|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.
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Dec. 4, 2016 06:30 PM EST Reads: 2,159
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Onalytica. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
Dec. 4, 2016 06:30 PM EST Reads: 2,023
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
Dec. 4, 2016 06:00 PM EST Reads: 1,530
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 4, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 4,151
"We're a cybersecurity firm that specializes in engineering security solutions both at the software and hardware level. Security cannot be an after-the-fact afterthought, which is what it's become," stated Richard Blech, Chief Executive Officer at Secure Channels, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 4, 2016 04:15 PM EST Reads: 598
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Dec. 4, 2016 03:00 PM EST Reads: 3,249
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 4, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 1,993
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Dec. 4, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 1,901
What happens when the different parts of a vehicle become smarter than the vehicle itself? As we move toward the era of smart everything, hundreds of entities in a vehicle that communicate with each other, the vehicle and external systems create a need for identity orchestration so that all entities work as a conglomerate. Much like an orchestra without a conductor, without the ability to secure, control, and connect the link between a vehicle’s head unit, devices, and systems and to manage the ...
Dec. 4, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 582
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Dec. 4, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 924
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Dec. 4, 2016 01:45 PM EST Reads: 2,157
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 4, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 1,536
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Dec. 4, 2016 12:45 PM EST Reads: 2,125
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 4, 2016 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,674
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to simplify and streamline our lives by automating routine tasks that distract us from our goals. This promise is based on the ubiquitous deployment of smart, connected devices that link everything from industrial control systems to automobiles to refrigerators. Unfortunately, comparatively few of the devices currently deployed have been developed with an eye toward security, and as the DDoS attacks of late October 2016 have demonstrated, this oversight can ...
Dec. 4, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 782
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 4, 2016 11:45 AM EST Reads: 386
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 4, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 908
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Dec. 4, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 2,216
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 4, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 887
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 4, 2016 09:45 AM EST Reads: 563