Nathan Heller recently noted in the New Yorker that San Francisco Bay Area is becoming a popular residence for the young and ambitious, surpassing even New York and Los Angeles. This proliferation of talent is one of the main reasons why the tech industry is so competitive. Competition exists for inputs (labor) and for outputs (customers). With so much competition, entrepreneurs, business owners, and managers are all looking for something to give them an edge.

Cloud Computing can be a Competitive Advantage over companies built on Client Server Setups

Not everyone is comfortable with new technology, but it is here to stay, and no business should get left behind. Courtesy of glasbergen.com

At Bi101, we think that “cloud computing” will help companies gain the edge they need to emerge as market leader.

Of course, cloud computing is sort of a nebulous term. In recent years, the word “cloud” has become one of the most abused terms on the internet. So what do we mean by “cloud computing”?

The exact definition of cloud computing is “the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data, rather than a local server or a personal computer.” It is essentially the outsourcing of data storage, management, and processing to someone else. Usually, services offered in the cloud fall into one of three categories:

  • Software as a Service (SaaS) – This is the software category. It can be thought of as outsourcing your desktop. To illustrate, in the past, you would have purchased a software license and installed it on your local hard drive. With SaaS, you do not purchase nor install the software, but rather rent it from a provider and they allow you access to it through the Web. Google Apps is an excellent example of could based SaaS.
  • Paltform as a Service (PaaS) – This is the computing platform category. PaaS can be used to build out a software product in the cloud. You are responsible for software development while the PaaS vendor provides the hardware and the platform necessary for you to build a product.
  • Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) – This final category is the outsourcing of your infrastructure. In this cloud, raw computer power can be purchased. This can be thought of as outsourcing the data center.

Cloud computing, in any of its forms, offers real advantages to companies that embrace it. To highlight one area where cloud computing can be a competitive advantage, let’s examine administrative professional service company software needs.

Most professional service companies require a few software programs to address their administrative back office needs, particularly financial management software and resource management software. The cloud addresses the needs of a professional service company software in the following ways:

Provides Anywhere Access – Users are not limited by their desktop but access the specific service company software from anywhere.

System integration – A cloud-based system like NetSuite provides companies a single database that creates dynamic reporting and automation capabilities like recording revenue recognition based off of the time tracking system.

Real-Time Updates – One of the more interesting features of the cloud is the ability to handle real time updates rather than batch updates. With real-time updates, management knows down to the minute the exact health of the company.

Cloud software like NetSuite integrates multiple products onto a single Database

Not having the right technology can be Mordor on your bottom line. Courtesy of thedailydose.com

By embracing the cloud, companies can gain an advantage over their competition through constant connectivity, interconnectedness, and current information all while reducing the overall costs for these services. This is especially true when addressing back office service company software needs.

At Bi101, we offer a cloud readiness review. If you are interested in determining whether the cloud is right for you, please contact us.