Back when I was fresh out of University working for CSC Computer Sciences as a technical architect, a cloud was the symbol we used on technical drawings when we didn’t want to go into too much detail about the network. If CSC had complete architectural governance then we often referred to the IT services as black box, i.e. the customer specifies the service they want and the IT company provides the infrastructure to match. This was a subtle but important shift from “I want a unix server” to “I want a system which offers high performance computing capability”
And cloud computing is no different, you pay for the service you want rather than having to build the infrastructure which goes with it, a move from capital investment to operational consumption of a service. In fact this model has been around a lot longer than people think. Most utilities operate on what could be considered a cloud model. When you turn the tap on at home, you don’t need to worry about the thousands of miles of pipes which bring fresh water and take away the waste, yes you pay a contribution towards it, but imagine if we all needed to know about the network of water mains which service our home. Electricity is another prime example.
And in the IT world, people have been using point applications delivered by cloud computing for as long as the internet has been around – think hotmail, think dropbox. More recently, companies are delivering a “cloud type” service for items such as printing, Xerox – another former employer of mine, is a pioneer in the world of Managed Print Services which effectively takes what used to be a capital expenditure – purchase of printers – and turns it into a consumable service.
So what does cloud really give you as a customer
- The opportunity to change capital expenditure into an operational expenditure
- A low cost way of accessing latest technology
- Flexibility of being able to scale up or scale down according to your business needs
- A secure environment in which to host your applications and data
SAPs first cloud product SAP Business ByDesign a complete integrated business management system for SMEs, was launched in 2011 and has seen year on year growth, we are now helping over 1000 customers globally to run better. If you would like to understand more how this integrated ERP package can help your business be more agile, please visit sap.com where you will see how we are helping companies such as Genius Foods, Panorama Antennas, Benchmark, Rondanini and Salvo, Small Media Consultancy and Tangent Communications to Run Like Never Before.