing data and process is catered for is a sure recipe for failure. Sometimes you need to step back and remember again, why you wanted to move in the first place. Perhaps you want better tools without the headache of managing the platforms they run on. Or perhaps you want cheaper tools. Perhaps it is the new UI and replacing old green screen type applications that interests you.

Whatever your reason, here are my top tips for checking that you are ready, have the right motives, and the right team for a successful move to the cloud.

1) Know why you need to move. Determine your top 3 reasons for a move to the cloud and evaluate each option against all 3.

2) Understand that clouds work best and are cheapest when you conform to the common use cases. If you can adapt your business processes then you will get superior tools at cheaper prices than custom ones.

3) Know what other data and systems need to be migrated or integrated for the new tools to work.  Your staff will hate the new tool if they cannot get the data they need to do their job. You may need to look at integration right up front. Take a look here for the WDCi integration planning Guide: http://www.wdcigroup.net/rio_planning_guide.html

4) Know who is helping you. Getting it right can be tricky. Not all clouds are equal. Some are more customisable and support integration easier than others. Make sure you are comfortable that your partner/implementer knows your full requirements and can help you meet them.

5) Understand your exit strategy. In the perpetual licence days if you stopped paying maintenance you were no longer supported, but when you had not had an issue or bug with the system for the last 3 years, that often was not an issue. Stop paying and the service kept running, until you were ready to turn it off. In the cloud you don’t own the tools, and may lose access to data if you stop paying. Make sure you own the data, and that you have a way to extract and use it if you need to move.

 

There are many benefits to moving into the cloud, but also many pitfalls. If you would like to chat more about what you need then feel free to look us up at WDCi. http://www.wdcigroup.net/contactus.html

 

 

 

The reality of (Cloud) Computing

The recent Google Mail outage certainly resulted in a lot of blogs and complaints amongst its users. As part of the large user community we did feel the impact when our operations were disrupted. Fortunately this ordeal was resolved two hours later and the overall impact to us in our timezones was minimal, not that I want to downplay the impact to some customers in any way, we all need our email.

It is definitely inexcusable for outages to happen but IMO what happened with Google Mail is unfortunate but, software is built by people and people make mistakes.  We have to be realistic that 100% uptime isn’t that feasible, cloud or no cloud.  We have to understand the risks involved with our data and plan accordingly.   I remember going through contract negotiations in a past life and a customer asking for a guarantee that a particular vendor’s software didn’t have bugs, our legal counsel replied that he couldn’t guarantee it didn’t have bugs, but that he could definitely guarantee it would, and he was only half joking.

In another past life we were using Microsoft Exchange which was outsourced to a third party provider, not only did it cost many more multiples than Google Apps, we also experienced frequent outages and whilst our supplier worked overtime to get us up and running again, they had to rely on support from their vendor to resolve issues, sound familiar?  IMO I’d much rather run with SaaS from a vendor such as Google than an ASP that is relying on a vendor to support them in outages of this kind.

Google has taken some measures with the introduction of Apps Status Dashboard that promotes transparency on their system availability. On top of that a 15-day SLA credit was given to all its Premier Edition users as compensation.  For us we have eMail at the host and at our clients, plus we sync our calendars, so that minimised our impact.  I think the major gap is Google Docs, and hopefully that hole will improve with the release of a better offline tool for Docs, Gears is ok, but not yet complete in my opinion.  Fingers crossed that GDrive is a reality in the not too distant future.  We also use another handy tool, Syncplicity to sync our on-premise data into the cloud, we’ve all had ourlaptop/desktop fail and lost valuable data in the past, so we use this tool to minimise our exposure with any on-premise data.

As SaaS subscribers we have researched our vendors well enough that we trust that they have a reliable support, backup and contingency process just as we have a reliable contingency process for our important applications and data.  SaaS doesn’t necessarily mean that the service will not suffer from the occasional hiccups, just like our on-premise applications did before we moved them into the cloud.  As a consumer of SaaS applications, the recent incident does serve as a timely reminder to us to review and identify where we are exposed, measure that risk and if appropriate put a contingency in place.