Posts Tagged ‘Computing’

How cloud computing is like getting a rental car

May 30th, 2014

Though it’s commonly associated with free storage providers, like Dropbox, or online word processors, like Google Docs, cloud computing can involve more advanced areas of technology, too.

That’s part of the reason that talking about “the cloud” can get confusing for a lot of people. Especially when you’re trying to figure out a sensible cloud strategy for your small business.

Operating an information technology system in the cloud is like renting a car. Where you rent a car, you expect to be able to jump in and drive off, safe in the knowledge that your car will work. You also expect the rental company to take care of all necessary maintenance, repairs and breakdown assistance.

The same is true of the “cloud.” When you sign up, you get to use the software without worrying about installation, maintenance, updates or security. You also don’t need a server or any of the other additional IT investments that larger suites of software used to require. All that is taken care of by your cloud service provider.

Renting a car doesn’t require the significant upfront investment that buying a car does. Also, by renting, you can always stay in a current model, versus buying a car that depreciates in value as soon as you drive it off the lot. Cloud services also don’t require an upfront cost. Your business pays a monthly flat-rate per user fee, and if your business grows and you hire new staff, you can switch on new licenses, and similarly turn them off as needed.

There are many benefits to small businesses that wish to leverage cloud computing capabilities. For many small businesses, it’s helpful to start with something simple — like email.

Hosted email through Microsoft or Google, which are the two biggest players in the market right now, is a great (and safe) place to start your cloud strategy. By hosting your email, calendars, contacts and chat through one of these providers, you don’t have to purchase servers, license software or upgrade your infrastructure — shifting email costs entirely to your operating budget.

There are questions that you need to ask before you consider moving a critical line of business software applications to the cloud, and it is important to work with a trusted IT adviser who can help answer these tough questions. This adviser can work with your software vendor to understand the various dynamics of what moving into the cloud actually entails and lay those practical considerations out to you in a way that’s easy to understand.

James Fields is owner and president of IT service provider Concept Technology and IT staffing company Scout Staffing. Visit Concept Technology online at and Scout online at

Something to consider

why you wouldn’t want to move an internal software application into the cloud


When moving business applications to the cloud, you’re at the mercy of your cloud provider when answering the question: Is your data secure? You can’t control the provider’s diligence, and if provider is not doing its job to secure the application, it can lead to a direct compromise of your data.


Does your business software vendor support having your system in the cloud? There are some that still expect it be hosted on an internal server.


The more cloud space you “rent,” the more bandwidth you require. Before moving an entire application offsite, you need to make sure you have enough available bandwidth to support the move.


Germany’s SAP Cutting 1,500-2,500 Jobs in Cloud Computing Mission

May 16th, 2014

Enterprise resource planning software solutions provider SAP would cut thousands of jobs as software programmes become cloud-based, reducing onsite staff requirement.

Reuters citing a source said the German company is planning to cut between 1,500 and 2,500 jobs. The company employs more than 66,500 people in more than 130 countries across the globe.

The company on 14 May indicated that there would be target job cuts in the company, but it declined to say the exact number of redundancies.

“The number is not yet definite and there are still checks being made as to whether positions overlap or are unnecessary,” the person with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The source added that the cuts would affect all regions and areas.

Nevertheless, SAP plans to create about 3,000 new jobs in 2014, leading to a net increase in the number of staff, according to the source.

A company spokesman told the Wall Street Journal earlier that the goal of the layoffs isn’t to cut overall head count but to realign the company’s resources with its new strategy.

More and more companies are adopting cloud computing, which reduces costs significantly. The companies are resorting to remote data centres provided by technology companies instead of running their own servers.

With more than 253,500 customers in 188 countries, SAP is also making its software solutions cloud based. The company is on a mission to deliver all its applications in the cloud.

The company earlier said its existing and new customers can now deploy analytics solutions in SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, a cloud-based service that provides customers a deployment option to gain value quickly from SAP HANA.

SAP Cloud powered by SAP HANA provides the innovation and agility that businesses need to adapt their processes to capitalise on ever-changing market dynamics on a single, integrated platform, according to the company.


For wearable computing, software must be king

May 12th, 2014

Over the last few years, we have heard that there will be wearable devices for almost every part of the body, from face to feet. But people have paid little attention to the software that accompanies these gadgets.

Forrester Research, the market research firm, is noting in a coming book that in this new era of computing, software will have profound effects on the way consumers engage with wearable computers.

“Success of wearables will not hinge on the hardware alone,” said a Forrester analyst, Julie A. Ask. “In fact, some of the data — such as steps — has become commoditised given the number of sources and ease of access. Success will hinge on the associated mobile apps and how effective they are in changing behaviour through the right data, insights and recommended actions in consumers’ mobile moments.”

Ask is one of the co-authors of the new book, “The Mobile Mind Shift,” along with Ted Schadler and Josh Bernoff, both Forrester analysts. It is set to be released on June 24. The book is based on 200 interviews with entrepreneurs and companies around the globe and explores how mobile software will continue to change business in the future.

The book comes on the heels of a number of recent reports from Forrester that outline the current state of wearable computers — especially as they relate to people’s health goals.

“From wrist bands to smart pills, firms are using mobile technologies to collect new kinds of data about consumers, crunch it in the cloud, and then employ a mix of engagement tactics on mobile devices to spur consumers into action — and create mobile moments,” a February report said, outlining how health care will be affected by coming technologies and software.

While new hardware might be more exciting for consumers, Forrester says that software is the key to helping companies create a connection with their customers, offering the ability to analyze the masses of data that come from wearables.

“These wearable devices will fail to be effective and people will toss them aside if there isn’t a good service layer that goes with them,” Ask said in a phone interview. “The devices have to be able to walk a fine line between being invisible enough that you want to wear them all the time, but also being effective enough that you engage with them.”

There are a few examples where the focus on software has worked effectively. MyFitnessPal, a diet and exercise app, has helped people lose more than 100 million pounds since it began in 2005, according to the company’s website.

RunKeeper, used to track runs, has enticed people to run 783 million miles. And the makers of the Jawbone Up wristband have logged 35 million nights of sleep from customers. In all of these instances, software played a pivotal role with the consumer, helping create a connection with the app, not just the hardware slapped around the wrist.

Ask noted that companies were experimenting with how they interacted with customers by offering different personas within mobile apps. For example, Nike’s software pushes people to be incredibly competitive, awarding badges and other trophies if they beat previous goals. Jawbone’s software is more gentle, pushing people along and telling them they are approaching their daily exercise goals.

“I can start out being excited because I am tracking steps or getting some data from a wearable device, but it’s the engagement within the software that is going to make me want to continue using these products,” Ask said.


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