Cloud computing is a general term for anything that involves delivering hosted services over the Internet (click here for a white paper on the industry standard definition of “Cloud”). There are three distinct things that differentiate cloud from traditional computing:
- It is available on-demand. Most cloud solutions can be purchased and activated almost instantaneously as long as customization is not involved. Even a full scale CRM system can be up and running within 24 hours of a purchase as long as you use the standard product. This can be a huge benefit to companies that have been bogged down by long implementations.
- It is elastic. You can use the software as little or as much as you would like without any change in the monthly fee. Let’s say your ERP is hosted in the cloud and you use it for all of your accounts receivable and accounts payable transactions. If you have an extraordinarily busy month and your users are accessing the system twice as much, it will not affect the performance or the charge. Regardless of usage, the fee structure is locked in.
- It is fully managed by the provider. Cloud applications are available to you as long as you have internet access. The provider handles the servers and maintenance of the application without any of your intervention. It is their responsibility to automatically upgrade your application with the latest fixes and feature enhancements. You will simply log-in and find the new features ready to use.
Cloud computing basically allows your business to expand capabilities and increase capacity without investing in costly IT infrastructure; your ERP applications and files are on the internet, not your local devices. Of course, there are always additional considerations you need to be aware of with this model, and new cloud opportunities are springing up every day. We will explore these and share the ways you can take advantage of the cloud in the coming weeks. Up next, “What are the types of Cloud Computing”.
In the meantime, view an on-demand webcast “ERP in the Cloud: The untold story of simplicity, flexibility, and ROI.” to learn about ERP cloud opportunities and:
- How modern ERP solutions address top business drivers that lead to positive ROI.
- How you can choose the right solution or deployment option to cut costs and complexity.
- What deciding factors, including implementation time, data security/availability, upfront/recurring costs, you should consider before making a decision.
- And much more.